In late September two unknown perpetrators toppled a monument of the Ten Commandments at approximately 3:30 in the morning. Their shadowy figures were captured on numerous security cameras near the Supreme Court here in Washington. The Headquarters of Faith and Action, a Christian outreach and ministry to the legislative and judicial branches, was the site of this monument. The headquarters sits in my neighborhood just across the street from the Supreme Court and the monument, though on private land, is seen by the Justices each day as they enter and exit the garage of the Court.
Reverend Rob Schenck, Director of Faith and Action, is well known to all of us in the neighborhood of the Hill and has a wonderful outreach and ministry to many members of Congress and to the many staff on the Hill. He confirms many in the faith and is a constant witness to Life and to the radical importance of God’s Law.
His brother is Fr. Paul Schenck, a married Catholic Priest with eight children and who entered the Church from the Anglican denomination and was ordained. He is the president of the National Pro-Life Action Center (NPLAC) on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Both brothers are exceptional in their love for God and great champions of life and reverence for God’s Law.
Thus, when this monument of the Commandments was toppled, it was not only and egregious offense against religious Faith, and a vandalism of private property, but it was also experienced very personally by those who know and love the work of the Rev. Rob Schenck and also his brother, Fr. Paul.
What a joy then today, and an honor to be asked to participate in the re-dedication of this beautiful and necessary monument of the Ten Commandments.
I was reminded today, that no matter how many may wish to overthrow, to topple the Law of the Lord and his Word, it cannot be silenced. As Jesus said, even if his disciples were to be silent, the very stones will cry out! (Luke 19:40). And, while vandals toppled these particular stones, they continued to cry out, along with the voices of disciples, and people of God will everywhere in protest. God’s Law, God’s word cannot be silenced.
St. Paul says, And because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained. (2 Tim 2:9)
There have more than a few times on this blog when detractors will sometimes ridicule me or the Faith announcing, in effect, “Your day is done, your “myths” are passing away. Soon enough your faith and your Church will disappear altogether. We moderns no longer need you. Yes, you are done.”
Those who speak this way have not read history and understand nothing of the power of God. As Chesterton said, “The Church has buried every one of her undertakers.” Nations have come gone, empires have risen and fallen, philosophies have emerged and been discredited…. all in the age of the Church.
And as for the Word of God, Scripture says, Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away (Mark 13:31). Yes, the whole world may go to war against the Word, and the Law of God, but it shall remain, and the world will pass. No rebellion against God will ultimately stand.
Today I stood with many fine Americans, who I pray are still representative of the true soul of this Land. And whatever collective stage of rebellion this Nation may have reached, I pray God will spare us, even if for the sake of the fifty, or forty or thirty.
But wherever America shall ultimately go, The Word of the Lord shall remain forever and holy wisdom is vindicated by all her children (Lk 7:35).
As for my own role, today, it was to pray a prayer of blessing, as did several of the clergy. I could think of no better blessing than to invoke a Psalm in praise of the Law:
Your word, LORD, stands forever;
it is firm as the heavens.
Through all generations your truth endures;
fixed to stand firm like the earth.
By your judgments they stand firm to this day,
for all things are your servants.
Had your law not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget your precepts;
through them you give me life.
I am yours; save me,
for I cherish your precepts.
The wicked hope to destroy me,
but I seek to understand your testimonies.
I have seen the limits of all perfection,
but your commandment is without bounds.
How I love your law, Lord!
Yes! I study it all day long.
(Psalm 119:90-97 Lamedh)
Yes, how beautifully today’s re-dedication reminded me of the enduring power of God’s Word.
The word “monument” comes from the Latin: Moneo mens (meaning “I admonish the Mind”). And perhaps there are some today who do not appreciate being admonished. But the Word of the Lord remains forever. And of that Word we are told the final outcome:
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
Through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-2,4-5)
Yes, be of good cheer brethren, for in Christ, the victory is already won and the Word of the Lord endures forever.