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· Pro Deo et Patria — Father-Called, Father-Sent ·

Father's Day was for me a happy one, with my school year ended and summer in view. Though I'd saved some papers for noon reading on the deck, finals were behind me and a dinner in prospect with Smart and Soulful who, thankful for their blessings here, sat with Stylish and me in church Sunday. We were all happy.

But we were mindful, too, of less happy families. For Tony, a U. S. Navy Lieutenant, and his wife Natalie — with their children Gabrielle, Hayden, and Hudson — are soon facing a sad separation. Dressed Sunday in his parade whites, Tony is being sent to Iraq Wednesday.

I can't begin to describe the service, which honored members graduating and others leaving for building work in Mexico, but pastor's words for Sunday were profound: "transition" and "confidence." What struck me more, however — since Tony had ended his talk to us by saying, "Here I am" — came in a bible reading of some weeks before from the prophet Isaiah,

Chapter 6

1In the year that King Uzziah died, I beheld my Lord seated on a high and lofty throne; and the skirts of His robe filled the Temple. 2Seraphs stood in attendance on Him. Each of them had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his legs, and with two he would fly.

3And one would call to the other
"Holy, holy, holy!
The Lord of Hosts!
His presence fills all the earth!"

4The doorposts would shake at the sound of the one who called, and the House kept filling with smoke. 5I cried,

"Woe is me; I am lost!
For I am a man of unclean lips
And I live among a people
Of unclean lips;
Yet my own eyes have beheld
The King LORD of Hosts."

6Then one of the seraphs flew over to me with a live coal, which he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7He touched it to my lips and declared,

"Now that this has touched your lips,
Your guilt shall depart
and your sin be purged away."

8Then I heard the voice of my Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I; send me." Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures, The Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, Jerusalem, 1985: 629.

You'll appreciate that Tony stressed that, regardless of our views on Iraq, our larger duties to God and country transcend personal, merely private claims. It is good we remember that, while we pray for fathers everywhere separated by the sad scourge of war.

 Permalink



Thought-provoking, but ultimately troubling, Styles. Yes, our duties to God and country may transcend, but — it seems to me — a man's first duty extends to his children.

Whatever happened to the American military tradition of not sending fathers abroad? Hundreds of thousands of young men were exempted from duty in Vietnam, and rightly so, because they had children to support. What has happened to our values? How sad that, on this Father's Day, your young friend must begin to say goodbye to his children. I pray for his safe return.

Posted by Loretta Markle on June 23, 2006 10:51 AM
Posted by Styles on June 28, 2006 11:01 PM

"Quados, Quados, Quados." "Hagios, Hagious, Hagious." "Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus."

Father, here I am.

Glory and light, beauty and love — I am filled with the presence of God being pure truth. The pure truth of war, delivered by the untruth of our senior policy makers, is propagated by their unclean lips. So it was with Isaiah. His lips were touched by the angel. Then God did speak.

"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth" (Psalm 119:103).

What would He say today? Would He reassure Tony's family, allowing Tony's safe return to his biological duty of fatherhood?

God's presence delivers the truth about ourselves. We need to realize that we have "all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Out of the abundance of our hearts and making our mouths speak, we strive to practice the presence of God, acknowledge the presence of God, and allow room for the presence of God. Clean lips speak later. Clean lips wait for the touch of God.

We are surrounded by "restless evil, full of deadly poison" (James 3:8). Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks; the "lips" that proclaim are sometimes contaminated. The contanimation of war is poison to families on both sides. Both sides have Fathers.

Take me too.

Posted by Elipzee Moizelle on July 3, 2006 09:49 PM

"Ditto, Ditto, Ditto." "Freedom, Freedom, Freedom." "Amen. Amen. Amen."

Posted by Styles on July 4, 2006 10:48 PM


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