Sunday, October 30, 2016

God Bless America! by Laura L. Valenti

Many years ago on a float trip, I invited a friend, a local insurance agent, to church. He smiled and told me he already had a church but he didn’t go very often because it didn’t go well with his business. I wrinkled up my nose and said I didn’t understand.

“Well,” he said, “my church says my wife shouldn’t wear slacks but in the winter time in our office, she sits right in front of the door and it’s cold. She wears pants but she feels foolish when the pastor comes in so she doesn’t stand up. And if I meet a client for dinner and he wants to have a drink first, I’m not going to say ‘no’ because my church says I shouldn’t drink. So I have to leave my church outside the front door of my business.”

I remember at the time, feeling like, Man, what you need is a new church! Of course, being a younger, more cautious Christian back then and not wanting to offend him, I didn’t say so. I just smiled and moved on to a different subject but obviously, since that has been more than 30 years ago, the conversation struck a chord. I’ve thought of it many times and why my answer should have been, Friend, you need your church to go with you everywhere!

Our church, our set of beliefs, our faith in Jesus, needs to go with us wherever we go. We need Jesus right there beside us to remind us we are never alone. To celebrate and rejoice with us in the good times, to grieve and carry us through the bad times, and perhaps, most importantly, to guide us through the tough decisions. If you leave your church at the door of your business (or school, club, boss’ house, friends’ home, etc), who or what will help you with the really hard decisions? You know, the ones that will cost more, take longer, entail more explanations, but are the RIGHT thing to do! How will you know what is the RIGHT thing, when everyone else is saying something different, if you don’t have Jesus right there, sitting on your shoulder, whispering in your ear? You remember those cartoons from when we were little—there was a devil on one shoulder and an angel, perched on the other, each trying to gain the attention of the main character.

I found myself in that very position, years ago, when the new sheriff in town offered me the job of running the county jail. Every fiber of my being was screaming, No! No! and H#$% NO! Are you crazy? What do I know about running a jail? But that little voice was calmly whispering in my ear, ‘Just say, yes, Laura. You and I together will run this place. It will be fine.’ And so I said, yes, and for over three years, it worked. After I left the position, I saw the mother of one of my former inmates outside of the jail.  She shocked me when she said, “You know, when you were running that jail, you could feel it. There was a Christian presence in that place but after you left, it was gone.”

As we approach the end of this election season, I wonder, how many people will take their church, their beliefs with them inside that voting booth? With all the hype and rhetoric, yard signs and bumper stickers, will they leave their beliefs at the polling place door or will they courageously vote what they know is in line with what they profess each Sunday? Will they be able to look their Lord in the face one day and explain why they voted the way they did for new leadership of this country? We have often sung ‘God Bless America’ in our lifetime and I believe He has answered that plea many, many times over the past 240 years, from the Revolutionary War through the US Civil War and both World Wars. Will he continue to do so if we vote for leadership that does not even acknowledge him? God Bless America indeed!

 Laura L. Valenti, author
The Heart of the Spring,
The Heart of the Spring Lives On,
The Heart of the Spring Comes Home,
The Heart of the Spring Everlasting,
Between the Star and the Cross: The Choice, and
Between the Star and the Cross: The Election

We know that Jesus had 33 years Between the Star at his birth
And the Cross at his death. We each have a time between our
star and our cross. We just don’t know how long that might be.
The real question is “what will you do with yours?”  Blessings, LV