Invocation at the Dedication of the
Lincoln Memorial
Decoration Day, May 30, 1922

by the Rev. Wallace Radcliffe, D.D.
Pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (Abraham Lincoln’s Church)

Almighty God, Sovereign among the Nations, God of our fathers, we adore Thee who has been to us as our fathers, the pillar of cloud and fire, and hast endowed us with the heritage of those that fear Thy name. Where Thou didst bring us into the wilderness Thou spokest comfortably to us and didst grant us our vineyards from thence so that the valley of Achor became a door of hope. Today, we build our Ebenezer saying, Hitherto hath Jehovah helped us. We bless Thee for those mighty men of those mighty days who loved righteousness better than life and who because of us and the ages the seers and martyrs for liberty and peace and goodwill. We recount the faith and courage, the patriotism and devotion, the ideals and consecrations, the tears and blood which under their guidance preserved the life and unity of the republic.

With special thanksgiving and awesome praise we dedicate this Memorial to that man whom Thou didst ordain that through his leadership and martyrdom there might be the union of the people and the emancipation of the race.Thou hast enshrined him in the heart of humanity. In him thou didst cause the little one to become a thousand and the small one a strong nation.We thank Thee for this man of clear eye and high heart who in the fear of God girded on the sword of power and confirmed so enduringly the Nation’s trust and hope. We rejoice in the simplicity of his life, in the nobility of his aims, in the fervor of his devotion, in the persistence of his patience, in the rectitude of his motives, in his love of liberty, of man, of God.

Make us faithful to the inheritance of his character and work. Help us, like him, increasingly to recognize Thy presence and purpose, to bring counsel and plan to the light of Thy Word, to bow in prayer and trust for the voice of Thy sovereign wisdom that out of all flames of future struggle and martyrdom our people may emerge purified as by fire and born anew into a higher life.

Bless Warren Harding, President of the United States and all associates with him in authority that their lives may be protected, especially against hidden evils of malice and wickedness and their minds illumined with heavenly light. Write Thy law upon our statute books and enthrone Thy justice and judgment in our courts. Cast salt into all fountains of influence, civil, social and intellectual and heat the water thereof, that from them may flow streams that shall make glad our city of God. Hold this Nation true to the ideals of the fathers that their high path may not seem too hard for us. Give opportunity and hope to the race emancipated and confirm them in good citizenship, faithful manhood and prosperous lives. Promote unity, brotherhood, justice, right living and Christian patriotism. Deliver us from madness and canker of abused wealth, and luxury and transient glory of power. Give us peace in our time, O Lord, heal the breeches of the land because of which the land shaketh, that Ephraim may no longer envy Judah, nor Judah vex Ephraim. Let our wall be called Salvation, and our gates Praise that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Bless our blessings that all nations may call us blessed and a delightsome land. And may the Lord Jesus Christ go forth in this and in all nations conquering and to conquer in the might of His grace, in the benediction of His peace, in the beauty of His holiness, for the sake of the name that is above every name.

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Historic Documentation, New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.

(Rewriting book)

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