Lost Episode for May 2

On Saturday, May 2, 1778, General George Washington issued the following orders to his troops from his Headquarters at Valley Forge:

“The Commander in Chief directs that divine Service be performed every Sunday at 11 oClock in those Brigades to which there are Chaplains; those which have none to attend the places of worship nearest to them. It is expected that Officers of all Ranks will by their attendence set an Example to their men.

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good Citizens and soldiers we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of Religion. To the distinguished Character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to add the more distinguished Character of Christian. The signal Instances of providential Goodness which we have experienced and which have now almost crowned our labours with complete Success, demand from us in a peculiar manner the warmest returns of Gratitude and Piety to the Supreme Author of all Good.”*

General Washington’s orders containing an encouragement to his troops to pursue not only patriotism but Christianity are a lost episode in American history.

Read and Reflect: Read Psalm 44:4-8 and reflect on the Psalmist’s plea and praise for God’s help in battle and compare that with Washington’s desire for his troops.

Prayer: Father, we thank you for a military leader who unashamedly compelled his troops to worship you as followers of Christ. Forgive our current military leaders for cowardly giving into “political correctness” in our day. Raise up leaders with the courage and wisdom of George Washington, we pray, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*Source Citation: John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources 1745-1799, 39 vols., (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1931-44), 11:342-43.

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