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Augustine weeps, “Thou didst touch me, and I burned for thy peace

by davesandel on August 28th, 2021

Saturday, August 28, 2021                             (today’s lectionary)

Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Augustine weeps, “Thou didst touch me, and I burned for thy peace

Outside my Urbana window the crickets are whistling Dixie, oh I wish I was in the land of cotton, old times there … and listening to them I long again to close my eyes, even though I’ve only just awakened from an hour’s nap. The day’s work is nearly done, I’ll be leaving Illinois soon and returning to the warmth of Texas in late August, and the crickets sing, the crickets sing.

You yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.

Here, and there, so many friendly people roam the world I live in. I guess if I’m friendly and welcoming, people I meet will respond in kind, right? Yesterday after a heavy rain I pulled into our driveway and a young pregnant girl stood under on the front stoop, trying to protect her two young daughters with their beautifully braided hair, from the rain, which by then had mostly stopped.

“Are you the Uber driver?” she asked when I rolled down my window. “Nope.”

She got on her phone. The Uber car was in the next door driveway. I got out and smiled. “I hope she’s a girl. That way there will be four of you.” She smiled, bright white teeth. “It is,” she said. She said, “I was afraid whoever was inside would get scared about me being out here.”

“Oh, no, that’s the only place you had to hide from all that rain.” She looked gratefully at me, and whisked her family away to the nice white car which took her family home.

We urge you, brothers and sisters, to progress even more, and to aspire to live a tranquil life, mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you.

Later, Marc came by and trimmed the hedge. As I finished my appointments, he was carrying huge armfuls of greenery to the back yard. This was not just a light haircut; in spots he cut two feet off the hedge which has been growing here since long before we came here in 1989. I thanked him. “I don’t have to be at work till 5,” he said. He works so much harder than I sometimes expect, and he always does what he says he’ll do.

The servant who the master had given five talents came forward bringing an additional five. And his master said, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

That phrase has become one of my favorite Christian compliments, and I’m certainly not alone. We say that to each other often when we’re impressed. But Jesus goes on.

Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.

Later in the story another servant speaks to Jesus, telling him he did nothing with the gift he was given except bury it. The servant is angry and casts him out.

Although I often go too far, there must be joy in heaven when I move out from whatever safe place I’ve found in the rain and take a chance or two, see if something good will happen. Just to say hello, just to offer aid and rescue in the rain can open my heart and yours into a world of generosity.

“Come,” says Jesus. “Come and share your master’s joy.”

The crickets auger early evening. I’m quiet in my house, probably staying put till bedtime. Tomorrow is another chance to move a little, watch for what there is to see, help someone somewhere and be helped myself, and feel the friendships of human creatures just like me.

(1 Thessalonians 4, Psalm 98, John 13, Matthew 25)

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