A reflection from The Rev. Lynn White, Priest Associate

 Loyalty

“There are loyal hearts, there are spirits brave,

There are souls that are pure and true;

Then give to the world the best you have,

And the best will come back to you.”

 

Life’s a Mirror, by Mary Ainge De Vere

 

Just what is life’s mirror telling us?  One thing that it tells is that our media is rife with stories about loyalty, or the lack thereof.   The Dictionary of Etymology tells us that the word loyal comes from Old French meaning faithful, allegiance.   We see daily evidence of the essence of kinds of loyalty mirrored by loyal Cub fans, honest and true friends, patriotic brave soldiers, and pure faithful Christians.  We are in awe of people who give their lives for the sake of loyalty, truth, and faith, as well as being disheartened by disloyalty, unfaithfulness, and falsehood.  In fact, I believe that loyalty must come from deep within the heart, not caught by reflection, but by deeds.  It cannot be demanded, rather, it must be freely given.

We see loyalty displayed in our civic lives in the “pledge of Allegiance,” and in our spiritual lives in the creeds of our faith,” I believe in One God…”,  in the Baptismal Covenant,  and especially in our Lord who was faithful to His call to save us, even unto death. 

Humans aren’t the only creatures who have the traits of loyalty and faithfulness.  Some creatures, like the Mourning Dove, mate and are faithful for life. There are multiple stories of dogs who reflect loyalty by their actions when their owners fall sick, the dogs guard them, either not leaving their side, or running for help.  In Carmen Bernos De Gasztold’s book, Prayers from the Ark, he includes “The Prayer of the Dog.”  The prayer mirrors a dog’s loyalty.

“Lord,

I keep watch!

If I am not here, who will guard their house?

Watch over their sheep?

Be faithful?

No one but You and I

understands

what faithfulness is.

They call me, “Good dog!  Nice dog!”

Words…

I take their pats

And the old bones they throw me

And I seem pleased,

They really believe they make me happy.

I take kicks too

When they come my way,

None of that matters.

I keep watch!

Lord,

Do not let me die

Until, for them,

all danger is driven away.   Amen.”

 

Today, I’d like us to ponder for what and whom we are faithful and, loyal, and how and what we reflect?   Being faithful to our country is not just keeping the laws of the land, but also doing everything we can to make it the best place we can, to be informed, to continually vote for the best leaders we are able to decipher, to be the best citizens we know how to be, watching out for the greater good of all.

In order to be the best citizens of the Kingdom, we are called to believe in The Trinity; continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread, and in prayer; resist evil and repent and return to the Lord, when necessary; proclaim the Good News; seek and serve Christ in all persons; and strive for justice and peace, in essence, being faithful to the teaching of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  We must be dogged in our attempts to reflect the love of God.

Dogs are taught to “come” to their masters.  Unlike dogs, Christians are not only taught to   “Come“   to their Master, The Lord, but to grow ever deeper and one with Him.  Dogs dig with their paws.  May we use this time to pause and ponder our faith and loyalty, to dig deeper and pray, “Lord, Increase our faith.” (Lk 17:5) Give to the world and God the best we can, and the best, Eternal Life, will come back to you.

To God be the glory!

Amen.