ISSUES OF FAITH: Remember to bring God with you this summer

MEMORIAL DAY 2019 has come and gone.

It is a day we don’t recognize quite enough.

I think a whole lot of us see it as a three-day weekend coming into summer.

If we have kids at home then we are usually wrapping up so many things school-wise that we just appreciate maybe a little respite before the final days of school and the onset of summer.

I go through periods where I read a few books on a particular subject (gifts from family, usually) and this spring it was military history.

First-person stories, not academic books.

In my experience, history is one of those subjects that either one really likes, or one doesn’t care for at all.

I have two sisters that really don’t care at all, so I’m not sure where I got the bug, but I definitely have it.

If you’re looking for riveting reading, human stories, a summer book where you will learn and feel the struggles of the average guy as he tries to stay alive, try “With the Old Breed”by E.B. Sledge, “Guadalcanal Diary”by Richard Tregaskis, “All the Gallant Men,” by Donald Stratton and “Goodbye Darkness” by William Manchester.

My favorite historical fiction of the past decade has been “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr.

I watched the Memorial Day special on PBS from the nation’s capital and I have to say we take for granted so many of the freedoms we have in our country.

I served in the Marine Corps because I felt it was a duty, but really it was an honor.

Semper Fi.

Summer plans

What are you going to do this summer?

I don’t want to sound corny, but I remember like it was last week shoveling all the snow off our walkways and deck. Epic snow.

Will we have that again in our lifetime?

God only knows, truly.

I see the church as a bit more sparse as the days get longer and the sun comes out.

God, if I need to point out, is not a September-through-May God.

He doesn’t go on vacation.

He created Yellowstone and the Oregon Coast and Chesapeake Bay and the Grand Canyon because God understands beauty — which is supposed to remind us of God.

It should at least.

If you are Catholic, one of the joys of traveling is that there is always a Catholic Church in the vicinity.

Downtown Las Vegas, check.

Disneyland, check.

Rockaway Beach, Ore., check.

Take God with you; say a prayer after you buckle up in the car; pray for safety, pray that you allow the Holy Spirit to guide you.

I hold a small rosary in my hand much of the day to just remind me that God is everywhere.

Believe me, this does not detract from the trip, it makes it more beautiful.

The first martyr

Who was the first biblical martyr?

If you said Stephen, you are correct.

Why was he killed?

The people “could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke” Acts 6:10.

I love the verse a bit later, which states, “All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.”

We know that Stephen was filled with “grace and power,” and this is a gift open to all of us.

Stephen spoke the truth of Christ and was martyred; he must have known he would die for the words he spoke in that place and time, and yet, he had the face of an angel.

Think about that.

Thoughts on politics

The political season is heating up, and who welcomes this?

Personally, I have a very hard time with the flip-floppers and love this quote from Abraham Lincoln: “Be sure you put your feet in the right place. Then stand firm.”

Be a Stephen, not a Judas.

This applies to each and every one of us. Moms, Dads, everyone.

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Mike Acheson is director of religious education at Queen of Angels Roman Catholic Church in Port Angeles and St. Joseph Parish in Sequim. His email is mikea@olypen.com.

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