On the Sunday Morning of Memorial Day Weekend

On a pleasant, sunny Sunday morning

of Memorial Day Weekend, he sat in the

shade under the new portable shelter he


and his wife bought to place next to their

seventeen foot, egg-shaped travel trailer

at a small campground about an hour and


a half from their home. He felt a breeze

coming in from the lake, looked up and

saw an American flag affixed to a street


lamp blowing in his direction. He hoped

the new shelter was staked down sufficient-

ly.  After sipping “Jamaican’ Me Crazy”


flavored coffee brewed in a French press and

returning the cup to the holder attached to his

Captain’s chair, he opened his computer and


logged on only to read a report of a shooting

rampage by a deranged 22-year-old the previous

evening half-way across the country in a pleasant,


sea-side college town. Six dead, three slashed

to death, three gunned down and many others

wounded, some severely. He checked his


e-mail and read one of the daily meditations

he receives. This one was about the gentle-

ness of Jesus. The writer of the meditation


wrote, “(Jesus) responds to people’s suffering,

heals their wounds, and offers courage to the

fainthearted. Jesus…reveals God’s immense


compassion. As his followers, we are called to

that same gentleness.” The man clicked out of

his e-mail, sat back, listened to Bach’s St.


Matthew Passion on the radio just as the chorus

sang, “Oh, Sacred Head, sore wounded,” looked

at the flag waving in his direction, heard a


splash and turned to see his Chocolate Lab

romping in the creek. The man’s wife laughed

at the playfulness of the dog.


The next day they would pack up their camp

chairs, walk to the Memorial Day service and

listen to old men talk of guns and guts and glory.


The man would pet his Chocolate Lab,

look up, see that same flag affixed

to the lamp pole and think of gentle Jesus.

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