Exodus 20: 1 – 17 The Ten Commandments – please find your Bible and read them again.
I’ve been watching Molly our here on our patio. It is a beautiful morning. The sun is bright and warm, yet there is a cool breeze – hardly the kind of day you would believe at the beginning of October. Behind our home is a rather steep hill; I call it Molly’s hill now for she loves to sit way up as far as her tether will allow her and survey her surroundings. She is so alert to life. She cocks her head to one side when she hears a strange noise, and her eyes are constantly focusing on what is taking place around her. She likes me nearby and that is why you find me here on the patio. If I go back into the house, she begins to bark and as she has grown a great deal since we brought her home, her bark is very loud and deep.
On our walks, I speak often of Molly because I spend a great deal of time with her. As she is a puppy, she needs exercise, and I find that difficult. Because I have difficulty walking and she is strong and full of vigor, many times I am just dragged along. It is far different now owning a large dog then when I had a Saint Bernard when I was a younger man. Molly needed some exercise this morning so I brought her out to run about.
As we were playing and I swooshed a rabbit toy in front of her, she raced to retrieve it. What I did not know, and she failed to notice was that there was a little stump, unseen, which caught her lead. She was running full steam when she was suddenly caught short and tumbled over herself. She let out a terrible painful, whimpering cry and my heart stopped. I was looking at her, and she was looking so confused at me, and she was holding her right paw in the air and not putting any weight upon it. I jumped up from my chair and ran to her feeling sick inside that she had been hurt. As I patted and comforted her, she put her head against my leg and looked up into my eyes. Worried, I felt her leg all over and she did not cry out in pain as I touched her. Immediately, I thought about need to visit a veterinarian, but then Molly began to place weight upon her paw and was soon moving about although with less energy. I thanked God, as I often do during the day, that she was all right. Look up there on the hill; you can see her walking about, and she is not limping.
Years ago when I was living in Westwood, Massachusetts, Bradford, my son had a rock fall on him from one of our stonewalls. He could not walk. In an hour, I was to officiate at a funeral at the church; I called our pediatrician and told him what had happened and how I had an important commitment in a short time. Imagine! He told me he would come to the house and check Bradford out. Bradford, like Molly did after she was injured, just immobilized his leg. I was so worried about him.
Into the house came wonderful Dr. Robb. He felt Bradford’s leg and spoke gently to him. He stopped crying and began to smile. Then Dr. Robb said, “Brad, can you run across the living room for me?” Brad took off in a fast run. He spoke kindly again to Brad, and Brad went off to play.
Then he told me that little children, when hurt, would totally immobilize a limb. He informed me that he would have a child unable to move an arm or a child clenching is or her fist. Caringly, he would speak to the child and then carefully would open that hand and find a small, tiny cut. Off went Dr. Robb to his office, off went Brad to play, and off I went to officiate at a funeral. When we see someone or a pet we love hurt and immobilized, we feel so sick and sad inside. The moment we saw the pictures of what took place in Las Vegas, we felt sick and sad inside, and we still do.
I did not wish to talk about this on our walk. I would like to just talk about the pine trees that are my cathedral, or the towering bush that reminds me of Jonah sitting under a plant for shade. I would rather talk to you about my carpentry, and how the construction of my study is coming along. My favorite flowers are in bloom – the tiny purple asters – or frost flowers, as my dad would call them. He would state two weeks after those wild frost flowers bloom comes a frost. I would have us flee to the beauty of nature to escape the sickness and sadness of so many lives, innocent lives being destroyed by a demented person. There will be talk about gun control again and better recognition of mental illness. We will debate again how to stop such heinous actions in the future, and in the end, we will still have our children watch violent movies, play violent games and think of human life as something different from their own living, thinking being.
Truthfully, violence should not have a place in our Christ centered homes. The Christian pictures Jesus as a peaceful loving man – kind and thoughtful and respectful of all life. When he witnesses people suffering, he is the first to be concerned and ready to reach out even when some criticize him for doing so.
We living in America have seen so much suffering recently. We have seen people lose their lives in two hurricanes, have witnessed a devastating earthquake in Mexico and now carnage in Las Vegas. We will cry out for laws to stop it, for legislation to prevent further killing, but it will never end until we have the courage, determination, and love to follow the way of Jesus Christ and to listen to the Ten Commandments. My beloved friends, we need to become practicing Christians again. We need to return to the church and to teach our children a beautiful, peaceful faith that abhors violence and killing. We need to become a people who respect life and see that we were created by God to love and be kind one to another. Upon our souls it should be imprinted emphatically that commandment, “ Thou shalt not murder or kill.”
I am sorry our walk had to be so serious on such a beautiful day. Yet on this beautiful day, there are so many sorrowing because we have not followed or taught the way of peace and love, the way of our Lord. Bring His message back into our lives and the incident of Las Vegas will be but an evil memory of the past and never to be repeated in the future.
Prayer: O good Lord, help us, help us to turn again to a faith that respects life, and help us end the seemingly endless cruelty of killing of the innocent. Guide us, renew us in our faith, and forgive us our foolish ways; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.