Friday, December 18, 2015

Happy Birthday Dad!

Inspired by Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

Four score years ago my grandfather and grandmother brought forth on this continent, a new incarnation, conceived in Mennonite austerity, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are equally fallen.

Now we are engaged in a great ecclesiastical contest, testing whether this incarnation so conceived and so constrained, can long endure.  We are met on a great testing ground of that contest.  We dedicate a portion of our honor as a final resting place for those who have given life, will, and purpose so that this epic question can be resolved.  It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow this inquiry.  My brave father who was thus conceived, went far from his home and his community and modeled inclusion and the cause of Civil Rights in the Intercollegiate Peace Fellowship; offered his life and his fortunes for the service, education and wonderment of others; embraced the stranger and the Vietnam-era counter-culture casualties inviting them into our family; raised four sons who were taught the respect and dignity of Creation in all its wonder; and, inquired into the boundaries of beliefs that were thought beyond inquiry.  This world may little note, nor long remember, the great deeds of my father’s past 80 years but it will never forget the effect of his living.  It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished intrepid inquiry which he has so nobly advanced.    It is for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored pasts we take increased devotion to that timeless inquiry into the meaning and purpose of living; living which for so many was cut short in previous inquisitions; that we resolve that those who are passed have not lived in vain.

On this day, December 18, 1935 a 6.0 earthquake hit the Sichuan Province of China, President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with his Cabinet to discuss the economic condition of the U.S. economy and the conflict brewing in Europe, and my Dad, Aaron E. Martin was born.  He has lived a life that has welcomed the stranger, clothed and fed the needy, taught the love of the universe to thousands of students of Astronomy, and modeled grace beyond that which he was shown.

Happy birthday Dad!  You are, truly one of the greats and I’m honored to be your son!

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Thank you for your comment. I look forward to considering this in the expanding dialogue. Dave