Pondering for Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Daily Office Readings for Wednesday of the 2nd Week of Lent: Year 2

Morning, Psalm 72; Evening, Psalm 119:73-96;

Genesis 42:18 to 28; 1st  Corinthians 5:9 to 6:8; Mark 4:1 to 20:

“Do you not know that we are to judge angels—to say nothing of ordinary matters? If you have ordinary cases, then, do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the church?” (1 Corinthians 6: 3 – 4)

I believe that people who are regular church attendees make the best police persons, military personnel , and lawyers and judges. There should always be some kind of community moral compass in place and activated in such work as police, military and the judicial system. 

Humane treatment and decency should always be at the forefront of all public service or conflict. People that do such work should come from a community of faith. I don’t believe such a faith community has to be Christian.  But it should be a community whose beliefs recognize the godly value of all people regardless of ethnicity, religion, nationality, language, or sexual orientation.  Yes, we must appoint or elect judges to make decisions about how to proceed in terms of what to do about offenders. However, compassion must be given to people, even those who themselves show no compassion. Being tough on crime does not mean being hateful to those who are different or who have made mistakes or even those who show no desire to improve.

Preachers or priests, or imams, or rabbis, must be mindful of the message they plant in the hearts of their listeners, from whom such public servants are called.  We all have the same loving God.  We have found different ways to relate to and worship God.  But just as we look up to God, we must also look to our right and left at our neighbor and remember to love them through this same God. I agree with Saint Paul, I think our judges (and other public service providers and military) should come from people who have an understanding of some kind of loving worship community. The religious leaders who plant the seeds of morality have a huge responsibility for making sure such seeds are loving and inclusive.

I was an active duty Marine for 30 years. I have been in several conflicts. While I have never been responsible for prisoners of war, I hold a vow of decency regarding the treatment of captives. This also applies to those whom we fire upon. There is an awful upheaval taking place in Ukraine right now perpetrated by the Russian military. It is sinful. If these military persons were God-fearing they would not be bombing civilians, hospitals and other non combatants. Further, if the people who sent them understood the right of a government to be free, they would not have invaded Ukraine at all. It is so wrong, and as Paul explains, they will be judged accordingly.  Meanwhile, let us never cease from praying for Ukraine and the Russians who speak out against such evil.

As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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