I attended the Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast yesterday (Virginia NEVER refers to itself by that common moniker of "state."). 1,000+ people ate eggs, drank coffee and did a bit of praying while listening to the Celebration Men's Chorus (an excellent black men's chorus) and Mark Earley, current president of Prison Fellowship Ministries.
I found out while there that it's the annual kick-off to the General Assembly of the State Legislature. Or as one guy I overheard in a coffee shop afterwards said, "Yeah, it's a chance for them all to come together and talk about being brothers so later they can call each other an SOB in good conscience."
I suppose cynicism always grows in the shade of power.
Here are some thoughts shared that got my attention.
From the State Supreme Court Justice commenting on 1 Samuel 16:6 - "Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart." When God looks into our hearts, what will he find there?
From the Old Testament Scripture reading - Deuteronomy 6 - "These commandments are to be upon your hearts." I hadn't heard that phrase in that passage before. Heartfelt. At the core of our being. The ruminating thoughts that give animation and energy to our actions.
From the last song of the Celebration Men's Chorus (see video below) -
Give me a heart that knows no ill,
Give me a heart to do thy will.
Give me a heart, like thine.
I sure would like that.
From Mark Earley's remarks (his talk was about The Good Samaritan)-
On his journey from VA Attorney General to president of Prison Fellowship.
"I used to tour prisons and encounter the prisoners as inmates, as a number. But I never thought of them as my neighbor."
"Moses was a murderer, a fugitive from justice."
"Paul was a co-conspirator in murder, a man of violence convinced like so many people of violence are, that his violence was right."