I hope you don’t find it a surprise that people ask me all the time to pray for them --- and hopefully people ask the same of you, as my prayers are no more powerful than yours. . .
A friend of mine always says that whenever someone does ask you to pray for them – you should do it as soon as you can – right there on the spot as you walk away from them or hang up the phone --- otherwise you are likely to forget about as soon as you get back to work, or play, or whatever it was that you were doing or going to do.
I’ve had a lot of people lately ask me to pray for them because they are going through a difficult time. Often people ask me to pray for them because they are sick or suffering in some way and need the healing touch of God in their lives.
There are many people these days who are going through pain, and anxiety, and frustration: in our parish, in our state, and in our country who need our prayers.
On this weekend when we celebrate the gift of our country, the freedom we enjoy and the opportunities that are given to us – we need to be aware that there are many who struggle amid an uncertain economy – and living and working conditions that are challenging with mask wearing and social distancing, >>
and the possibility of businesses not coming back as strong as they were before all of this began. . .
One friend of mine is used to the extra income from the work she does at Kaufman stadium during baseball season – and we know how that is working out for her this year. . .
The people of Israel in our first reading today would understand the feelings of those who are struggling in today’s world.
At the time the prophet Zechariah was writing to the Israelites – around 520 B.C. – the Persians had conquered Israel and were occupying their land and lives.
The Jewish Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed – and all the people of Israel wanted more than anything else ---- was to get things back to normal – in their day to day lives – and in their worship ----SOUND SOMEWHAT FAMILIAR????
In the midst of their anguish, hope-less-ness, and despair : Zechariah was writing to remind them that God would NOT abandon them. Zechariah was telling them to just “hold tight” because God will never desert the people that God loves so very much:
“See, your king will come to you, and he is a just savior. The warriors bow shall be banished and he shall proclaim peace to the nations. HIS dominion shall be from sea to sea”
God’s dominion – not the dominion of the Persians, or the Babylonians, or the Romans who will come along later --- and not the disruption caused by a pandemic such as the covid virus. . . GOD’S dominion shall be from sea to sea. . . we might want to say from sea to shining sea. . .
And Jesus echoes that message so well in the Gospel: “Come to me, to me -- all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Faith teaches us that Christ walks with us and carries us in those difficult moments that bring us to the brink of despair – and should bring us to our knees. >>
Christ is saying to us: “Trust in me. I will lead you through this valley of darkness and of fear. We will get through this together.
WHO DOESN’T NEED TO HEAR THESE WORDS TODAY???? IN OUR TIME AND IN OUR PLACE???
GOD IS WITH US – AND WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS TOGETHER!
The problems which we face as individuals and as a nation reflect the character of our country at this time in history – just as they did for the Israelites in 520 BC. While we celebrate our country this weekend with both pride and hope –
we should be clear that it is prayer and the action of God in our lives that is the most important element in our celebrations on the 4th of July and every other day.
We pray for those who have no work. May they find labor soon.
We pray for those who struggle and who live in fear because they do not know what the future holds. May the light of God’s love direct their efforts and guide their actions.
We pray for our country which seems to struggle in its efforts to be a beacon of hope to the world. May God bless our nation. >>
And my God bless our leaders. May God bless all of us who live in this great country. And may we never take it for-granted.
And may we realize that no matter what our struggles, pains or fears – we are all in this together. And together we seek God’s guidance in our future – and the future of our country. God’s dominion shall be from sea to shining sea. And may God bless America.
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