Well, the holiday weekend is behind us now. Last year we heard a whole lot of "free enterprise" fireworks going off all around us. Really didn't have any of that this time around. I have no idea why. Won't complain, as such things bother all the dogs in a 5-block surrounding area, and the cats as well. And people too: it's hard to sleep when some drunks a block away are outside by a fire swilling booze and lighting of some industrial grade pyrotechnics.
Been a bit of interesting stuff going on if you look as well. Family across the street and down a bit are Moslems. Even have a slave, or so he told some neighbors. He's Sudanese and they're not, and I'm not sure where they're from. Business at the top of the street has some sort of connection to them, they're Moslems as well, flying a flag of Guayana out front. And a local "market", which apparently specializes in alcohol, lottery tickets, and cigarettes is part of it. And we're in Ramadan now, so loud American celebrations, to include mention of several wars that involved Moslems, is probably not their favorite. Not that their feelings impress me very much. But there are some cultural disconnects at play, and we'll see more of that as time passes.
And a quiet time for some introspection. I'm an introvert at heart, as is Wife, as is at least one daughter. A whole lot goes on behind the eyeballs that doesn't show up visibly. That bothers some people, and I really don't care.
Have been thinking this morning about the issue of keeping score. I've come again to thinking about how much emphasis and concern we put on things that really don't matter much. I've seen people all upset when they lose a hand of solitaire. Who cares? Some of the nastiest squabbles I've ever seen were at "church league" softball games. Who cares? I get tremendously aggravated by the horribly arranged traffic signals in this area. But, really, is it that important? Probably not. Other examples are not hard to find.
The bad part of that is that we put so much time, so much attention, so much energy, and, yes, sometimes money, on things that don't really matter much, that we have less of those things available for those things that really do matter.
Remember the hymn, "Sweet Hour of Prayer"? Lovely, a favorite. How many people have NEVER, not once in their lives, spent a whole uninterrupted 60 minutes meeting with the Lord?? That includes far too many pastors and church leaders by the way. Ray Comfort, a teacher and evangelist, spoke of a pastor's conference he addressed. He directed a question to those attending, asking for a show of hands of how many -- those who were interested enough in such a conference in the first place -- had a practice of regular, intense, meeting with the Lord, hopefully tied to Bible study. Not One Single Hand went up!! NONE!! And, yes, I'm sure that there were reasons. There always are. But if we don't make such a priority, what does that show of our real connection to the Lord, to regularly seeking His face?
And I am just as guilty.
If we get more worked up about a softball game than we do over meeting with Him, something is seriously wrong. And it's not Him. It's us. It's me. If I know more about the statistics and prospects of the local high school football team, or whose the favorite for the town council, than God's word, something's wrong.
For my whole life, I've heard the complaints about banning school prayers. I guess it's legiitimate, and yes, that case was wrongly decided no doubt. But how many of those complaining weren't modeling prayerful behaviors in their own homes? Too many, that I know. Me too.
Introspection. Question gets to, "what now?"/
Today's reading, chapters 28 and 29 of 1st Chronicles, records the end of the reign of King David. And in so doing, ends 1st Chronicles. Solomon next, and the rapid downward path of the kingdom.
I Chronicles 29
The reading from the New Testament is verses 47-57 of John chapter 11.
Look back a few days. Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. Caused quite a stir. Then He went to Bethany, and raised Lazarus from the dead after four days in the grave. Caused quite a stir, yes indeed. And upset quite a few powerful people.
Now, Passover is on the horizon. Another occasion where Jews were to assemble in Jerusalem. Would He go?