As the news stories come in about the fires raging in California, our prayers are with the people that have lost all that they have: their homes, their businesses, their possessions and their lives. We remember those that have fled to a safer place. Many times they evacuated through flames on either side of the road and heavy smoke blinding the path in front of them. Lord, have mercy on our neighbors in California.
As people run away from the danger, there are men and women running into it. Courageous firefighters have worked endlessly to try to control the violent flames that can change direction in a moment’s notice. The picture here is of firefighters that are resting after working a twenty-four hour shift. One can only image how extremely exhausted they must be to just collapse on the hard ground in order to recover from their fatigue. Because not everyone is made for such mental and physical labor, fighting fires is a true calling.
This weekend we celebrated Veterans’ Day. This is a day to remember and lift up those in our armed forces who have tirelessly fought for our freedom and human rights. Like the firefighters who work until they can no longer stand and then collapse just to get a few moments of rest before heading back into the dangers of their job, the men and women of our armed forces work diligently and unselfishly to protect us as well. Through their work Christ is being revealed to those that they protect. Their struggles point to the ultimate sacrifices of our Lord and savior.
Jesus Christ came into this world and revealed to us the nature of God through several aspects of his life. Jesus is our good shepherd that comes with a rod and staff not to punish but to protect. Jesus is our protector when life gets rough. Jesus runs after us when we leave the safety and protection of the flock and wander away into dangerous territory. Jesus also took on the cross for the benefit of all of us. Jesus spent years journeying towards the cross--towards pain and death-- so that we could experience salvation. It is through the heroic acts of everyday people that we are reminded that Jesus is our protector and savior.
Lord, we thank you for those that work for the well-being and safety of others. We praise you for calling men and women to safeguard us. Give strength and courage to those running towards that which most of us would avoid. We thank you for revealing yourself through their never ending work. AMEN.