Friday, February 06, 2009

For the Love of My Country

I find it amazing, and disturbing, that there are those, in Congress and the Senate who are stalling an emergency stimulus bill, just because they can. In our family, we are okay. We can make our suddenly doubled house payment, and deal with the price of food, which has tripled. All of us have a health plan with prescription benefits, and each of us has an income, which enables us to live very well. We’re not independently wealthy. We work. We have educations. And those of us who are not retired, as I am, have jobs.

My daughters’ education was financed from loans, grants, and scholarships. Since both are disabled, neither on Medicare or Medicaid, they were given assistance by the Department of Disabilities in our state. They received medical assistance through the Free Clinic, Health Department, and the University where they attended. Their prescriptions were provided, for six years, by patient assistance programs from the drug companies who designed the medications.

They were blessed, and they still are. Although we voted straight Republican in 2000 and 2004, my daughters were given the help they needed – a hand up, if you will – by a Democratic Governor and a Democratic Congressman. Why? Why are the Democrats concerned with jobs and education, and Republicans are concerned with tax-breaks for the Oil Industry, for instance. We know what good friends they are, don’t we? It took us sliding toward another Great Depression for the price at the pump to go down.

I know there are those who come equipped with tunnel vision from the womb. I was related to them. Perhaps I was even one of those people once. But things are different, now. Just as I enlisted in the Navy, during the Vietnam War, my Country needs me now, too. I must look at the needs of my fellow citizens, as well as my own. I must put my Country first.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those whom we elect simply served their Country? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they were not self-serving? I believe that is the difference with President Obama. He is putting our Country and our people first. Yes, he is irascible. Yes, he seems angry. Heck, I’m angry! But look at the people he is choosing – people with actual experience. People who disagree – with him!! Isn’t that what all reasonable people do? Don’t each of us realize – or shouldn’t we – that we don’t each have the answer, and everyone else is wrong??

As a Christian, when Jesus draws up sides, at the end of the age, and he separates the sheep (those who feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and comfort the afflicted) from the goats (those who did NOT do these things), I do not want to be on the side of the goats. Christ has told us that he doesn’t care about the show we may have displayed in Church. He doesn’t care if we warm the front pew, or we worship at home. He doesn’t care about how we wave our coat around and threaten others with hell. He cares about our hearts. And the only person who knows more about my heart than I do, is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Can I be less than He commanded me to be? I may be a home bound, semi-invalid. I may have diabetes, which has caused my eyesight to fail. I may have neurological diseases, asthma, and a host of other complications, but that doesn’t matter. Where is my heart? Do I honor my Father in heaven, who has admonished me, that He wants obedience, not sacrifice. Or do I honor man?

I think that this is what we are seeing in President Obama. He speaks freely of his desire to honor Jesus, by obedience to His Word. After all, Jesus said that there are two Great Commandments, which encompass all of the teachings of all of the prophets from the beginning to the end of this age. And they are simple: love God; love your neighbor. That is what is missing in the Republican Party, that I used to support.

Pride is not love, and power must not forsake the least among us. After all, the Savior, who redeemed me, washed His disciple’s feet, and He called Himself “the least of these.” As my mother used to say, “if you give, and your heart is not in it, then you have missed Jesus.” I don’t ever want to miss Jesus.

Poor in spirit, as I am; sinful though I may be; unthankful, though I am, for the blessings I have received; I still know this: giving is not getting, sacrifice is not obedience, and the same Father who knows, intimately, the heart of the sparrow, knows my heart as well. My neighbor who lost her job matters. My neighbor, whose “house for sale” signs frames our corner, matters. The families who have no food, and the food banks who cannot feed them, matter.

The child who needs medicine, the parent who needs them to eat, the businesses that have closed – those small businesses that Republicans say they are fighting for – they matter. The predatory lenders, who will loan you money, on your car, or your next paycheck, if you have one; and who also charge you “loan shark” interest rates, are NOT the small businesses I’m talking about.

Wake-up, Congress! Wake-up, Senate! Wake-up Republicans! Do you think your constituency will send you back to Washington in two years or six? Abraham Lincoln was a Republican! Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican! What have you done?!!

Forgive me, friends. I see much mud in the waters. I see that we Christians have forgotten our first Love. Gandhi once said, “if Christians started acting like Jesus, all of India would come to the Cross.”

Father in heaven, I seek not to disturb those who read this, as though we Christians are better than anyone. I see the good in all who seek to give that cup of water to your little ones. I see, my Lord Christ, how much You love, the least of these. Help me now, to cast away my sins, and to turn away from the things of this world. Help me to understand that you have raised up all leaders (as you have said in Your Word), and, please Father, bless and protect our President, who seeks to serve Your least of these.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Email Jaye