(For more information about Danny McGee
and the upcoming prayer vigil go to www.prayfordanny.com.)
Sometimes things happen all around us that are important and that are moments for God to teach us something about ourselves and about him that we miss all too easily. This has been one of those moments.
On August 12th, 2010 a man, a father, a beloved and valued creation of God went missing from our community. It was in the newspaper, on the news, and was discussed in town. Few people did anything. You see, Danny wasn't perfect. In fact Danny had made some mistakes and some poor choices in his life.
But the truth is none of that matters. Not if we believe in the Gospel.
You see this is what I am learning from Danny McGee...
(1) God views us all as his precious and valuable children. If we claim to love God we certainly better do the same.
(2) Paul wasn't kidding when he told us to "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." (Romans 12:15, TNIV)
(3) I am convinced that Jesus finds Danny and his family to be important. The fact that he died for them (and for you and I) makes that crystal clear. He is well known as being the one who left the 99 to look for the 1. In this situation, you and I are not the one.
God doesn't just want us to be people who think that the things happening around us are tragic or lamentable. In fact, it is much more than that.
If we believe in a God who became flesh, lived a sinless life, was murdered on a cross and three days later rose from the dead then disgust or apathy or "praying about it" just won't do. Because of what Jesus has done new life is possible. Hope is renewed day by day by day.
Listen to the (haunting) words of James, the brother of Jesus:
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if people claim to have faith but have no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
James 2:14-17, TNIV
SO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?
Thanks to my brother Jonathan Hanegan for bringing this great prayer from Aquinas to mind.
O Lord my God,
help me to be obedient without reserve,
poor without servility,
chaste without compromise,
humble without pretense,
joyful without depravity,
serious without affectation,
active without frivolty,
submissive without bitterness,
truthful without duplicity,
fruitful in good works without presumption,
quick to revive my neighbor without haughtiness,
and quick to edify others by word and example without simulation.
Grant me, O Lord, an ever-watchful heart that no alien thought can lure away from You;
a noble heart that no base love can sully;
an upright heart that no perverse intention can lead astray;
an invincible heart that no distress can overcome;
an unfettered heart that no impetuous desires can enchain.
O Lord my God, also bestow upon me understanding to know You,
zeal to seek You,
wisdom to find You,
a life that is pleasing to You,
and a hope that will one day take hold of You.
May I do penance here below and patiently bear your chastisements.
May I also receive the benefits of your grace,
in order to taste your heavenly joys and contemplate your glory.
- I am no longer my own, but thine.
- Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
- Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
- Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
- exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
- Let me be full, let me be empty.
- Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
- I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
- And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
- thou art mine, and I am thine.
- So be it.
- And the covenant which I have made on earth,
- let it be ratified in heaven.