Some of you may wonder why the opening of this sounds familiar, well, I borrowed a few lines from this writing for my message on Sunday. This was the write up I submitted to the local paper in Eureka last week as part of what the clergy members are asked to do. We are put on a rotating basis and the paper publishes these are mid-week sort of messages. Hopefully what you read here makes a bit of sense.
For our avid gardeners and farmers the big question of the week might be, “Will your corn be knee-high by July 4th this year?” For the avid camper the question might be, “Do you have your equipment, boat, motor home, tent as the case may be in shape and ready for the July 4th weekend?” For the compassionate Christian the questions may vary from, “Have you prayed for the victims of the latest mass shooting, or are you praying for better leadership to help end such violence in our time in our world.” I came across an interesting response to a commentary on a lectionary in some of my studies recently. The commentator had suggested we pray for good, strong leadership at the very top levels of our country. The responder suggested that good strong leadership needs to start at home in our cities and schools and counties and state levels. Good leadership is needed on local elected boards and judgeships and even in the realms of community committees. Outstanding volunteers are also important parts of how a community is perceived and how it functions. It makes a statement about what is tolerated and what is expected of its citizens. Compassion and kindness and acceptance begin with the very basics of smiles and door openings and allowing others to pass or enter without hindrance or attitudes of disgust. It is up to all of us to welcome all of God’s creation and look after what God has put within our reach. But it also might be up to us to be the leaders who lead by example whether we are elected or appointed or are simply jumping up and down shouting “Pick me!” at some community committee. Let’s hope our example is one of welcome and inclusion, but also one of intolerance for those who initiate discord and strife. As someone who has been on committees in lots of different roles, I know there are often plenty who would love to sit on the throne and wield the scepter, but never enough worker ants or bees as the case may be. I challenge that as we enjoy the upcoming July 4th holiday, let’s take some time to ponder the many freedoms that we enjoy in our country, but let us also ponder what role we are willing to take to ensure that we continue to live in a country that is not only free, but also safe. I for one am tired of praying for families who are suffering as a result of a mass killing. I would much prefer to rejoice in prayer and song with a whole and happy community.