This week I was honored to see of bit of history… and as they say, “there was the story, and then there is the real story.”
U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) presided over the floor of Congress with gavel in hand from the Speaker’s chair. As he slammed the gavel to the podium, the floor grew quite and the sergeant of arms announced “the Reverend Jonathan Falwell from Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia” will give the opening prayer. Congressman Jackson motions the Pastor to the same podium where just weeks before President Barrack Obama and every President of the modern era has delivered their State of the Union address.
While much has been said this week of the fact that Jonathan “prayed in Jesus name” — something that many ministers decline to do from the floor of Congress — the real story this week was seeing these two favored sons: one Democrat, one Republican; one progressive, one conservative; one black, one white. Both men had followed their fathers’ footsteps to this moment in their lives and both men now with heads bowed had followed their fathers’ example as men of faith in prayer together in our nation’s Capitol.
Pastor Falwell boldly asked God to forgive the nation for their sins and boldly concluded his prayer with the words “In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.” As the gavel sounded again, the sergeant of arms escorted Pastor Falwell to the door between the portraits of George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette, Falwell looked back towards Congressman Jackson who quietly nodded, touched his fingers to his lips, touched his heart and sent a salute to Mr. Falwell.
I was so touched by the show of true emotion and a commitment to “God and Country” by both men.
Make no mistake about it, the culture war still rages in Washington, but what I saw in the Capitol on Wednesday was a sign that the torch had been passed to a new generation, a generation which has learned from the faith of their fathers.