Today is our second full day in Washington D.C.

Museums and other landmarks await us as we look forward to digging into the history of our great nation. It’s not an easy decision to pull your kids out of school for a week, but Lauren and I felt this was a special opportunity for our kids to see and experience (and, stealthily, learn) things in a way that just reading it from a book in a classroom couldn’t afford.

There is great history contained in this city, much of which is found in the various parts of the Smithsonian. The history behind this array of museums is one of the great mysteries in American history. The Institution was established thanks to a generous donation from a man named James Smithson (1765-1829). He was a wealthy British scientist who, upon his death, decreed in his will that his vast estate would be left to the United States “at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”

What’s remarkable is the fact that Smithson never visited America, and as far as anyone was ever able to uncover, had no relatives in the states either.

The only explanation is that he admired our country from afar and chose an act of great sacrifice in order to help people who were, in essence, complete strangers and, due to two recent wars, practical enemies of him.

It reminds me of Paul’s words concerning the Grace of God:

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

Because of our sins, we separated ourselves from God. And yet, He loved us from afar and offered up His Son as the ultimate sacrifice for us. The United States fulfilled Smithson’s wishes and turned his donation into a huge collection of varying museums, exploring our country’s history, our world, and even space above us. May we likewise take the sacrifice of God and put it to good use, living a sacrificed life for Him (Romans 12:1-2).

Don’t forget that COMMUNITY DAY will be Sunday, January 29th. Invite friends and family, neighbors and more to join you for worship and a meal together!