In morning prayer today the homily shared connected our lectionary passage and the story of St. Martin of Tours (read a bit more about it). The story was about him cutting of a piece of him military cape and giving it to a homeless beggar. He had a dream that night of a Jesus wearing half of his cape and awoke realizing what he should have done. Essentially to give everything to Jesus and to his neighbor!
It’s veterans day. I really appreciate the lectionary passage from Matthew 25:34-40 (the I was sick, I was in prison, I was a stranger, I was naked… and you took care of me passage). That connected to the commemoration of St. Marin of Tours, a military general who encountered Christ, gave his all to Jesus and became a force for peace and charity in the world, eventually being elected bishop. A great way to frame the day I do believe.
I’m seen by some as disrespectful of veterans and a poor excuse for an American or something like that. This is mainly because I hold to convictions of non-violence and am skeptical of political systems and violent means of progress. I rather seek to pledge my allegiance to God and God’s kingdom, making Jesus my King and his teachings my rule of life and the constitution of my home.
But with all sincerity, I don’t want to be disrespectful to veterans and those who have served and sacrificed for this country and other countries. As a friend and mentor once said to my wife and I, “honor what is honorable.” I want to do that. So thank you women and men who have served and sacrificed. I’m sorry you had to do that, I long for the coming of God’s kingdom, where all will be new and there will be no tears or separation, strife or death. Rather, there will be shalom—everything in it’s right place and in right relationship with all people and things. I struggle with language that gives credit for my wellbeing, safety and freedom to anyone other then my God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
So I long for this, for the veteran and for the farmer, for those who might be called enemy and for those who I call friends… I long for all of creation to be at peace because of the knowledge of Jesus, sacrificed for all, for the redemption of sin and the hope of life everlasting. I pray come Lord Jesus, come. Come this day and in all days, until you come one day to make all things new.
My response is to try and live into the already of God’s kingdom rather then excepting the not yet of it. This is not without its faults because of my failure and lack of faith but don’t mistake it for non-action. Despite the sinful sloth I all to often sit in my prayer is that the video of freedom and peace we find in the scripture would lead me, would lead the church to radical action. I pray I and we would have the imagination for this Jesus kinda of action.
I pray God will give me the vision and the courage to live and a disciple of Jesus, acting for peace and reconciliation, for justice and truth, for unity and charity… all with the example of Jesus, the one I follow before me!
Just some thoughts.
Our Collect for the day…
Lord God of hosts, you clothed your servant Martin the soldier with the spirit of sacrifice, and set him as a bishop in your Church to be a defender of the catholic faith: Give us grace to follow in his holy steps, that at the last we may be found clothed with righteousness in the dwellings of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
PS: to my friend who my raise an eyebrow at the “Pray for us” line. Just look at it like you’re asking a brother or friend to pray for you. The idea is that all are alive in Christ, a communion of saints or a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) you might say. Alexander Schmemann explain this best for me, I can’t remember ware, maybe in his book Great Lent: Journey into Pascha book or For the Life of the World… can’t remember but he’s awesome and helped me to be a little less squeamish when it come to this aspect of the faith that has long been practiced.