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West Texas blues

by davesandel on February 18th, 2021

Thursday, February 18, 2021 (today’s lectionary)

West Texas blues

Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. 

Colorado City is a small town in West Texas. Yesterday Mayor Tim Boyd wrote on his Facebook page, “ The town doesn’t owe you a thing. If you don’t have electricity you step up and come up with a game plan to keep your family warm and safe. If you have no water you deal with it and think outside of the box to survive and supply water to your family.”

Not exactly politically correct. And of course he wrote more than that. Since then he’s resigned and removed his facebook page, but at least of the 4000 residents sympathize with him. “He’s a good guy, just frustrated with the situation,” another town administrator said. The mayor had several requests to open city buildings with power and heat to the public. “I think he took that the wrong way, that they wanted him to buy motel rooms for them, but they just wanted somewhere to warm up.”

Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the land.

It must not be easy being a mayor. Whatever you do and whatever you say is criticized by someone. It wasn’t easy being Moses, it isn’t easy being a mom or dad … there’s not a single choice that couldn’t be made the other way, and there are usually at least a few people willing to quickly point that out. Having a moral bottom line matters more than most anything. “Choose life, then.”

Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

In hundreds of thousands of Austin homes today, patience is wearing thin after 48 or more hours without heat and electricity. The ice and snow are beginning to melt. The power plants will begin to catch up as they unfreeze, and the new water shortage will end. (Probably.) But it won’t be any easier next time. If I was in that mayor’s place, I like to think I’d be thick-skinned against complaints and sensitive to others’ needs at the same time. That I’d pray before I speak, that I’d “choose life, then.” But I know I would avoid being a mayor at most any cost. 

Blessed is the man who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night.

Most of the ancient mystics who were chosen to be bishops in the early Christian church resisted strenuously. Just having a quiet, peaceful relationship with God sounded a lot better to them, and it does to me too.

But of course that’s just a fairy tale, because God is everyone’s Father, and he will ask any and all of us to care for our brothers and sisters, his kids, anytime and anywhere. We are all in this together.

He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields it fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers.

(Deuteronomy 30, Psalm 1, Matthew 4, Luke 9)

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