Saturday, June 25, 2022

Laws Not Enforced


It seems there are many government officials who saying they will not enforce this law or that, saying it is the will of the people (or of people they think will vote for them).  Of late, it seems that state governors are the ones at the news conferences saying they will not enforce this law or that.  I thought it was not right when presidents dictated laws to be enforced or not as their highest priority once in office (or dictated new ones).  I recalled that dictators dictate.  But that has continued, and now it seems it has trickled down to governors to imitate.  Oh well, nothing I can do about that except turn a deaf ear. 

Until ….

I came out of church after my night prayers this evening, and saw the elderly couple sitting in lawn chairs across the street from the church, and I recalled some announcements I had read.  So, I went and confirmed, yes, these were volunteer security people, watching the church.  I can’t imagine these people taking any physical actions against security breaches, but I imagine they were told to watch and call the police if something looks wrong.  And then I thought about the government officials ANNOUNCING they will not enforce some laws, and I wondered.  If someone attempted to desecrate our church, would that be a law our government officials choose not to enforce?  What if these two nice elderly people were attacked?  Oh well, they were in the wrong place???  I now see the evils of not enforcing laws, as they are required to be enforced, as a great evil of government officials.  They are not dictators of this country; they were elected to enforce laws, or take legal steps to change them.

Until it hits close to home, however, sometimes we can’t see evils affecting someone else.  Laws are meant to be enforced, no matter how much you may not like them.  If you don’t like them, take efforts through the legal process to change them. 

Listening to the Bible in a Year broadcasts each day, over and over again I hear how the Jewish people didn’t obey God’s laws, and He let the evils they chose happen to them.  They had the freedom to choose good and obey His laws, but if they chose evil, He didn’t stop them.  And disasters befell them.  Today, no one is stopping government officials, who were elected to enforce laws and protect people, from not doing their defined jobs.  Few are suing them. 

I will stand up and be counted; I will support any legal effort to stop dictating by government officials.  And I will begin a list of elected (or wanting to be elected) officials who I hear saying they will not enforce laws --- ANY laws, even ones I don’t like.  And I will make note of government officials who re-broadcast threats they saw on “the dark web” and don’t do anything to stop those threats from happening; these same officials are often the ones who fired someone for a comment they didn’t like in the person’s diary or other personal papers.  None of these will get my vote.  Government officials are not doing their job if they don’t take actions to stop --- and to punish --- those who threaten or promote harm to others, even “on the dark web”, even during “peaceful” riots.       

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If this sounds like a rant, yeah, I'm sorry.  I may not have much hair left, but some things can still get my dander up.  

In addition to the actions I noted above, perhaps more importantly, I will pray for all those people mentioned.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Love Doesn't End


Today was the memorial of St. Thomas More, martyr.  He was imprisoned and later killed by his friend, the King of England.  My readings today included a most beautiful letter Thomas wrote to his daughter, Margaret, from prison.

Thomas tells her how he trusts in God, and not to worry.  “God’s grace has given the king a gracious frame of mind toward me, so that as yet he has taken from me nothing but my liberty.”  Later he writes: “And finally, Margaret, I know this well, that without my fault he (God) will not let me be lost.  I shall, therefore, with good hope commit myself wholly to him.  And if he permits me to perish for my faults, then I shall serve that his tender pity shall keep my poor soul safe and make me commend his mercy.  And, therefore, my good daughter, do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world.  Nothing can come but what God wills.  And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.”

He was beheaded by order of King Henry VIII in 1535.

What I liked about the letter was its peace and confidence in God, no matter what happened ahead.  He saw many others being killed, but he was now an exception, perhaps because of his prior friendship with the king.  He told his daughter not to worry about the future, but if at some point bad things happened --- don’t worry about that either.

That letter was like a peek into the heart of someone who loved Jesus greatly, and trusted in all his promises.

There is a parable of the rich man, who came to Jesus asking “What must I do to obtain eternal life?”  Jesus tells him to obey the commandments, which he says he does.  What else?  So, Jesus says to sell all he has and “follow me.”  And the rich man went away, because he couldn’t bring himself to do that.  I’ve seen many a discussion about that parable and how “if everyone gave away everything, everyone would starve and die.”  Or sometimes the discussion would focus on how much to give away, and for what.  But I think at the heart of that parable is the asking of the rich man to love, even as St. Thomas loved many years later.  The rich man loved things of this earth, but Jesus said “follow me” because he has the words of eternal life.  Love the things of this earth for a few happy years, or love the things of eternity --- forever.  That love (agape) doesn’t end.  St. Thomas knew that, and so didn’t worry about his life.  He followed, and loved, as Jesus loved.  He had no worry whatsoever about the future, as long as he loved as Jesus loved.

It's what we’re called to do, and then just trust.  Let tomorrow bring what it does tomorrow, but for today, just love.  In heaven there will be no faith nor hope, only charity, for love never ends.


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Seeing God's Plans

I had some thoughts this morning about the inability (or stubbornness) of the Jewish leaders to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.  Why couldn’t they believe in Him; they knew a Messiah was promised the Jewish nation, for this was the core of their Temple preaching.  They were telling the Jewish people to have faith and, as all the books of the Old Testament emphasized, they must do the will of God, as spoken by the prophets or written in the law, until the Messiah came.

A common reason given for the Jewish leaders’ rejection of Jesus is that they feared loss of their honored positions (a matter of self-love), or that they feared the power of the Romans (if Jesus was the warrior/king many expected the Messiah to be).  But what if it wasn’t either of those things they feared; what if it was their own death?  What if they feared not the suffering of their status, or even the suffering of the Jewish nation, but their own death suffering?  There were Jewish sects which believed the Messiah’s coming would signal the end of the world, and many did not believe in an afterlife.  What if they feared their own death, a very personal matter, which is rarely spoken of aloud?

Looking at the events of the world today, do we fear a Second Coming for the same reasons?  I admit that the thought is sometimes in the back of my mind.  It’s kind of like in the movies when the good guy is disarming the bomb and you see the seconds ticking down:  5, 4, 3, 2, …  You know positively that the good guy will be saved, but your instinct says there’s going to be an explosion.  You think you know the ending, but you’ve never seen this movie before.  In matters of God, this is where trust is needed.  Our prayers shouldn’t be about the outcome we want or fear (God knows these things), rather it should be like the personal prayer of Mary to Jesus at Cana: “They have no wine.”  And then trust.

Despite all the history of the Jewish nation, all the times God promised His love and care for “His people”, it seems that at its core the Jewish leaders did not believe that the coming of the Messiah was a good thing --- they could only see bad results and the end of things as they were.  But God saw things better than they could.  I am confident He still does, and pray that “Jesus I trust in You” often.


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Meanwhile, I like my life, and am open to what God’s plans might be for me --- even if I sometimes don’t understand why.  He shows me many things, like my gutter clogs and overflow a while back, which will be ended with my new gutters being installed tomorrow.  And like the gutter salesman who came over 2 weeks ago, and then began talking of how he and his wife were becoming Christians, after having been raised atheist.  Answering his questions for a couple of hours was another thing God willed me to do, and I don’t know the ending of that story either.