I Can’t Stand for This

Reflecting on the NFL players’ boycott of the National Anthem

Yes, I know it’s an issue that currently divides our country.
But I just can’t stand by and not speak up.
I can’t stand seeing the American flag disrespected.
It is a banner for which our soldiers, airmen and seamen
have fought risking their lives (and often paying with their blood)
in order to protect our liberties.

My dad, who proudly served our country in World War 2,
stood a little taller every time
the star-spangle banner passed by or was played.
He taught me it was much more than a tri-colored piece of cloth.
Our flag is an heirloom fabric we have inherited
that calls to mind our family history warts and all.

It is a symbol of the freedoms we have enjoyed
for nearly a quarter of a millennium.
It’s a colorful reminder that we can’t stand for anything less
than equal opportunity for anyone who voices their loyalty to it.
That grand old flag reminds us of our common commitment
to become one nation under God
while guaranteeing liberty and justice for all.

We’d best remember that what paints the breeze
is not a celebration of what is, but a promise of what can be.
When we stand to pledge allegiance to our flag
(or to sing an anthem in its honor),
we are saluting our past.
But we are also committing ourselves anew
to do our part in bringing about the dream f
or which all of us long.

All the same, those who choose to kneel when others stand
should not be maligned or denigrated as reprobates.
I respect them.
The freedom they exercise to take a stand (by kneeling)
is one of the key freedoms our flag symbolizes.

And don’t get me wrong.
I’ve been known for taking a knee
when I feel the need to protest what isn’t right in my world or in my life.
In fact, I do it all the time.
It’s called prayer.

The Missing Message in Dunkirk

What would make a good movie great

Go see Dunkirk (the movie).
It’s an epic. And yet.
I left feeling bothered.
I had a regret.

The drama of history
(small boats from the west)
was not front and center.
Just background at best.

And George was forgotten.
The King’s call to prayer
was not even mentioned.
A blunderous error.

Do you know what happened
in Dunkirk that day?
Defeat was averted
because Britain prayed.

All England responded.
They called out to God.
And the clear English Channel
was draped in thick fog.

Hitler’s bombers were grounded.
George’s small boats were free
to bring back the stranded
across the dark sea.

‘Twas simply astounding.
The Brits were amazed.
The Germans were thwarted.
And God’s name was praised.

May we learn this lesson
and seek God through prayer.
He’s sovereign in history.
He rules everywhere.

Gone with the Wind

Praying for Irma’s victims

Hurricanes bring wind and rain
regardless of their dreaded name.
They bring destruction, death and doom.
They bring us to our knees.

They bring reminders of the past
when warnings proved the dye was cast
and all that could be done was done
and all was not enough.

They bring to mind how weak we are
compared to what can lift a car.
They bring a chilling wave of fear
that knocks us off our feet.

Beside a name each has a face
that haunts the victims that they chase.
It is the face of heartless rage
that glares defiantly.

And when the winds have had their say
and we are left to weep and pray,
may we find words to voice our pain
for those who’ve been displaced.

O God, sustain the ones who grieve
for loved ones lost and homes they leave.
Restore their faith. Renew their hope.
Revive their hearts with love.

Remembering Mother Teresa

Republishing what I wrote twenty years ago

There are tears for Teresa today.
Strangely, she was a mother
who never bore a child of her own,
but who carried children of all ages in her heart.
The smallest of the small,
Teresa bore the suffering of the poorest of the poor
as though it was her own.

In gutters of human waste, she gave her life away.
In so giving, she offered life to those dying to be loved.
For Teresa time with people was never wasted.
She hastened to remind us that in each face
(no matter how diseased or despised)
one could see the eyes of Jesus.
And isn’t it ironic that while the world grieves the untimely passing
of the people’s princess (a queen of beauty),
Heaven celebrates Teresa’s full life of duty to the Father.

It was a duty to which Mother surrendered humbly, gladly.
It is a duty to which we, too, are called.
To preach the Gospel to the poor.
To heal the brokenhearted.
To proclaim deliverance to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind.
To set at liberty those who are oppressed.

And to that end we join arms with Sisters of Charity around the world
to embrace Teresa’s memory and to emulate her example
for Jesus’ sake and for the sake of those for whom He died.

Remembering the People’s Princess

Celebrating the legacy of Lady Di twenty years later

The people’s princess won our hearts
and then she lost her life.
Two decades later we are still in grief.
Diana left us late one night
and didn’t say goodbye.
Her reign within our world was way too brief.

Her beauty went beyond her looks.
It showed in what she did.
She was the face of loveliness and peace.
Her efforts on behalf of those
who struggle to survive
are paying dividends. They’ll never cease.

And now as we recall the news
that took our breath away,
we can’t help wondering what might have been.
How proudly Di would celebrate
the little boys she loved
who shared their mothers grace becoming men.

How tenderly she would have held
the kids of Will and Kate.
How caringly she would have watched them grow.
The people’s princess would still be
the person that she was.
A living legacy as time will show.

Peace to her memory!