Comment by Ken: I would especially appreciate your comments on this walk. We need to seriously talk about our society and its problems.
Scripture: Matthew 7: 24 – 27
24“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
Good morning I hope you are ready to take a walk with me. Our weather is not like yesterday when we had a taste of early spring; today it is thirty- five degrees and that really feels chilly after a warm day.
How are you? Have you had a good week so far? Rather difficult to have a week that is good with all that takes place in our society in recent times. There are two topics that I wish to share with you: one of them is the shooting that took place in Parkland, Florida, and the other is the passing of a beloved pastor, Billy Graham. It is important to me that when we walk together that we open ourselves to the present day. Now that I am in my eighties there are times when I just wish to shut out the news of the day. Sometimes I ask myself why I listen to the broadcasters on television in the morning for all news is about evil happenings and seems to be political and slanted.
There was an editorial on WBZ radio in Boston by John Keller who made the comment that our society was in danger with the bankruptcy that threatens many of our newspapers. Our newspapers have had some outstanding reporters who were objective and who jeopardized themselves by reporting news that was true and needed to be reported to the public. One of those newspapers was The Christian Science Monitor. That was a paper that attempted to be objective and not a political agency. It attempted to inform the public of true factual news. Mary Baker Eddy said that newspaper should “injure no man, but to bless all mankind.” “Its aim was to embrace the human family, shedding light with the conviction that understanding the world’s problems and possibilities move us toward solutions.”
We need that kind of newspaper reporting not news that is made up on the Internet and disseminated as truth. One always needs to remember that what is on the Internet is many times not verified information. So on our walks as we talk about society’s problems, we need to seek what is true and what is false.
It is true that another horrific “gun event” has taken place in a Florida school. It is true that a nineteen year old should not be able to purchase an assault weapon. As one person on the news stated, “ There is something wrong when a nineteen year old cannot buy a beer in Florida but can buy an assault weapon.” It is true that we need to make sure those weapons do not fall into the hands of mentally immature or mentally ill people. It is true that those in our society who have emotional and destructive mental problems should be helped and, if necessary, institutionalized to prevent tragic events.
You must remember that thirteen years ago I had to deal with this problem with my son who became emotionally ill. With help from his two brothers, I attempted to have the court allow us to put him in a hospital. Because he had certain rights, we could not do so according to the court even though the judge himself witnessed the emotional changes in my son for he had appeared several times as an fine attorney before that same judge. What is a family supposed to do when they witness mental illness take hold of a person, and they cannot get legal help to protect an ill person or protect society? Families need help when they recognize a radical change in the behavior of a child or a member of their family and that help is allusive. Laws need to change, and the mental health of our children in our schools and homes must become a priority. Do you think it easy for a father to speak of a lost child and ask for help and change in society? My heart aches for those in Florida who have lost their children and for a young person who was so mentally ill and was never treated when his illness had been obvious to many just as that illness became obvious with my son. I rejoice that the young people are speaking out, and I rejoice that an unpopular president had the courage to meet with the families who had suffered such a devastating event. It is time for government to make some serious changes in gun laws and mental health issues. We all know that.
Billy Graham, there was only one Billy Graham. Like the Billy Sunday my parents once admired, Billy Graham was a great influence on the people of our nation. He was not afraid to preach that a Savior had been given to us by God, the Father. He was not afraid to speak of our sins and how our sins can be forgiven by a loving God. He was not afraid to use technology to preach the Gospel of Christ to millions of people. He was a man who did not set himself up as one without sin or the need for forgiveness. Billy Graham changed the lives of so many just like the multitudes of people that were changed in Israel by the love of Jesus in His day.
In spite of his fame and his influence, Billy Graham remained a humble servant of Jesus Christ. It is said he will be buried in a pine casket made by a prisoner. The only way he would allow construction of a library that was set up in his memory was to have it be a place where there could be a continuing ministry of his Lord. He was what my old pastor charged me to be at my ordination: “ a good minister of Jesus Christ.” And Billy Graham was the best. He never lost an opportunity to speak of the saving grace of Jesus. I hope I have been successful in that same in that mission.
A Christian is called upon to speak of the message of our loving Savior. It is the responsibility of a good follower of Jesus to wish to convince their neighbor that they too should be a Christian. It is the undying belief of the Christian that if we truly lived by the words of Jesus and His teachings, our world would become a beautiful, peaceful world. The Sermon on the Mount in the Book of Matthew states what a Christian is supposed to be, and if we all lived by those teachings, our society would be transformed. Those teachings are eternal and those teachings of love of our neighbor and love of God would have prevented the deaths of those who lost their lives in Florida. So yes, I would try to convert the world to the teachings of Jesus as did Billy Graham, but I also know as he knew, you cannot not pass on those teachings of love through force or threat for then you are no longer a believing Christian.
Are we practicing Christians? Are we believers in the teachings of Jesus? Do we believe that those teachings can change the world? Then let’s renew our faith during this time of Lent. Let those who are hurt and suffering and those who need help in this journey of life that we are there to help, love them, and lift them to a peace that passes all understanding.
You think this walk has been a lecture? I hope not. I hope it is a walk that leads many back to their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His teachings.
Prayer: Dear God forgive us our sins and our wrong doings. Help us to see the way of salvation and redemption is by living by the words of our Lord. We pray for the school children and their families and ask that we become vocal with our young people to change the laws that govern the use of guns and the laws that are needed to recognize and help those with mental illness. We thank you for the blessing and the example of the life of Billy Graham. Guide us always through our daily lives; asked in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.