One Afternoon...In Heaven  

    A short presentation for "Presidents' Day" written for a church show back in 1995, in those dark hours of corruption and national depair. Tweak it for today if you want to perform it. Music was drawn from "Great Presidential Marches" or somesuch; search the web and you'll find something suitable.
Although it is technically (C) 1995, Andrew Bartmess, performance rights are freely granted provided all Glory is given to God, and this boxed message is visible on any printed hardcopy or electronic reprint.


(Organ version of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" up and under. A firm, echoing [pre-recorded] voice from above speaks:) 

GOD: One Afternoon...In Heaven. 

(Several Beats Pass) 

GOD: George? George Washington? 

(George, at podium, looks up from unspecified work.) 

GW: Lord! Abba, good to see you! 

GOD: Happy birthday. 

GW: It's not my birthday, Lord. You know that... I was born on February 22. This is February 20. 

(Music reduces to slight background.) 

GOD: That's not what they think on Earth. Look at this: 

(Harp Rift; George reacts as if looking out a window. Long pause as he reviews modern society...) 

GW: That's monstrous! What have they done to the country? Look... And they... And there... And on top of that, they moved my birthday? Why? 

GOD: They've squeezed you together with Abe Lincoln. 

GW: Tall fellow, stovepipe hat, can't stand the theater? That Abe Lincoln? 

GOD: Ummm-mm. It's called a "three day weekend." 

(All fade-out under next graph.)

GW: Outrageous! This isn't the country I fought for! And...why aren't they praying more Lord? Where's the Hosannas? Where's the praise? How can they hope to run your country without You? 

GOD: What is your story, George Washington? What do YOU think of this troubled nation? 

("All Quiet on the Patomac" in and under.)

GW: Father, you know that I am your humble servant. I was not only the son of three generations of Americans, but three generations of Christian Americans. Some that followed me shame my name by calling me a "Deist", as if I did not believe in the sacrifice of Christ, as if YOU had no direct hand in our lives!
     At age of 13 I wrote the "Rules of Civility" for myself, a listing of what I had learned about the world:"The one-hundred-and-eighth rule: When you speak of God or his attributes, let it be Seriously and with words of Reverence..." for any man of education or simple student of nature can see Your hand in all things! Long after my earthly father's death, when I was fifteen, I studied surveying, the first of many careers, and though I prospered, I always gave the rightful credit to you, Lord. Then as now I wept for fallen Mankind. 

("Flag of Columbia" in and under.) 

GW: At 20, I kept for myself a collection of daily prayers in a pocket memo book, scribed in my own hand. I remember it yet...

"Since thou art a God of pure eyes, Pardon, I beseech thee, my sins, remove them from thy presence as far as the east is from the west and accept of me for the merits of thy son, Jesus Christ, that thou wouldst hear me calling upon thee in my prayer, so give me the grace to hear thee calling on me in thy Word, that it may grant me wisdom, righteousness, reconciliation and peace to the saving of my soul in the day of the Lord Jesus. Grant that I may hear it with reverence, receive it with meekness, mingle it with faith, and that it may accomplish in me, Gracious God, the good work for which thou has sent it. Bless my family, kindred, friends and country, be our God and guide this day and forever for His sake, who lay down in the grave and rose again for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen!"

(Music out)

GW: Hah! Not a bad memory for a man of 263! Now I ask you, does that sound like a man who sees You as having no direct hand in our lives? Deist! HA! 

("President Van Buren's Grand March" in/under.) 

GW: In the years that followed, I served in several militias, rising through the ranks, earning a reputation as an honest and fair man. Time and again, I came home alive, with bullet holes through my clothes. An Indian Chief I once fought prophesied about me in those years: "Listen!" he said, "The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destinies--he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire!" And with your Grace, I did!
    I married Martha in 1759, and became in turn a successful farmer, respected military authority, member of the House of Burgesses, and firstmost, a responsible churchman. In the days before the Revolution our house in Mt. Vernon held no tea or any of the boycotted British goods because I knew that the boycott was the last peaceful method to prevent a war with England. Our rights trampled, injustice masquerading as law; I fear I saw it old soldier can always smell a battle in the wind. 

(Fade out of previous music under last graph. Begin with the opening drum/music track from "1776" in/under.) 

GW: In 1775, at Concord, the King's troops fired first. I knew then that the Crown had lost whatever favor of yours it ever enjoyed, and the British empire had begun it's decline. I later wrote: "The smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained." We were in the right, Lord! And you were with us! The day after I took control of the Continental Army, I ordered my troops to remember your hand in our lives. "Attention!" I told them, "The General...requires and expects of all officers and soldiers not engaged in actual duty, a punctual attendance on Divine service, to implore the blessing of Heaven upon the means used for our safety and defense." For how could we win without your blessing?
    On July 6 of 1776, I held Tom Jefferson's Declaration of Independence in my hand and read it to the cheering troops. Afterwards, I told them:

"The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this Army...Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us no choice but brave resistance or the most abject submission...if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us rely upon the goodness of the cause, and the aid of the Supreme Being in whose hands victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble actions..." 

(Music down and out, FX in: Cold winter winds and water. "President Harrison's Funeral March" up and under first few sentences of next.) 

GW: I thought of You the night we crossed the Delaware midst snow and hail, and surprised the British and their Hessian mercenaries at their Christams Eve revelries. There we turned the tide of the war; by your Hand we took a thousand prisoners in forty-five minutes of fighting. I lost two men, and only three were wounded. Henry Knox described the fray thusly; "The hurry, fright and confusion of the enemy," he wrote, "was not unlike that which will be when the last trump is sounded." It was surely like that for this old soldier! You know, Father, I've always hated that famous painting of my army crossing the Delaware! As if I were fool enough to stand up in a boat! 

(Music eased back to allow winter wind FX to predominate.)

GW: By the time of Valley Forge, that bloody winter of '77, while my men froze in the cold, the King's Army was looting and burning our churches to supply their troops. I saw Satan's hand in that;

"For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies--the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world, and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world." Ephesians 6:12!

    But you know that, wrote it!
    In Philadelphia, Fat George's troops turned a church into a riding academy for their cavalry, burning the pews and pulpit for fuel and putting a grog shop in the kitchen. Over 50 non-Anglican churches were obliterated by the British during the bitter war. I lived with my men in the cold of Valley Forge when I might have been warm. I made no secret of my faith, I hid it not as some might. We still held Sunday Service, even in the freezing cold, and I told the men who stood shivering with me: "To the distinguished character of a patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of a Christian!"
    Your hand was there eternally, as "Acts of God" saved us, over and over. A heavy fog here, a fortunate flood, a bad storm which floundered our enemies ships but left ours afloat; I always saw you plan at work. "Praise the Lord for He is good; His mercy endurath forever." Yours again! Your Spirit can really write! 

(Crossfade to "Cheer Boys, Cheer" in and under.)

GW: In the aftermath of the revolution, I saw the formation of a strong American government, a unified state that owed its very life to you Lord, and your church. E Pluribus Unum...Out of many, one. In God we Trust! I said then: "The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations [to God.]" 

(FX: Crowd Cheering.)

GW: I fought for your ways at the Constitutional Convention, fought to always do the right thing, the moral thing. I knew those faces, almost every one. Thirty of the fifty-five delegates served as my officers in the war, and three more were my aides! When the petty private interests and empire builders bullied and pushed and prodded the delegates, I held fast. I told them: "If, to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterward defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the outcome is in the hands of God." 

(Music in & under "Johnny has Gone for a Soldier") 

GW: I was weary, in poor health, but the people demanded I go to the Presidency. (It's just as well I agreed to do so...twice the Convention actually tried to make me KING!) When I went to the new Office of the President on April 1st, 1789, I had "feelings not unlike a culprit who was going to the gallows." I told them "integrity and firmness is all I can promise." I was tired, but the job was unfinished. I might have just gone home to Mt. Vernon and lived the quiet life I had earned, but a good farmer plows a full row, and doesn't stop halfway done. You can't win the war and lose the peace. 

(Crossfade to "Hail to the Chief"

    Once I was in office, the people rejoiced, sure that my steady hand would lead the nation. My hand, as if without the Almighty I could do anything at all! At Baltimore, they rang bells and fired guns. At Philadelphia, I met mounted calvary beneath arches of triumph. At Trenton, the ladies strewn my path with flower petals. At Elizabeth Point, thirteen pilots in white livery rowed me across to celebrations in New York City, flanked by a parade of barges and to salutes fired from outfitted warships. More to your Glory than mine, Father, and the ever-ready hand of Providence that protected the nation you helped found. 

(Crossfade to "President Lincon's Funeral March"

    After two exhausting terms as President, I returned to Mt. Vernon tired and worn, and three years later I passed from that life to this. (George hushes, as if in great pain) "'Tis well," I said at the last, "Father of Mercies, take me to thyself." 

(FOUR BEAT dramatic pause; George falls naturally, head bowed,into prayer...) 

    "Remit my transgressions, negligences and ignorance, and cover them all with the absolute obedience of thy dear Son, and--- 

(Etherial Voice of God begins softly, growing as He recites along with George...) 

BOTH:...that those sacrifices which I have offered may be accepted by thee, in and for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ offered upon the cross for me... 

(George, awed, slows and stops, letting God continue...) 

GOD: ...for His sake, ease me of the burden of my sins, and give me grace that by the call of the Gospel I may rise from the slumber of sin into the newness of the eyes of my understanding, and help me thoroughly to examine myself concerning my knowledge, faith and repentance, increase my faith, and direct me to the true object Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life...for the sake of thy Dear Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen." 

George: That's my Sunday evening prayer from my youth-time prayer book. I always knew You were listening. 

GOD: Look at the nation, George. What do you see? 

GW: Brother against brother. Not one nation but many groups and powers, fighting for control, in the open and beneath the surface. E Unum, Pluribus! They pay lip service to you on the coins and in the state house, but don't do what you command. At my innaugreation, I pledged to you and kissed the Christian Bible...little sign of that fealty today. They chain Christ's hands and bind his mouth! Many of the leaders rarely lead, consulting the polls and playing the if a immoral thing is a right thing because too many of the people think some of your holy eternal Law is "old fashioned." 

(Crossfade to "Battle Hymn of the Republic.")

GW: It reminds me of a letter I wrote to a friend about the Constitution that we labored to create...

"The structure has been erected by architects of consummate skill and fidelity; it's foundations are solid; it's compartments are beautiful as well as useful; it's arrangements are full of wisdom and order and its defenses are impregnable from without. It has been reared for immortality, if the works of man may greatly aspire to such a title. "It may, nevertheless, perish in an hour by the folly, or corruption, or negligence of its only keepers, the people. Republics are created by the virtue, the public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligates are rewarded because they flatter the people in order to betray them." 

(Music fades out under this last, until very soft.) 

    The adversary is on the march, Lord! Can they not see it? Many see Your freedoms as chains, and the Devils's chains as freedoms! Many of them are walking into the Dark One's camp and laying down their armor! The Dark One pulls strings high and low... 

GOD: What does an old soldier smell? 

(George pauses a beat in recognition...looks up. Slowly...)

GW: How much longer, Lord? 

(FX: Bugle call, softy in the distance) 

GOD: Not long at all, George. 



You can go back to the Storeroom contents page, or back to the Inn's Homepage

This site is bravely maintained by Andros, the Aged Elf!
DoubleClick on the Mystic Book to the right and Email me!
Last time I formed the mighty electrons on this page was 11/30/01!