Pondering for Monday, May 22, 2023

Daily Office Readings for Monday of the 7th Week of Easter: Year 1

Morning, Psalm 89:1 to 18; Evening,  Psalm 89:19 to 52
Ezekiel  4:1 to 17Hebrews 6:1 to 12Luke 9:51 to 62:

“Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

I think the point that our Lord Jesus is making is that once we have set our minds, our sights, on where we are going, we need to stay focused on it if such a focus improves us.

I joined the United States Marines at the end of May, 1972.  Basic Training (Boot Camp), was a big step for me. It was my first ever flight on an airplane. It was the first time away from home without my Dad with whom I had always been with as we worked for United Van Lines, as movers.

It is an old story that still happens today. I arrive on a bus with other recruits on Parris Island, South Carolina somewhere around midnight. We were “greeted,” if that’s what you want to call it, by a man wearing a Smoky-the-Bear hat and he appeared to be very angry – angry at us.  I thought at the time he was mad because we were there and made him have to work.

This new chapter in my life required me to stay focused on whatever was about to happen next.  I had no time to think about, “those at my home,” back in Nashville, Tennessee.  I needed to be attentive to what was happening next. I did not want to fail. After much training, with many successes, some failures, and many accomplishments, I graduated Honor Man for my platoon on August 28, 1972. I stayed focused and as a result, was much improved.

I made it!  But it required me to not look back and second guess my decision to join the Marines in the first place. I retired after 30 years. The same is true about my decision to follow Jesus, even to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. There is no looking back.  It must be face-forward always. With hand to plough and no looking back, we are able the make the straight rows of improvement.

Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine, Russia, Sudan, South Sudan, Israel and our schools.

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

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