This is the Boy Scout motto, if you’re not familiar with it, that has stuck with me for many years: BE PREPARED which means you are always to be in a state of readiness in mind and body to enable you to do your duty.
I was reminded of that again in the wake of the shootings in a small church down South when a gunman intruded on their Church service and began firing at the attendees. There was a person in that congregation who was carrying his weapon, legally, and who gave chase and finally brought this killer to earthly justice when one of his shots killed the man.
It seems, unfortunately, that churches are a choice target for the deranged given the likely lesser chance that a member of a congregation will be carrying a weapon during a service. That rule of thumb didn’t hold true for the man who killed some 26 people who were in that church for their Sunday morning service.
Back to the motto: Be Prepared. There is a meaning to the phrase for Christians as well as Boy Scouts in that we are taught to be ever prepared for that time when we will meet our Maker. That time is not of our choosing. It can arrive at the least expected moment when we are called to leave this earthly life and enter into our eternal life with God. The Boy Scout motto is very appropriate for Christians since we are the recipients of the decisions and seldom are the instigator of that decision.
Although I am often guilty, I like to think that my old Boy Scout motto speaks especially to me about that moment when God decides it is time for my spirit to leave this earth. That reminder has been a true Godsend for me on many occasions when my mouth was engaged before my brain caught up with it. I am guilty, regularly, unfortunately, of not always being prepared for that moment but I try.
If ever I am to be ready, I suspect that among those occasions ought to be while I am attending a church service.
Now, there is also that man who felt the need to kill fellow humans and where he was at the time. I have difficulty believing that very many of us would be able to walk into a church on a Sunday morning and begin to shoot people from behind as they prayed or sang or listened to the sermon.
There are now reports circulating indicating that his former in-laws were attendees at that church at least at one time. That may hold part of the answer for why he chose this group of people as the targets of his rage. We’ll never know.
If you’re a little lax on your talks with God, as I admit I am on occasion, this is that wake-up call he meant for each of us. I would amend the Boy Scout motto everso little: Be Prepared to Meet Your Maker as if this breath were to be your last…since that might be the case.
And be thankful for this new day as if it might be your last. Get done those things you might be putting off for that better day. This might be that better day.
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