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Seeking the Lord

March 23, 2019

When I stopped by the Condo on my way to a Hospital Call in Loveland, I saw this coyote crossing the road. When I grabbed my camera to get a picture, he was gone. However, as I turned to go back to the Condo, he came sauntering down the sidewalk and I was able to get this picture. I never thought I would be playing a game of hide-and-seek with this neighbor! This is one of the wonders of living so close to the wildlife who find their home in Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park.

The question this picture leads me to is how do we seek the Lord in the midst of the ordinary. How does the Lord speak to us in our daily lives? While it isn’t always as dramatic as this encounter with the coyote, God meets us daily if we are attuned to look or listen for such encounters with the holy.

During this Lenten season, Denise and I have been exploring different Spiritual Practices each week. We invited the congregation each week to join us. For the Third Week in Lent, we will either go someplace where they feed the hungry and donate food or money or to eat a simple meal of rice and beans in solidarity with those who have nothing to eat. Below is a picture that could easily describe the theme for the Third Week in Lent.

 

This picture is of the Jordanian Hospital in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. The people were seeking medical care and relief for their families. This was taken during my 2005 USAF Deployment to Afghanistan. When I visited this location I was blown away by what the Jordanian and other Coalition Forces were doing in this region. The troops lived in tents that were quite primitive. The medical folks (from the Jordanian military) were helping to treat and care for the local population, most of whom had only known the horror of war for decades. As I shared some tea with the Commander of the Hospital (in between surgeries which he was performing), I was impressed with the humble nature and caring heart of this senior officer. You never would have known by his attitude that he was the senior officer for the Jordanian forces there.

His hospitality to me and to my Catholic Chaplain colleague was also reflected in the way his medical staff cared for the overwhelming number of Afghan people who came daily to the hospital for care. How ironic, that in the midst of what is now the longest war our nation has been a part of, that simple acts of kindness would make such a difference. I am sure that the Commander would have rather been operating and working without the constant threat of attacks in the midst of a war zone.

I remember the efforts of the Commander of Wilford Hall USAF Medical Hospital (I was there for a year as a Clinical Pastoral Education Resident from 1997-1998). General Carlton would encourage those under his command to take part in humanitarian medical work in spots around the world where the medical care they could offer wasn’t available to the common folks. The General himself would be a part of a medical mission each year. They made a difference as did the Engineers and Medical personnel I deployed with to Grenada in 2000. It may have been a drop in the bucket, but for those whom we were able to treat, it made a huge difference!

As I reflect on the Scripture reading for tomorrow, I think again and again about opportunities which I have had to be a part of efforts which strive to make a difference in this world full of suffering, hungry, greed, fear, hatred, and warfare. Can you imagine if the opening verse of Isaiah 55 was a reality each and every day for all of God’s children? Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Too often in my work and travels around I have seen the poor and the oppressed cast aside by those in power. Those in power want to hoard and keep everything for themselves and for their cronies. Keep the downtrodden oppressed and off-balance, and they can keep the power in their own control.

Instead, God through the prophet Isaiah calls us to live differently from the status quo. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live… Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:3, 6-7)

In this world where looking out for number one seems to be the rallying cry, we are called to live differently. Where the Pharisees and the Power Elite of Jesus’ day sowed the seeds of mistrust and hatred, Jesus sowed the seeds of love, grace, and mercy. Where the seeds of nationalism, hatred, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and bigotry are sown by so many; we are called to sow once more the seeds of love, grace, justice, equality, and peace.

Dear reader, how will you do that in your daily living. We can’t all be like the General and go off on missions every year, but we can make that difference in our daily living in our communities. Will you join with me in doing Justice, loving Kindness and Mercy, and walking Humbly with God? Will you join with me in being a manifestation of Jesus’ summary of the Law and the Prophets? Love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself? Believe me, you will make a difference!

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