Friday, October 7, 2011

Looking Around - 10.7.11

The Desert
I've been in the desert. Not the Sahara or out west in Arizona or New Mexico. No, this is a desert of the spirit - a place of despair and gloom - where I am uninspired, frustrated and disappointed (mostly in myself) unable to bring myself to do more than go through the motions of ministry. Maybe its the end of the summer, an end to beach, barbecues and outdoor living; facing a return to the cold, wet, and icy darkness of winter that sets me off into the desert, I don't know, but I find the desert is not a bad place, more of a necessary place. A place where I can think, contemplate, pray and begin to understand better why I do what I do and why its worth doing. Our Lord often went into the desert and returned renewed and refreshed to face the challenges of ministry.

I too find the desert a positive experience where I come away with a renewed energy, a restored hope and a firmer belief. I feel as if the wind has picked up and filled my sails; lifting me up and pushing me along to bigger and better things. And it comes at a good time too.  After lazing around during the summer months, when ministry take a holiday, I am filled with a fire for new things.

This month is Respect Life Month and Domestic Awareness Month.  Two related and very important subjects, not only to our Christianity, but to our society.

To be Pro-Life is to love our brothers and sisters as God intends us to love, as he loves.
We love when we not only protect the unborn, but as we teach respect for life in the God's gift of creation and the sanctity of marriage.
We love when we care for the sick and infirm; providing healing care and comforting rest toward natural death.
We love when we work to help the poor in their immediate need and in working to relieve the situations that perpetuate poverty.
We love when we provide help and care for those who are struck by misfortune, unemployment, natural disaster, catastrophic illness and the other things that can befall each of us.
We love our brothers and sisters in so many ways; recognizing that when one suffers, we all suffer and know that we are each vulnerable until we rest in the arms of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Domestic Violence is an epidemic that affects every facet of society. It does not discriminate by social group, race, religion, gender, culture or wealth. Anyone can become a victim and anyone could be an abuser. It has long reaching and lasting impact on of women, men, and children. It destroys families.

No one suffers Domestic Violence in a vacuum. Victims live in pain and fear, children see the impact it has on their parents - both victim and abuser; learning to perpetuate the violence either through abuse or acceptance of abuse in their relationships. It destroys families, hurts and kills people, leaves great psychological scars, and costs society, not only in dollars through medical and/or legal expense, but more importantly, in tearing at the fabric of peaceful existence and harmony.

Awareness of Domestic Violence, its symptoms and the best ways to help its victims is an important way of showing our love for one another. No one has to suffer abuse or be an abuser.

#Occupy Wall Street and The 99%
I think (and hope) we've all been watching this growing movement started by a few courageous people in downtown New York City. It seems chaotic and unfocused, but I think that is part of its attraction. While we are all (at least 99% of us) are frustrated with the way things are going in this country and in the western world, we seem to be unable to put our finger on exactly what is wrong. I think its because there is not one thing wrong, but many things that need to change to get us back on track in our pursuit of loving one another and treating one another with dignity and respect.

When I experience the news concerning the growing inequality in society, I am often reminded of the scripture story of The Rich Man and Lazarus. If we fail to heed God's word and care for the poor and disenfranchised we will suffer the loss of God's love and peace in His heavenly Kingdom. When I see the arrogance of those who increase their wealth at the price of others safety and security, I think of Psalm 33: 16-19

The king is not saved by his great army; 
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a vain hope for victory,
and its great might cannot save.

Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
to deliver their soul from death,
and keep them alive in famine.

We are our brother's keeper and the stewards of God's creation for generations until the Lord comes again.  We are to love our brothers and sisters, share our bounty and gifts for the common good of all. No one accomplishes anything in this life without the Lord God.

Deacon Don

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