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June 19, 2006
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· Pro Deo et Patria — Father-Called, Father-Sent ·
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,
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.
Yes, but it's regretable, too, our senior policy makers nowadays look after so few children but their own.
But that's an old story — here suggested in the historic calling and sending of Isaiah and, too, at root, in impiety in the original sense and meaning of one's "unclean lips."
I addressed that matter once in Substantively Speaking: All That's Unfit to Print.
"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.
"Ditto, Ditto, Ditto." "Freedom, Freedom, Freedom." "Amen. Amen. Amen."
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