Wednesday, January 13, 2021
The Cold, Snowy Woods?
Which do we see as we progress through life today?
A son honours his father, and servants their master. If then I am a father, where is the honour due to me? And if I am a master, where is the respect due to me? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. You say, ‘How have we despised your name?’
‘What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir”; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?’
Words of Grace For Today
Everyday there are so many things and people that demand our attention and demand our subservience. The governmental orders that restrict our freedoms in order to protect us all from the deadly and maiming Covid 19 are high on the list of those we are constantly aware of.
Where does God fit on our list? How would we know? How would others know? Does it really matter where or if God is on our list of those we give our attention to and whom we give subservience to?
Malachi thought it does, as did Abraham and Sarah, Moses and Miriam, all the prophets and prophetesses, the woman who provided for Jesus and his disciples, and surely Jesus does!
Matthew points out how we humans too often recognize that we must give attention and obedience to God, but we can’t really be bothered when the rubber hits the road; we’ve got other things that keep us busy.
Wayne said he would honour God. But then in his honourable profession the temptations of greed and avarice, the pressures to perform the impossible, and the corruption of absolute power overwhelmed him. He had promised to honour God, but he honoured no one but his own reputation. Sitting in a position of power he destroyed people, and dealt with honest honourable people as cruelly as he could. He identified their greatest vulnerabilities and exploited them until they had no resistance or hope left. He loved watching people crumble behind him as he moved on to the next victim.
God cried, for his son, Wayne, who had started life with such great brilliance and promise, such extraordinary gifts and opportunities, such hope and kindness, had given up on himself, on the goodness of life, and on God.
Tina grew up with church all around, and saw the hypocrisy of her parent’s faith, the pastors’ greed and blatant sinfulness, and the church leaders corruption and dishonesty. She stood at her confirmation, as she thought she must for appearances and to avoid the guaranteed battles with her parents if she did not. She stood and professed her faith, but under her breath she cursed the whole process and her hypocrisy. Afterwords she stood by herself in the woods behind the church and cursed the church, it’s people and it’s God. She vowed she would never, ever do more than the absolute minimum to make people accept her and leave her alone. Later as an adult she would avoid the church at all costs! This she promised herself, and God if there was one.
With a budding career after scholarships and fellowships and the best education available in the world, Tina had it all. She was even considering getting married. She’d found a kind man, an honest man, a man of integrity who stood up for what was right and worked to bring justice to those to whom it was denied.
Then in a blink of an eye, he was dead, killed by an addict in a frenzied high on meth looking for money for more drugs. The addict had been a normal mother of two who needed knee surgery. Prescribed opiates for her pain even before the surgery, which was postponed twice, she became hooked. Her doctor did nothing except cut her off. She turned to prescription drugs on the street, and when she ran through all her family’s money losing them along the way, she turned to cheaper street opiates.
Tina tried to make sense of it all. It was impossible. Nothing made sense. Not her own life. Not the sad story of the addict’s life and her children without a mother. Not her fiance’s death. One day she found herself walking in a wood, praying that God would help her. She remembered that promise she’d made herself in the woods after her confirmation. Still she prayed. When she walked out of the woods, she went looking how she could make a good difference in the world. She found, trained, and volunteered at a safe injection site for addicts. She listened to the addicts who wanted to talk. Many came to trust her. She wasn’t fooled by their lies, or taken in. She listened. She learned what resources were available. If they asked for help, she was ready to guide them, sometimes even walking with them to the place where help was offered, where they could be given a safe apartment, where people would help them get stability, and help dealing with their addiction. She attended lots of AA and NA meetings, sitting in the back with an addict who’d asked her to come to support them.
Who are you today? Like Wayne or Tina? Full of words and short on action? Or full of action humbling submitting to God’s Word to love God, neighbour and self with all our heart, mind and strength, even our enemies?
Whoever each of us are this day, pray that none of us are like the priests who are so far lost we can say: ‘How have we despised God’s name?’
Let us honour God with our prayers, praise, and humble work to bring justice to all people, grace to all people, and hope to all people … starting with ourselves.