It’s time once again to look back on a pretty regular day in Summer, and to discover some interesting goings-on for this day in history. So here goes:
In 1529, Pizarro (from Spain) was given a royal warrant to “discover and conquer” what is now Peru on the western edge of South America. Pizarro was a true “conquistador” – conqueror. He conquered and pretty well destroyed the Incan Empire of South America, executing the emperor Atahualpa. Of course the three major things he sought were power, land – and gold. He was probably the worst example of Spanish exploration.
In 1267 – nearly 760 years ago – Pope Clement IV also decided to wield power in a strange and terrible way. He ramped up the Inquisition, first established by a so-very-inappropriately named Pope Innocent III. It was meant to combat heresy, which meant anyone who was a non-Catholic, including Jews, Arabs, and later one, even the Lutherans in South America. Basically, if you were not a card-carrying Roman Catholic, you were toast, by either being tortured until you “saw the light,” or starved, imprisoned and executed. Not quite the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.
In 1775, after the British had successfully managed to nearly destroy the mail system in the colonies, the 2nd Continental Congress – a year before the Declaration was written – established the US Postal service, under Benjamin Franklin, which establish actual offices where people could send and receive mail, instead of dropping it off at the pub and hoping it would make it to its destination. I just hear yesterday that the Postal Service will be raising stamp rates to 58 cents and ounce. Maybe we need ol’ Ben Franklin back…
In 1847, the nation of Liberia was established – the name means, of course, “land of liberty,” and was created by the immigration of free persons of color from the US. Realize, however, that it wasn’t an empty spot, waiting to be filled. In fact, today there are 28 different ethnic groups and languages, so in many ways, this first African republic came into being as, once again, foreigners took over tribal lands and created a country.
In 1908, the precursor to the FBI was brought into service – before that, I guess no one investigated anything…
Oh – forgot to mention that in 1896, the very first, permanent, for-profit movie theatre, called the Vitascope Hall, opened in New Orleans. Before that time, movies were shown all around the country, but in temporary set ups for the townpeople to come watch. More often, they would borrow or rent vaudeville houses with a big stage, and project the movies on the back of the curtains or sets. This one was the first time it was built and used exclusively for movies. They probably served rum punch at the same time – or maybe it was chicory coffee.
Let’s also not forget that it was 1920 – three HUNDRED years after landing at Plymouth Rock, that the 19th amendment was ratified, which then meant that women actually had the right to vote. 18 Amendments passed before this one. Granted, the first 10 were the Bill of rights, but there were still 8 more, including the 15 Amendment, which prohibited denial of the right to vote, based on race, color or past slavery – so long as you were a man…
In 1931 on this date, it was not a happy summer in the Midwest, as the onslaught of grasshoppers chewed up millions of acres of crops – and everything else. It began in 1930, when after a number of years of farmers plowing up native grasslands to plant more and more wheat to break even after the wheat prices plummeted, the drought hit, and things dried up and blew away, and what was left was destroyed by the grasshoppers. What a mess.
Of course, there were dozens of other events that happened on this day – some were notable, like the US, Britain and China demanding the surrender of Japan with the Potsdam Declaration. Of course, today we are suspicious of China, and we are watching Japan host the Olympics. How time changes things…
So, to bring to down from world-changing events, it’s always good to ask, “What will I do today to change the world – for the better – even in a very small sphere like my own life?” What is waiting for your hand, or your word, or your efforts to intentionally improve who we are, and who we will be in the future. You see, it’s not enough to say that you made it through the day, or through the night. We have a purpose. WE have a calling, and it is in living up to that call, that whisper in our ear that proves not only that we are chosen to change the world, but that we are also chosen to change ourselves, as we stretch and dream and then act to become that very person who helps reveal the world in a new and more powerful way. The Romans would say, “Carpe Diem” – pluck the day, or seize the day. Don’t let the sun go down on just good intentions – lay them up again true actions that change the world. Today
Saying for the day: (I’ll give you two…) Stop saying, “I wish,” and start saying “I will.” And The key to change… is to let go of fear.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.