Restoration: 'We Proceeded On'

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'We Proceeded On'

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Last month marked a key point in America's bicentennial celebration of the epic Lewis and Clark Expedition. On May 14, 1804, the Corps of Discovery left St. Louis, Missouri, and headed up the churning Missouri River to survey the vast territory recently purchased from France. President Thomas Jefferson had approved negotiations, which led to the Louisiana Purchase for what amounted to three cents an acre. With one stroke the world's greatest land deal doubled America's real estate.

Many of the 34 men of the corps recorded their experience in journals. One of Meriwether Lewis' oft-used phrases was, "we proceeded on." At one point when the party reached the hills where they thought they would find the Northwest Passage, the prime goal of the trip, they saw instead only the far-off peaks of the Rockies. Finding no passage to the Pacific, they saw only more hills to struggle up and over. So, they "proceeded on," eventually reaching the Pacific Ocean and returning to St. Louis after a trip of 863 days. Were it not for the help of friendly Indians, a remarkable young Shoshone woman (Sacagawea) as their guide and a good measure of blessing and ingenuity, the corps would have perished in the wilderness, becoming only a footnote in history. They "proceeded on" and today are remembered and honored as one of the world's great heroic expeditions.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition is more than an American story. It links to man's desire to push onward looking for a passage to the ultimate prosperity, security and success. Jefferson wanted a waterway through the West that would tie America's farmers, manufacturers and the nation itself to a larger world economy. Like this heroic journey, the world's quest is toward a utopian dream of peace and prosperity. The journey of the Corps of Discovery did not find the water passage to the Pacific they sought, and the world continues searching for a way to peace.

The war in Iraq continues. This month it is expected that control of the country will be turned over to an interim council. Preparations will continue to restore order to the country and prepare for elections of a permanent government. Complications, such as the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison, distort the process and have brought shame upon America. Melvin Rhodes puts this incident in perspective this month in his article, "The Cost of Immorality in the War on Terror."

Cecil Maranville continues this theme of America's moral decay in his article, "The Mothers of 2015." Violent entertainment is shaping a generation's behavior and sensitivity toward self and others. Many commentators see the problem, but few see the solution. Unless the current trend is checked, we will see further decline in culture and morals. Mr. Maranville's article is a must-read for every parent in our audience.

John Ross Schroeder points us to the real hope of the Kingdom of God in "Utopian Prophecies of Our Future Dwelling Place." He aptly points out that we are inundated with bad news today. We must have a foundational understanding of hope for a better future. The Bible details God's plan to bring about a time of universal peace for all.

Lewis and Clark's search for a clear passage through the Western lands came full circle. They returned to St. Louis with fabulous stories of a land rich with promise for those who would tame its challenges. The phrase, "we proceeded on," sums up the attitude that allowed them to endure hardship and hold together till the end of their journey. The Kingdom of God, the time when all will be restored, looms before us. To reach that time of refreshing, in a walk worthy not only of Lewis and Clark, but the greatest hero of all, Jesus Christ, we, too, must "proceed on." WNP