Monday, September 24, 2012

Daily Office Reflection: Fairness

Lake Calhoun, 2012
Psalms 80 * 77 (79); Esther 4:4-17 or Judith 7:1-7,19-32; Acts 18:1-11; Luke 1:1-4,3:1-14

I decided to take some time off from this blog, kind of like a vacation, but more like a time of discernment, wondering and praying about the purpose of these reflections on the Daily Office I have been posting these past number of years. 

I have not come to any dramatic decisions in the last six weeks. I have missed this time of sitting with readings from the D.O. and jotting down stray thoughts that are stirred up in my by having read them. I found that the readings did not stay with me as long during the day, as they do when I have spent the short amount of time it takes to write one of these posts....and so, I begin again, hoping to throw thoughts to the wind of the web, with the prayer that the Holy Spirit do something with them for the benefit of her purposes. Perhaps her only purpose is to allow me to have these texts stay with me longer during the hubbub of the day, and that is sufficient. 

The adult John the Baptist is introduced to us in the Gospel of Luke today. After we read the heady prologue, John the B appears, threatening dire consequences as usual, droves come to be baptized, and many ask "but what (in all practicality) should we do differently in our lives?" He says:

  • (to the tax collector) Collect no more than the amount prescribed to you.
  • (to the soldier) Do not extort money from anyone by threats of false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.
  • (to the crowds) Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none, and whoever has food must do likewise.
Simple acts of kindness. Plain and ordinary fairness. Treatment of those who are less fortunate, down on their luck, mistreated by society, with generosity. A clear-eyed self-evaluation of what we actually need in life, and what is, quite simply, unnecessary fluff.

Such direct and simple steps we all could take that would make the world so different, such a better place. There are times when those steps can be felt as "useless"..."the problems are too big, why bother"...The bigger picture is important to keep in mind...but paying attention to the context in which we are blessed to be placed and doing something for those with whom we live can and does make a difference.

A good question to reflect on today: "how can I live into these instructions of John the B, to have a more clear-eyed understanding of fairness in the bubble of the world in which I presently roll around?"

Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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