Which Way Will You Walk?

A Meditation for 29 June 2016, the 6th Sunday after Pentecost (Year C). The meditation is based on 2 Kings 2: 1 – 2, 6 -14; Galatians 5: 1, 13 – 25; and Luke 9: 51 – 62.

This is about our legacy, that one thing that will be here after we are gone, our bones have turned to dust, and our soul is in Heaven. In the movie “A Man For All Seasons” Sir Thomas More suggests that Richard Rich should be a teacher.

Sir Thomas More: Why not be a teacher? You’d be a fine teacher; perhaps a great one.

Richard Rich: If I was, who would know it?

Sir Thomas More: You; your pupils; your friends; God. Not a bad public, that.

These are simple times, times which define history. History is not determined by complicated issues but rather simple actions by everyday people.

And whether we like the idea or not, the decisions we make, no matter how insignificant they may seem, will have a lasting impact on what happens next.

Paul points out that God has called us to a new and free life. But this freedom comes with a price; it is not an excuse to do whatever we want because that only costs the very freedom we gained, and in the end, leads to our destruction.

I believe that there are perhaps four different types of people in this world: 1) those whose only intent is evil (and I hope that are not too many of these individuals), 2) those who see acts of evil as a manifestation of good, 3) those who perform acts of good but solely for their own benefit, and 4) those whose acts of good and kindness are for the benefit of all.

Admittedly, this is a very arbitrary scale and I don’t know how one fits onto it but, to be quite honest, there are people who do fit into the first three categories and those who are in the fourth category are in a distinct minority. I would presume that most individuals are in the third category who only do good when it is best for them to do so.

But it is quite clear that this is not the choice that Jesus demanded from those who choose to follow Him, either two thousand years ago or even today. As Paul wrote, it is not just what you think but what you do that counts.

There comes a time when each one of us has to make a decision about what we are going to do and the path we will walk. Time and time again, the prophets of the Old Testament pointed this out. The decision by Elisha to follow Elijah, to take his cloak and continue his work is the decision we are called to make today.

Will you walk your own path, knowing only that it does lead anywhere (no matter what you might think at this time)? Or shall you walk with Christ, knowing that it leads to total and complete freedom?

Turning The Pages Of Time

I am about 2/3 through the editing of my grandfather’s World War I diary. His comments about the war itself are limited and perhaps a bit understated. But they help to put into context some of the things I learned in history while in high school and college.

There are interesting similarities between what is happening now and what he wrote in 1933 (“My Grandfather’s Diary – The Last Entry”. We can build walls and keep people out; we can let the Atlantic and Pacific oceans protect from Europe and Asia; we can enact tariffs to protect American businesses. We have done it before and it almost ruined us and it didn’t keep us out of two world wars. We know what has been written on the pages of history; do we want to rewrite those pages (again)?

We are, for the most part, a nation of immigrants who seem to want to forget who we are. We are part of this planet and there is no way we can separate our lives from the other lives on this planet.

The recent decision by the British to leave the European Union may seem as if it were a rational and well-thought out vote but it is quickly appearing to be a vote based on fear and without a lack of thought. And the comments by some politicians indicate that they truly reflect the heritage of the “Know-Nothing” party of the early 19th century (when asked what they stood for or what they believed, many of this party proclaimed that they knew nothing).

We cannot turn back the pages of time to make a better life; we can only work today to make tomorrow better. We can live our lives in fear but fear only allows us to back up, not move forward. To reach the future, we must move forward.