June, 2018 “The Lord has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6.8)
I went to watch my Thai friend become a citizen last week. 4,509 people from 113 countries came to the LA Convention Center to take the Oath. The convention center had been transformed into a courtroom, so that the proceedings were legal and binding.
They took the Oath the warriors of this country take: to Guard our nation from enemies within and without. The people were told to sever ties to any other power or prince. And they took oaths also to serve in our military and its auxillaries should that be necessary, and as it is written in the law. Twenty-eight of the new citizens were already serving in various branches of the military. The judge demanded of them, also, that they speak up, especially if they disagreed with any policies or laws, because this country is founded on such a blessing.
On Memorial Day, the three speakers, Supervisor Kelly Long, Colonel Gordon A. Richardson, and I, all spoke on Memorial Day’s beginnings. My additions were that it began with women putting flowers on the graves of their men: first the women of the South, then the women of the North, then both together. They chose May 30, because no side had won, nor lost, a great battle on that day. It was a day of mourning for the dead on both sides. I said how I hated war.
One of my high school classmates posted a picture of her brother, in his fatigues, surrounded by boys of Viet Nam. Like a youth group. Her brother, one of the kids in my youth group, died in Viet Nam 50 years ago. I spoke of a stand of ponderosa pines in New Mexico, torn down by winds like a tornado, all spread out in concentric circles. I wondered what it would be like, if our armies served in these kinds of ways: building bridges, hospitals, schools; befriending children; blocking and cutting fire wood out of blowndown forests, so that poor folks could have heat in the cold winters of the mountains.
In Revelation, it says that after all the wars and rumors of wars are done, after the Kingdom of God is finally birthed, that there will be a crystyline river flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, and by its banks will grow the tree of life, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. And there will be no more war, no more death, no more crying, no more sorrow. (Revelation 21 and 22) That is the promise of our faith I hold on to, in these times of pain and suffering.
I just read a children’s book about John Wesley, and his constant work for the Lord. How he loved the little children and sought to make life better for all the people, especially the poor. We are Methodists, who sing and give whatever we have to give, to any who have need. We do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. And we hope for, and watch for, the day when the world is at peace. When all God’s children will live together with God in our midst. Let it be so. Amen.
Blessings, Pastor Bethany