“If the liberties of the American people are ever destroyed, they will fall by the hands of the clergy.” Marquis de Lafayette
It was the siege of Yorktown in America’s War for Independence.
The Marquis de Lafayette, the French General who had joined the revolution, was 24 years old. My third Great Grandfather Matthias Williams was 25 and was there, too, fighting under the General’s command.
The famous battle resulted in the defeat of the entire British armed forces as the empire’s Major General Cornwallis offered his surrender to the U.S. Commander General of the Continental Army, George Washington.
It also resulted in Lafayette’s famous quote, “Liberty now has a country!”
Five generations later I am amazed that I live a free man, a free and openly gay man in that free country, without fear of being dragged from my home for my sexuality!
The last thing that was in the minds of Lafayette, Washington, or my Great Grandfather was that they were fighting a revolution so that African Americans, American Women, and American Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender People would one day have the same rights as they desired and fought for. But that is how big the idea and ideal of liberty is. It is bigger than any person’s ability to comprehend its ultimate implications.
What began as nothing more than an idea in the mind of man had spread ever so slowly from the backwaters of a people born under the rule of a Sovereign King from a distant land.
Yet born it was!
Even the talk of such a thing was a traitorous and treacherous act in mid 1750’s Colonial America. But, talk they did. They talked and talked and talked about what?—about liberty! The “talk” spread throughout the Thirteen Colonies and all Western Europe.
Liberty? Is it even possible?
The consistent and constant talk spread to France and to the ears of a sixteen year old newly married young man, Marquis de Lafayette. The idea he heard grew into a passion. Even though the battle for it would be fought in a very distant and foreign land, Lafayette was hooked on liberty!
On July 27, 1777, at age nineteen, the Marquis de Lafayette knocked on the door of the newly formed U.S. Government in Philadelphia and offered his service. He was turned away by George Washington then. However, the first American President later repented for his mistake and greeted the French hero with an apology.
Matthias Williams, a Virginia militia man, joined the forces of the Marquis de Lafayette in January of 1781. As history would show, the battle for liberty was secured at Yorktown, Virginia, October 17, 1781, 230 years ago! And my great, great, great granddad was there!
If you haven’t picked-up on it, I am so proud of this connection to our American Revolutionary history, very proud as a matter of fact!
Yet, the pride I have in my lineage to my country’s victory for liberty pales in comparison to my pride in the magnificent Gospel of Grace and Peace.
There are amazing parallels between the American Revolution and the Gospel Revolution. The Gospel’s history of liberty was consummated over 2,000 years ago at the battle that was joined at the Cross by another young man, Jesus Christ. His victory was and is celebrated by an empty tomb in Jerusalem.
And the truest liberty in its sweetest form, our freedom in Christ, flowed down onto and into the hearts of every human being. Just like the men and women whose efforts unleashed liberty on government and did not understand all of its implications for its citizens, we in the Gospel Revolution still really have no idea of the extent of the Power of God and its potential to release the human soul to its full and glorious freedom.
The American Revolutionaries of the 18th Century desired to throw-off the shackles of imposed British imperial rule on their lives and those in the future, a monumental task no doubt.
The Gospel Revolutionaries of the 21st Century desire nothing less than the shackles of imposed Christian, legalistic, condemning rule to be removed off their hearts and minds and those of future generations forever. An even larger goal than my Great Grandfather and his comrades in arms had? Sure. But for the Power of God, the Gospel, it’s nothing but a thing and just a matter of time! This I can confidently extrapolate.
And like the Revolutionaries of old, we talk about it and talk and talk and talk…
Yes, indeed, liberty found a country. And now, because of the Internet and its corresponding technology, freedom in Christ—the Gospel—has found a voice for the entire world.
There are so many more ears that need to hear.