Today marks Holy Thursday, when Christ was betrayed and apprehended by his malicious countrymen, beginning the long Passion. Today is also the 155th anniversary of General Robert Edward Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia to General U. S. Grant of the Army of the Potomac. Lee would later comment to the Governor of Texas in August of 1870,
Governor, if I had foreseen the use those people designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse; no sir, not by me. Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in this right hand.
The surrender marked the South’s own plunge into passion, beginning the long defeat which has continued to this day. Let us be reminded, however, that even in the darkest hour God’s Providence can work victory, and man, left to his own machinations, can accomplish nothing of worth. Rather, as a people we should count ourselves privileged to imitate Christ’s own suffering. God alone can strengthen and give victory, and He does so in His own time. Today, we should do as General Lee instructed to his troops in his farewell address at Appomattox.
“Let us go home and cultivate our virtues.”