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Week 2 May 2023, Devotion Part 2

For he makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45

Matthew was equally brief when he described the inhabitants of God’s uniquely endowed planet as evil or good and just or unjust. The “global village” concept forbids such archaic labels. It names dove and hawk; vegan and carnivore; fitness buff and couch potato; Civil War enthusiast and Star Wars fan; ballet fancier and sports nut; conservative and bleeding-heart liberal; Farm Belt worker and Bible Belt churchgoer

What if the rain fails and the sun scorches a wide swath across a nation already reeling from unprecedented disasters? What if crops and cattle die while hurting citizens brood over their bleak future? What if a state’s decisive governor proclaims a Day of Prayer? Watch the evil and unjust unleash on her a hail storm of derision. Will they watch as the rest attach themselves to the despairing populace and, as gifts of God, join fervently in their petitions for showers of mercy? In Matthew’s day umbrellas did not exist. If we explained … he might ask if we plan to take them to our urgently convened prayer vigils in case of a prolonged California drought. (Part 2 of 2)

Comment: Oddly, I don’t remember what year and which state’s governor decreed that controversial Day of Prayer, but I have instant recall of the one proclaimed by General George S. Patton. Nicknamed “Old Blood and Guts,” he became one the most famous military commanders during World War II. My parents, daily glued to the radio for war news out of Washington, must have heard of his heroism, but wouldn’t have known what set him apart in his private life.. I learned much from published biographical material. California-born Patton was a student of the Bible and lover of the story of Gideon in particular. At war’s end in May 1945, I was a kid of ten, living in a Swiss village only a stone’s throw away from both the Austrian and German borders. We witnessed the sights and sounds from nightly bombings, were briefly shelled by confused French allies, while the crashlanding of a B-17 nearby was used by the Lord to make me want to come to America. General Eisenhower had profited from improved weather for the successful Normandy invasion in June 1944. So, in mid-December 1944, Patton called his Third Army Chaplain and his deputy chief of staff into his office in Third Headquarters, and said, “I want you to publish a prayer for good weather. I’m tired of these soldiers having to fight mud and floods as well as Germans…” Chaplain: “Yes, Sir. May I say, General, that it usually isn’t a customary thing among men of my profession to pray for clear weather to kill fellow men.” General Patton: “Chaplain, are you trying to teach me theology or are you the Chaplain of the Third Army?” The prayer was written and distributed to the troops along with Christmas greetings from him. God miraculously dried up the rain and Patton and his men took the last French town that stood in the way to the German region in which the Nazi armaments industry had been concentrated. Matthew 5


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