It was Tuesday, June 6th, 1944: What is known as “D-day” when the initial assault wave hit the shore at Omaha Beach. The men stormed the beach at 6:30 am and immediately lives began to be lost for the sake of their country. It was a bloody battle and the Americans hit the beach like ducks sitting on a pond as the bullets flew in all directions. In the movie, Saving Private Ryan, Captain John Miller survived the initial, brutal conflict at Omaha Beach. He set out to accomplish the mission given to him by his country, but as he marched forward the mission changed.
I first heard the report on the radio as I was driving to work this week – Jane Fonda had given her life to Christ. The woman who has recently gone through a divorce to Ted Turner, sold more exercise videos than Bill Gates has sold Windows, and who has been known as “Hanoi Jane” had accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. I have to confess and repent of my sins before you this morning. When I first heard the report I was so skeptical. I thought it was merely another Hollywood type out for publicity. Then I read a report from Cal Thomas in the Miami Herald on Thursday and I felt like such a hypocrite. Cal Thomas writes,
Reverend Bible was a fourth generation preacher. He was his father’s son. He was a chip off the old block. While he was growing up he watched his father mount the pulpit week after week at First Church and offer his thoughts to the people. The son of a preacher now thought he would make his move to the pulpit. He had attended the finest of colleges to gain his undergraduate degree. Upon completing his studies he enrolled in a fine, prestigious Seminary known for its textual criticism, unparalleled adherence to the finest in liberal scholarship, and social consciousness. At the seminary young Reverend Bible followed in the footsteps of his father and read the best works of Paul Tillich, Karl Barth, Sigmund Freud, Albert Camus, and James Cone.
“Pray that my love will be without limits.” –Saint Maximilian Kolbe in his last letter to his mother.
Father Maximilian Kolbe was forty-five years old in the early autumn of 1939 when the Nazis invaded his homeland. He was a Polish monk who founded the Knights of the Immaculate, a Franciscan order whose headquarters was in Niepokalanow, a village near Warsaw. There 762 priests and lay brothers lived in the largest friary in the world. Father Kolbe presided over Niepokalanow with a combination of industry, joy, love, and humor that made him beloved by the plain-spoken brethren there.
The last rain soaked, numbed-out fan sloshed out of Max Yasgur’s muddy pasture more than 30 years ago. That was the day the Woodstock Music and Art Festival came to a close. What was billed as “three days of peace and music” turned into something altogether different for the 500,000 young people who made the trip to the serene pasture in Sullivan County. True believers who still reminisce about the beauty of Woodstock say that it was an era devoted to human advancement. Cynics and skeptics adamantly claim that it was a demonstration of the lawlessness and naivete of the day.