Monday, September 12, 2016

“God doesn't require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.” ― Mother Teresa (now St. Teresa)

     Watched an incredibly moving show yesterday, a movie called “All The Way” which was about President Lyndon Johnson from the assassination of John Kennedy in November of 1963 to Johnson’s election as President against Barry Goldwater in November of 1964.  It basically covered the major events in America from my nineteenth birthday to my a little after my twentieth.  I had forgotten much about that time although it was a very formative time in my life.  I knew Lyndon Johnson from the time he was a Senator from Texas and then the Senate Majority Leader.  I even had a letter from him outlining how he got his start in politics and advising me to work for change outside of the political arena.  I was a freshman in college at the time of the assassination of President Kennedy and had yet to meet the woman who would become my wife in 1965 (still is, by the way).  The movie reminded me of just how turbulent those times were.  I was an eager and energetic civil rights activist and came very close to being one of the college students helping to register black voters in Mississippi at a time when three of those young people were murdered and that story is in a movie called “Mississippi Burning” which I also recommend.  One of the things the movie “All The Way” made abundantly clear was just how difficult it was to change anything at those times (or ever) but change did happen, some very good and necessary changes.   I was young, naive, but cared so very much for others and for what I knew Christ had commanded—that we love our neighbors as ourselves.  There were many adults I had admired and respected as I grew up that I discovered hated and despised other people simply because of the color of their skin.  Sadly, there are still many, not just in America, but around the world who hate and despise those who do not look like themselves, speak like themselves, or act just as they do.  These people never bring peace or harmony but death and destruction.  The same feelings that fueled segregation in the U.S. were like those that led to the horrible events of 9/11.  We cannot heal wounds, help the helpless, bring peace to those at war, or feed those who are starving as long as we do not act on the words and actions of Christ who taught us and showed us how to forgive, how to love, and which people are truly our neighbors.  I may lose some readers over this blog, but I cannot still the tongue that Christ brought to life and called to a life of service to others.  We are all flawed, and many whom I still admire and respect have yet to learn to truly love others, but I still love them.  Christ never gave up on me—I’ll never give up on them, and it took a long time from those days of my youth when I was so sure of what was right until my forties when God calmed me down and woke me up to what I was to do with my life.  As long as you draw breath, you can always turn to those arms of love that are waiting for you, yearning for you, and ready whenever you finally realize that Christ’s way is the only way, that you may find your own heart “strangely warmed” and discover that peace that passes all understanding.  Yes, there is much in this world that needs to be changed and much that will be changed in time, but the only important change is the one that takes place in your heart.  Ask Christ to come into your heart and He will instantly respond, and you will know peace, love, and joy no matter whatever else may be troubling you.  Christ doesn’t guarantee you a trouble-free life, but He does guarantee you a life filled with love, hope, grace, and the strength to change those things that you can.  You don’t have to change the minds of your friends or the people on Facebook, but you do have to change the focus of your heart.  Turn to Christ and turn to the peace that will free you from hate and move you to love.

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