Sermon Outline for May 5/Pastor Jim Kniseley
150 years ago…30,000 men died in 3 days of fighting…the land we sit on right now was traversed by both Union and Confederate Soldiers…John Hennessey, the chief historian for the National Parks in this area said on Wednesday: two questions were answered by the Civil War: would the Union stay united and would one group of people be able to own another group of people.
Today I want to share three stories that come from the life of General Stonewall Jackson.
Thomas Jonathan Jackson was a man of Christian faith, a Presbyterian by conviction and practice. He wanted his troops to have the power and promise that comes from faith too. He selected a chaplain for his corps, The Rev. Beverly Tucker Lacey. Reverend Lacey was the pastor of Fredericksburg Presbyterian Church. Jackson and Lacey are pictured together on the front of our bulletin. They are kneeling in prayer, something they did often together. Lacey led worship services every Sunday for the troops, wherever they were.
Baptism of Jackson’s Daughter
Today you and I have the joy of participating in the baptism for Eric and Ashley Romano. We can appreciate a special occasion in the life of the Jackson family on April 23, 1863. Mary Anna Jackson had given birth to their daughter, Julia, while Jackson was away fighting. She brought infant Julia to meet her dad for the first time just south of Fredericksburg. Julia was baptized by Chaplain Lacey at the worship service, the Sunday before the Battle of Chancellorsville.
Jackson’s Wounding, Amputation and Burial
As you drive on route 3 west of Resurrection you will see some road signs about Stonewall Jackson. The first says “The Wounding of Jackson.” Pastor Carol and I participated in the Thursday evening program outside of the Chancellorsville Visitors Center. The park rangers explained in great detail how Jackson was shot three times mistakenly by troops from his own side. If you drive further west on route 3 you will see the sign “Amputation of Jackson’s Arm.” The arm was shattered and the physician felt the amputation was necessary. If you drive a little further you will see the sign “Burial of Jackson’s Arm.” It was buried in the cemetery at Ellwood because Chaplain Lacey asked for the arm and took it to be buried at his brother’s farm, Ellwood.
The final story comes from the place of Jackson’s death, 27 miles from where his arm was amputated, at Guinea Station, south of Fredericksburg. He died on a Sunday from pneumonia. Mary Anna and Chaplain Lacey were with him. They reported his last words and vision. They seem to tie to the vision of heaven we heard today from St. John in the Revelation: Then the angel showed me the river in the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
Here are the last words of Stonewall Jackson, recorded for us by both his wife and chaplain:
Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.
Let us now sing this next hymn with reverence and with remembrance for all who lost their lives and those who were wounded in 3 days of terrible fighting in this part of God’s world…