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Getting the word out

A Dunlap broadside of the Declaration of Independence. Notice John Hancock's name is not a signature, but typeset.

I read today about a man named John Dunlap who played a small but significant role in our nation’s independence. 235 years ago this weekend he was brought a handwritten document to typeset. With Benjamin Franklin supervising, Dunlap printed about 200 broadsides (an announcement on a poster) of a Declaration ratified on July 4, 1776 by the Congress of the United States of America. The broadsides were distributed and read in all 13 states, and reprinted in many local newspaper. The declaration announced that the leaders of our budding nation felt it had become “necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another.” One can only wonder how encouraging those reprints were when times were difficult as the struggle for political freedom wore on.

On this Fourth of July weekend, in the midst of the fireworks, cookouts, vacations, and parades, I’m thinking about a man who quietly participated in a remarkable way. His role was to get the word out. As a pastor, as a Christian, that’s my role as well. I am called to get the word out that there is a better way – a way greater than my wisdom, deeper than the thoughts of any pundit, more powerful than any vote I can cast, and more effective than the actions of any political party. There is a way that leads to life – “more and better life than [we] ever dreamed of” (Jesus is John 10:10, The Message). Get the word out!

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