G-49: June 30th, 1863… November 7, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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            Gettysburg          June 30th, 1863

Gettysburg
June 30th, 1863

Three prayers float their way up to the heavenly realm.

They are distinctly different, uniquely crafted by the speaker to adequately accentuate the piety of their position while simultaneously offering sufficient humility for the auspicious occasion.

Prayer 1

Our most sovereign God, we have just taken over this command of troops and are headed off into the Pennsylvania countryside. We are certainly without experience. We are vacant a master plan. So we come to You, seeking both wisdom and protection–wisdom for our frailty of mind, which causes us to dance between fear and an over-exaggerated sense of importance; and protection because the enemies set before us are much more adept at their craft and perhaps even more dedicated to their cause.

Our purposes for marching through these fields are diverse and perhaps for some of us, unknown. It is everything from duty, to mission, avoiding disobeying the common law, and even for some, seething anger.

We do not ask that you give us the day in battle, but please give us our daily bread, and may we be able to chew it, swallow it and accept it as our portion.

“We feel we are in the right, but as is often the case, we may learn the error of our ways. Amen.

Prayer 2

Eternal God who is Almighty in the Heavens, we come to you as the Army of Virginia, set out to right what is wrong and to preserve the glorious blessing of our heritage and beliefs. As cheated brothers, for a season we feel the need to pick up arms and right the injustice and regain the freedom to live among our constituency with integrity and with respect to that which we consider to be holy.

We know you have been with us as we have prevailed in battle, and we know you will be with us throughout this day as we once again set a path towards quickly ending the bloodshed and resume our lives with family and kin.

Here in Gettysburg, make our cannons accurate, our swords swift and our bullets straight. Even in our hearts, we have no animosity towards these individuals. They just stand in the way of our liberty.

Yet as you said in your Holy Book, there is a time to kill, and we respect that season by doing it to the best of our ability. Amen.

Prayer 3

Derz Jesus: Dey have plans to kills Marcus today. Lawd, he don’t do nothin’ but pick cotton slow. I’z wishin that Yous listen to me eben though I’m not worth more than the dirt I came from. Maybe, Lawd, if Iz talk to the Massa, he’s let me pick extra cotton to make up for Marcus. Gives me words. May the work that I done here speak, gon ahead of me, so when I ax for Marcus’s life, theys not be hangin him, but instead, he be comin home to his wife and three.

Iz so weak. I needs Youz, Lord. I needs to save my brother. Helps me before my mind goes to breakin apart. Helps me to keep from bein angry. Helps me to be a man, even though dose I talk to don’t believe I be one. Amen.”

Three prayers presented to God.

But only one was answered.

For you see, because the plantation owner was busy trying to gather provisions for the Rebel Army, it slipped his mind to kill Marcus.

The prayers that came from the two armies gathered to do battle were ignored. The combatants were left to their own devices, to slaughter one another at will.

God had stopped honoring nations, peoples, cultures and ideals.

He was looking for someone with great ideas, a heart for his fellow-man and a willingness to do something noble in a time of utter chaos.

 

 

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A Dying Breed … January 27, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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cottonShe passed by me without saying a word, heading for the door.  It had all the appearance of an exit. Suddenly she paused, turned on her heel and walked slowly back toward me.

She said, “I’m a dying breed. I was raised two counties over. My mama and daddy grew cotton, so we spent all of our time in the field, crawling on the ground and picking cotton, dragging huge sacks behind us to collect the fruits of our labor. It was so hot that I had to cool my feet in the shade of the plants, and sometimes the work day was eight to ten hours. We didn’t have much, but we always seemed to have enough.”

And then she just stopped talking.

I looked deep into her eyes. It was like bathing in a well of experience. I suppose some people would consider her rural, rustic or maybe even rugged. It isn’t really so. That’s just another example of how we make quick judgments because we’re too lazy to spend time with one another. I realized she was embarrassed with her own silence and would soon slip away, so I decided to ask her a question.

“What did you learn?”

She didn’t miss a beat. “I learned to take care of myself and to not ask too much of others.”

It was one of those simple, beautiful, profound answers, laced with so much experience that additional wording would have been cumbersome.

“I just wanted you to know my story. How I’m part of a dying breed. People today don’t understand and kids would have no idea. I enjoyed your show.”

She quietly turned, walked away and disappeared out the door.

I thought about her words. The truth is, I don’t take care of myself enough. Somewhere between silliness and believing in the abiding grace of God, I float along, thinking that each day is promised to me instead of a gift. Much to learn.

And even though I try hard to be a servant instead of a burden, there are still strides to be made in that arena, too.

I sat and thought for a moment.

  • Some people read the Good Book to find their inspiration, believing it to be the sole source of life and instruction.
  • Others stubbornly wait for God to give them a burning bush to illuminate their path.
  • I suppose there are even people who are praying for an angelic visit to grant them the insight to propel their heart’s desire.

Not me.

Since we’re all part of a breed that’s dying, the smartest thing we can do is listen, observe and believe in other members of the herd that come our way, and accept the beauty: that it’s a gift from God.

 

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