About once a year I like to share MY TALE from the Old (1965?) Mid-West, but just like any Clint Eastwood Western ie... The Good the Bad and the Ugly, or The Unforgiven.. this story of Justice with six-shooters blazing begs to be retold.
A while back a TV docudrama on the history of the American West. It was a time when Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, and Jesse James 'with theirsecond amendment rights intact' lived large in the tales of lawman versus Lawbreaker.
This brought my mind back to 57 years ago on the (MID)Western frontier of Cable Wi (population 280-maybe) when I served as an 8-year-old lawman working with my deputy and 6-year-old friend David Larson. It was a time of lawlessness where 'big talk' and 'big guns' (cap & pop alike) were a way of life.
Bad blood had been brewing since Sunday School the previous Sunday when Dastardly Dick Ludzack and BadNews Bryan Anderson AGAIN refused to sing Jesus loves me this I know and talked big about "singin' is for girls." This type of brash defiance of our Lord could not be tolerated. The time for words (or singin' Jesus loves me) was over. Justice must be served.
So just a few days later September 14, 1965 (right after school) Deputy Dave and myself traveled to the Ludzack Farm on the east side of town to bring these brazen lawbreakers to justice. If justice came at the end of a rope or smokin' guns... So be it.
This day would later be known as The Shootout at Ludzack Farm. (kinda like an elementary school version of the Shootout at the OK Corral)
When we arrived at the Ludzack Farm we learned Dastardly and BadNews were camped out on the North side of the family barn, so we quickly set up just on the Southeast corner as news traveled they were heading south along the east side of this same barn. We were ready but knew they would not surrender without a fight. Both sides brandished enough Guns & Ammo to make the NRA blush.
Tension was in the air as Dastardly & BadNews turned the southeast corner and were met with our guns a-blazin'. BLAM, BLAM, PEW, PEW, BANG, BANG. and POP. This gunfight was over before it started.
As the smoke from our cap guns lifted it was clear by their (imaginary/implied) bullet-riddled bodies both Dastardly & Badnews had their 'come-up-ins'. There would be no trial, and no chance for dem boys to redeem themselves and sing like choir boys next Sunday morning cuz... THEY WUZ DEAD.
Except.. out of the silence BadNews Bryan (always hated him) shouted "Uh-uh" you missed me, and you are both DEAD cuz I shot you both in the HEAD." BadNews was always good with a Rhyme.
This was such a grand lie! Such a big fib that 57 years later I am surprised Bryan thinks he has a chance at Heaven. This just ruined my day. I came to this town to bring law and order, and I am thwarted by a 7-year-old and those weak words. Uh-uh! I was so mad I went home and told my MOM.
Thinking back to those lawless times in the fall of 1965 I am haunted by my failure to bring to justice those no-good lyin' snakes Bad News Bryan Anderson and Dastardly Dick. What kind of civilization do we have when we refuse to be dead.
Though I am no longer a lawman the story is not over as BadNews was the best man and Dastardly an usher in my wedding in 1984. And I now meet BadNews almost every week for lunch where we reminisce on those days gone by in the Wild Wild mid-West.
You know what they say, keep your friends close, and your ENEMIES closer. Better sleep with one eye open BadNews.
Jeff (dreaming of exercising my second amendment rights since 1965) Larson
note: Spiritual lesson for the day? Make your peace with the Lord before you have your 'come-up-ins'.
For some time now I have been using The Lord's Prayer as my prayer model. After all, Jesus taught His disciples this prayer and it covers all the bases (adoration, service, needs, forgiveness, and avoiding temptation). The Lord's Prayer is wise also in that it keeps our prayers from becoming simply narcissistic endeavors.
Without structure, our prayers often meander down life's road while we mumble off and on to God who we have sitting in the way backseat of our prayer mobile (such as it is) Between songs on the radio and checking our Twitter feed we barely say "Hi" to God and so truly seeking Him is not on the radar.
Oh without a doubt we can turn to the Lord in times of need, we can cut to the chase nd cry "HELP ME LORD!" and know that He always hears us, and God's answers are wiser than our prayers.
But over the years I have from time to time treated prayer as if I was the center of the universe. I would not think that was true, but.. now that I model my prayers after 'The Lord's Prayer I realize my prayer life was weak.
Like a kid sitting on Santa's Lap with my Christmas list than I did someone who foremost desired to be a servant of God.
Q. So, am I in love with the creator of the world that loves me, or just a needy churchgoer looking for a Genie in the lamp with unlimited wishes?
So how should we pray?
Jesus instructed His disciples.. in Matthew 6:5-15
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name, (REALIZE HOW GREAT GOD IS)
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven. (HOW CAN I SERVE YOU, GOD?
11 Give us today our daily bread. (LORD PLEASE PROVIDE FOR MY NEEDS)
12 And forgive us our debts, (FORGIVE ME OF MY SINS)
as we also have forgiven our debtors. (BE FORGIVING OF OTHERS)
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’ (LORD KEEP ME FROM TEMPTATION)
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
I am curious what others of you use as a model for your prayer life. Please share as I would love to learn more from others. No matter the method I pray we all become men and women known for our prayers to our God who is deserving of our worship and adoration.
Love God, love others and the rest is details. ... AMEN
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson