David remains the greatest king in Israel's history.
Shepherd boy. Giant slayer. Songwriter. King.
He confessed and repented. He was restored.
A precursor to his/our most important relative, he longed for God's people to enflesh the united way.
"How wonderful, how beautiful when brothers and sisters get along!
That's where God commands the blessing!"
While I know the United Way stirs ideological spasms of affirmation/antagonism from the aisles, the Boone County, Illinois version enables lots of good stuff.
So I felt good about being asked to sub for who they really wanted to pray at their annual breakfast kick-off on 9/19 at 7:00 a.m.
Besides(1), I was headed to the Boone County Jail after breakfast and the United Way of Boone County provides counseling, mentoring, and educational opportunities for gals/guys locked up in that joint.
Besides(2), when I was a 1st year seminarian, Dr. David Watermulder, president of the seminary's board of trustees and senior undershepherd of one of the franchise's most "important" churches, advised, "No matter who they are and if it doesn't conflict with your church's calendar, take every opportunity to speak because it's another chance to spread the gospel."
I prayed; then as I was leaving for the jail, a few attendees asked for a copy of the prayer.
That's been a problem since I was in my early years of undershepherding ministry; for I think I heard Him say as I began to pray a prayer on Sunday that I'd written on Friday, "Bob, we went over that on Friday. Don't you have anything new to talk about? Truly, this is supposed to be a conversation not a script. Prayer is not a show or recital. Let's talk."
I promised to post a summary here from what I can recollect.
Of course, most of this prayer has been obsessing my prayers for months; so I think what follows is pretty close to what I prayed earlier.
Yeah, I'll bet in a Christian kinda way that I pray it again on 9/22 at both services with the second one broadcast live via www.bnnsradio.com at 10:00 a.m.
These are dangerous days, Lord.
Hosea is our contemporary: "There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land. There is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery. They break all bounds and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore, the land...[America]...mourns."
When we peer into confessional candor's mirror, we see we are often more part of the disease than remedy by our prejudices, pettiness, party loyalties, vain idolatries masquerading as virtuous ideologies and denominational allegiances, competing ministries, barking, biting, beating, and butchering.
Selfishness, the deadly dark virus from the pit of hell, is rationalized and enabled at the expense of Your commanding call, "Love each other just as much as I have loved you" with grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
The golden rule - love others as much as you love yourself and do for them as you want them to do for you - has been polluted/poisoned by self before service and the demonically inspired obsession with "my" rights, needs, feelings, opinions, and concerns.
Even churches and community organizations that should know Him better and have, at least, heard about confirming Godly belief with Godly behavior are sooooooo sorely divided and, therefore, ineffective as well as grotesquely hypocritical in telling others how to get along and cooperate and care for each other when they don't because of their passions for segregating and separating and enabling disaffections and disunity as Democrats and Republicans, Bears and Packers, Cubs and White Sox, Bucs and Thunder, Baptists, Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Pentecostals, and other schismatics in defiance of Your high priestly prayer that all may be one through You so that the world will believe and then behave like believers with invitation, inclusion, welcome, and agape.
Maybe, today, right here, right now, we will stop going through the motions of faith and start living faith and modeling Someone better.
The united way.
The world, nation, states, communities, churches, and all of the below are starving for Someone better.
Maybe, today, right here, right now, we can start reflecting that Someone's selfless caring and bearing and sharing with generous hearts and helping hands.
Maybe, today, right here, right now, we can take David's longing and enflesh it in our lives: "How blessed it is when people are united."
No more skits and shows and drama and theater...and posing.
From now on.
No more compromises and accommodations with naysayers and nitpickers and the naughty who say and do little nice.
From now on.
"Let there be peace on earth as it is in heaven...Let it begin with me/us..."
From now on.
As prescribed in Holy Scripture.
As perfectly patterned by Jesus in whose name we pray.
Blessings and Love!
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