Road Trip Detours

I don’t know about you, but when taking a road trip, I occasionally end up detouring. Sometimes the detour is forced because of construction, inclement weather, or a bad accident. Other times, a wrong turn or taking the wrong exit off a highway causes the detour. There are times a detour is intentional. I need to use a bathroom, find a safe place to rest or the place by which I am driving looks inviting and interesting, and I am not in a hurry.
Whatever the reason, depending on the weather, the time of day, and location, detours offer opportunities for exploring. There is always something new to experience or to see something old presented differently.
Without exception, people in small towns and rural communities capture my interest. My presence captivates their attention. People stare shyly at me; children usually do so openly. Most teens and young adults make eye contact and politely greet me, or they completely ignore me. Eventually, if I’m there long enough, I exchange greetings with an older person who usually asks one of three questions. “What you doing in these parts?” “Where you from?” “Where you headed.”
I answer the question, and a conversation ensues. Either the person with whom I’m speaking or a passerby recommends a local place for me to eat and points out a venue of which they are particularly proud, or one the person thinks I will find meaningful.
I thank them, and when time permits, I follow their recommendations. Wherever I end up eating, the establishment serves a heaping large enough to feed two or three people. Typically, the food is terrible, but the service is great.
When a detour becomes more than a brief departure from the planned course and turns into a day trip or a weekend getaway, I leave with a meaningful and memorable experience.
Thank God for road trips and for some detours!

Life’s Enhancers

Beginnings
engaging literature, entertaining films, meaningful melodious music, and live theatre
parks and other open spaces
long days of sunlight
warm weather
the vibrant diversity of nature
people of goodwill
kindhearted people
opportunities for growth
time to relax and enjoy the adventures of living and the gift of life
the ability to seek, find, and bask in silver linings
reconciliation, redemption, and restoration
the Internet and social media
the marvels of modern medicine
happiness, harmony, hope, and humor
the will to keep getting up, cleaning up, and moving forward and up
the resources needed to tackle and overcome obstacles
life’s unexpected detours and rest stops
Endings!

 

For Those Adversely Affected by War

Almighty God unto whom all hearts and minds are open and from whom nothing is hidden, we pray that You will comfort and deliver the innocent and convict the conscious of the perpetrators of violence.

Help those living in and near war-torn countries. Our human limitations hinder us from personally bringing about immediate relief for them. So we ask you to intercede.

We pray for the children who long to play outdoors but can’t because of the dangers of war.

We pray for the children who see sparks from ammunition and huddle in fear instead of gleefully rejoicing at watching a planned fireworks display.

We pray for the children who long to go to school to mingle with classmates and to learn, but can’t because of the destruction caused by war.

We pray for relief for them from the shortages of clean drinking water and food; the lack of indoor plumbing and lack of electricity;  dismantled transportation systems, and a collapsed economy; men are without meaningful work.

We pray for them because of the losses that are consequences of war: loss of life, loss of liberty, loss of peace, in some cases, the loss of hope.

We pray for the people whose lifestyles are completely disrupted and forever changed for the worse by war.

God, in Your mercy, hear our prayers and help Your creation.

Deliver us all from evil.

Remove from power those who recklessly declare war by the stroke of a pen or by word of mouth and send others to die fighting or to be killed. Such people are warmongers, unfit to rule. For they are like children playing war games at the expense of the lives of others.

Remove from power those who live in relative peace and comfort, but quickly declare war and deprive others of the privilege of pursuing the same luxuries.

God, have mercy upon Your creation and deliver us from evil.

Help us, Lord.

 

 

Insight into the Black American Experience

10 Terrible Things Likely to Happen because One is Black in America
• Stopped by a police officer because of the color of your skin and where you happen to be walking, driving, or sitting
• killed by law enforcement even though you are unarmed and non-threatening
• Killed while walking in public holding a bag of candy and a canned non-alcoholic drink
• Killed in your backyard holding a cell phone in your hand
• Shot laying on the ground with your hands in the air while trying to protect a non-Black autistic child from getting hurt
• Having the police called on you because some people are suspicious of your non-threatening black self
• Stopped by a police officer at a traffic light because you look suspicious,  you’re Black
• Killed for unlawfully selling cigarettes
• Arrested for asking to use a restroom
• Having a school official ask you to say the dehumanization of your ancestors was not all bad: they were just raped, considered less than human, sold on the auction block; forced to procreate; packed in ships like sardines in a tin can, lynched, tarred and feathered; falsely arrested, convicted, and incarcerated unjustly for years; branded

 

Bully in Chief or President of the United States

If the news report is accurate that “Donald Trump required staff to sign nondisclosure agreements that last past his presidency,” such an agreement is unconscionable. Donald Trump is a public figure, supposedly taking care of the business of the American people. He is to serve the common good – for all Americans – his staff and cabinet members are to facilitate him in caring out his responsibilities.

Someone, anyone, please inform this man of his public responsibility. Most of us are not concerned about Trump’s marital indiscretions. However, we do care that he seems to be using the Presidency to destroy democracy; divide the country; and to terrorize other citizens.

Donald Trump’s leadership style illustrates how tyrants are created. A person with  political and military might uses that power to attack perceived opponents. Good people and people of goodwill watch injustices and brutality take place. They watch the weak – those lacking political and social power – humiliated and their personal and professional reputations besmirched.  They observe the weak systematically beat down emotionally, financially, and professionally until they are destroyed or rescued.

Tyrants are bullies with a lot of power. They are no different than schoolyard bullies, cyber bullies, or physically fit men who terrorize women, the elderly and children. Nobody respects a bully, and I fear many have lost respect for Donald J. Trump. Some think of him as Bully In Chief, not president!

God, please help us individually and save America and our democracy!

10 Tips for Wholesome Living

1.      Do the right things for the right reasons. Trust God for a just outcome.

2.      Live the Golden Rule- “Treat others exactly the way you want God to treat you.”

3.      Sow seeds of encouragement, grace, and hope.

4.      Demonstrate respect for everyone.

5.      Give and receive generously.

6.      Affirm that which is good and just.

7.      Focus on developing spiritually.

8.      Seek to impress only God.

9.      Have faith in God – “The just shall live by faith not by sight.”

10.   Pray constantly and about everything.

A Christmas Eve Prayer

Dear God,

On this Christmas Eve we join your people everywhere thanking you for the blessing of Jesus’ birth. We thank you for the unlimited possibilities for hope, peace, joy, and love that Christ’s entry into the world provides.

We pray for all homeless and hungry people. Help those who have much to give generously to those who have little.
We pray for those living in and near war-torn countries. God, please stop warmongers and show them the error of their thinking. Prick their conscious so they will turn from war and adopt peaceful ways of settling conflict.
We pray for those adversely affected by natural disasters. We pray for those sick in body or mind. We pray for those who are lonely and brokenhearted.
We pray for neglected and abused children. Oh God, please move on their behalf.
We pray for the children shackled with the adult responsibility of raising siblings. Give them wisdom, and in your great mercy grant them the freedom to experience childhood. Send a responsible, caring adult to help them.
We pray for outcasts and underdogs. Comfort them and strengthen their resolve to keep going. Also, remind them that you care and that they have inherent value because you created them in your magnificent image.
We pray for deliverance for those struggling with addiction.

Help us live lives that glorify you by our work ethic and the way we interact with others.
In your mercy hear our prayers and bless us all.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.