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May 27, 2004

E Pluribus Unum

"We know the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm?"

In my search to place this quote in context I came across a sermon by Donel McClellan, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Bellingham, Washington. "E Pluribus Unum, 1 Corinthians 12:12-26" was delivered shortly after the inaugural address of President Bush and reflects on the President's use of the quote to conclude his address. Pastor McClellan takes it from there.

President Bush did not use my sermon title in his address, but he might have. It fits the message he delivered. According to our resident staff Latin expert, Sexton Jerry Greenwalt, it is pronounced: E Pluribus Unum—Out of Many, One.

The phrase was well known to literate Americans in 1776 when the Great Seal Committee selected it as a national motto. The popular London periodical the Gentleman’s Magazine published from 1731 to 1922 used the words annually. Each year the twelve monthly issues were bound together by a thirteenth to become a single volume. On the title page was written E Pluribus Unum—From many, One.

Curiously, the motto traveled from thirteen magazines bound in a single volume to thirteen colonies bound together. From Many, One: assurance that together we may aspire to greater accomplishment than can be achieved independently.

Wonderful stuff. But wait until you read about the First Church of the Brethren in Sarasota, Florida.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at May 27, 2004 08:33 AM

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"God has a special providence for fools, drunks, and the United States of America."
-Attributed to Otto von Bismarck

Posted by: urthshu at May 27, 2004 01:55 PM