In an odd mood this morning. An 05:45 alarm going off is a less than great start. Walking in bare feet across a somewhat cold floor to provide the required breakfast to three cats uttering plaintive wails of imminent starvation doesn't improve one's disposition. I know that I should be thankful -- and am -- that I had a bed to sleep in and a roof over it, food enough to have some for cats, and clothes to wear -- but at that precise moment, thankfulness is not uppermost in the mind. Oh, well.
So, I arose, So, once cats were fed, did Dear Wife. She trundled off to the shower, the steamy air will do her breathing good. I dressed, put away the dishes that had rested in the drying rack over night. Helped her to get dried off and dressed, made her something to eat. She's next door to "watch" the Great-Niece today. 2nd Great-Niece is supposed to show up momentarily as mom and dad head off to court. Later today, mid-afternoon actually,we're supposed to make a trek to see Wife's physician, a rheumatologist, in what is supposedly a 30-minute drive hence. Based on past experience, I think we'll plan to leave here 60 minutes or so before the scheduled appointment.
If everything holds, tomorrow some time, an event will be held in the nation's capital, the inauguration of a new President. An end, perhaps, to a remarkably bitter and rancorous election cycle, some two years' length. Part of me is glad that it is over, part of me suspects that it really isn't. I've long believed that the important things in life happen in the hearts of individual people, and from thence into the home, the family, the neighborhood. And, occasionally, further. NOT in the nation's capital, nor in the state houses, city halls, or the like. But there are those who disagree. Now, there are those who wish to believe that the truly important things are accomplished in these centers of power, political power. Informed, they believe, by the "cultural leaders", such as the Hollywood movie makers, the academicians in the various universities, by the Transnational Progressivists in the EU, the UN, and the like. With, occasionally, a cursory nod to the Vatican, etc. Inasmuch as these 'true believers" assume that they themselves are always on the right side of things, and that their co-religionists are with them, any deviation is regarded as heresy, to be violently put down. We used to think that the term "thoughtcrime" was simply an interesting term invented to fill a space in George Orwell's book, "1984". No more. And, as the very concept of the individual becomes out of favor with the collectivists, the statists if you like, the idea is ever more violently suppressed by agents of the State. We've seen that in the SovUnion, in the Third Reich, with the ChiComs, among the Khmer Rouge, and, increasingly, in the US Department of Just-Us, the Ivy League colleges, the public schools, and the cultural mavens. There is push back on this, and that may be largely the root of the great rancor in this election cycle.
And part of all that has to do with definitions of truth, and where do our allegiances lie. I am reminded of the experiences of Daniel and his three friends. They were ordered on pain of death to bow only to the king and to the gods of the nation where they were captives. They could have pretended to do so, to put on a show of agreement so as to not give offense to the king and the culture. Probably most people, including the other captives, did one of those "go along to get along" excusese. We don't know their names, which is just as well. Daniel, and his three friends did not go along. We remember their names. Was it worth it? Every one of us must answer that question, and it's not an easy one. I have been in situations where everyone was expected to enthusiastically support the Cause of The Day, whether the matter was "Gay Rights", or the virtues of Islam, or the labor union, or the like. Failure to be seen as sufficiently supportive could have career-limiting consequences. Ask me how I know.
The Old Testament reading for this morning is chapters 44 and 45 of the Genesis.
I can remember a once common saying, now rarely heard: "the Lord works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform". Remember that? Sometimes He arranges things in ways we could never have imagined. At some point, perhaps, we look back and see what He's done, in the oddest ways, but in such a way that what would have seemed impossible, is not only -- obviously -- possible, but in place. I've been there. Perhaps you have as well.
This is part of such an improbable chain of events. Joseph, rejected by his brothers, captured, sold as a slave, falsely accused of awful things, is now the 2nd most powerful person in Egypt, and therefore uniquely placed to rescue those members of his own family who had hated him and set in motion that chain of events. And, improbably, he was able to see through those horrid circumstances and see that the Lord had been at work all along, and did not use his temporal power to exact vengeance against those who had done him harm. A better man than I, certainly. So now there is a bit of a family reunion, and his aged father learns that his son is alive after all.
The New Testament reading is verses 1-21 in the 14th chapter in the Gospel of Matthew.
The earthly cousin of Jesus, the one we call John the Baptist, is executed on a whim. And Jesus is now at the forefront, and begins by feeding the multitude out of a few meager offerings, but all that someone had to give. ALL he had to give. The Lord wants us to love Him with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength. 99.9% won't do.