Silent Sentinels

Good morning. It is Tuesday, September 16, 2014.

Today is Guacamole Day! What a wonderful day!! Unfortunately, I had guacamole yesterday. If I had known . . .

Yesterday was an okay day. Work went well. We had free lunch catered by On the Border (hence the guacamole), and I ate too much, which made me drowsy and sluggish all afternoon. Other than that, though, I’m feeling pretty good. Christi, though, was feeling like she was catching a cold, and still has the vertigo going on, when she turns her head certain ways. This morning, she says she is feeling better, but still has the dizziness.

I guess we have our Huddle meeting tonight, being that it is Tuesday.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
Psalm 86:11

(From The Divine Hours)

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Psalm 95:1-2
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Psalm 67:1
To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.

Psalm 123:1-2
I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness,
and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.

Psalm 7:17
Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;
his name is the LORD; exult before him!
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.

Psalm 68:4-5

Today’s Gospel Reading

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 6:25-33

Following up on the heels of the passage I ready yesterday, Jesus expounds a little more on the foolishness of being concerned about our earthly treasures. He tells us we don’t need to be concerned with the clothes we will wear or the food we will eat. God knows what we need, and will provide it, IF we seek first his kingdom. There is an implication here that, in my opinion, goes along with his statements about seeking the approval of men. If we give to the poor in front of others, their approval will be the only reward we receive. If we pray loudly and boisterously in front of men and receive their approval, that will be the only reward we receive. If we fast, making it obvious to others, their approval will be our only reward. If we spend our lives toiling and straining for material things, constantly worried about the clothes we wear and the food we eat, that will be our reward. All of these things are temporary. Another “reward” will be the constant anxiety of worrying about tomorrow; the constant “what if?”

But if we seek first the king of God and his righteousness, not only will we get THAT (which is much more important), we will also get all those other things that we chose NOT to strive after.

Jesus finishes up with a statement that is similar to what my mother used to say when I was a boy. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” My mother used to tell me, “Don’t borrow trouble.”

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Sins of Omission.”

Brennan tells a story of a time when he was with a group at Coney Island. “A few yards away in the center of the boardwalk, a man was pouring a can of beer on the head and down the blouse of a pregnant girl of maybe fifteen. He was describing aloud in lurid detail how he had sexually abused her and what he had in mind later. She appeared slightly intoxicated; at any rate, she was crying.”

The group Brennan was with decided to leave. As they were walking toward the car, Brennan heard, deep in his soul, like a bell resounding, “Who are you?”

“I stopped as if my shoes were stuck to the pavement. ‘I am a son of my Father,’ I said.”

The voice responded with, That girl is my daughter.

Brennan went back, took the girl aside and talked with her for a few minutes while people around taunted. Then he says, “That night I wept, not for them but for myself, for the countless times I have played the silent sentinel, afraid to acknowledge the presence of the Son of Man in the least of my brothers and sisters. How often I’ve seen human dignity being degraded and been content to moralize about the situation and walk away.”

James, the brother of Jesus, tells us in his little letter, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” ((James 4:17)

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold,
I will spit you out of my mouth.

Revelation 3:16

Father, I’m not quite sure how to pray over this one. I know that there have been plenty of times that I have not spoken up or not acted when I knew what the right thing was. I confess these times and pray that you will give me the courage to speak up or act when those time occur. I know that there are some times when the fear is more for my own safety than simply being ridiculed. These days, you never know how someone is going to react. I pray for wisdom and courage to do the right thing when necessary. May we, your Church, not continue to be “silent sentinels” in our world around us and speak up when the circumstances call for it. But let us also be very, very sure that we are speaking your words and thoughts, not just our own misguided opinions!

I pray for this day. I pray that you would give us grace to seek your kingdom first today, in the midst of our daily work day. Give us safe passage to and from work, and show us how to walk with you through the work day. May the Gospel be present in our lives; may we display it to others in all that we do. I pray that you show Stephanie your overwhelming love today, and bring healing to her mind. Show her the path to walk.

May we be wise with the wisdom of God in our actions and circumstances, not being “silent sentinels,” but speaking and acting in the grace and mercy of the Lord, who is the “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows!”

Grace and peace, friends.

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