A crowd of over 100 people gathered on Lincoln Street outside Lincoln Elementary School  Tuesday to pray for our schools, teachers, administration and our nation.  

We gathered peacefully and not in fear that we would be arrested. This is one of the beautiful things about America. I enjoy genealogy and love to study my ancestors from generations past.  One thing that I have discovered are those who came here in the early 1600’s as Puritans for religious liberty and opportunity. A few generations later, some of them served in the Revolutionary War resisting the Crown and fighting for the ideal of freedom for all and no state church.  

My grandfather, Gunder, whose parents came here from Norway (latecomers to America in my tree) told me how he learned to read in school with the Bible as one of his textbooks. In my lifetime, I remember prayer and the pledge at the beginning of the day along with the reading of a Bible verse when I was in elementary school.  

Things suddenly changed in the mid 60’s and now prayer, the Bible and the very mention of God is protested.  

Our nation was built and maintained on Judeo-Christian values that are now being questioned and pushed asided. I thought about the blood, sweat and tears of those who for four centuries have built this nation as they placed their trust in our Creator, who has given us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  

I have no doubt that they and others who came here never dreamed there would be a day when “freedom from religion” would be espoused.  

As followers of Jesus, we must pray like never before.  We also must roll up our sleeves and get involved showing the love that the son of God we celebrated at Christmas has taught us.  

There are students who need help on homework. There are parents and grandparents raising children who are struggling to make ends meet. There are so many living without hope. It is said of the early settlers that in one hand they had a Bible with their other on a plow as their eyes were looking to Heaven.  Let us do the same by putting the love of God in action continually praying for renewal of the foundation of truth that established this “One Nation Under God.”

Ken Locke is community ministries director of The Salvation Army in Warsaw and director of the Greater Warsaw Ministerial Association. Have ideas for this column? Go to www.gwma.info.