Retired CRC Pastor Dale Vander Veen graciously welcomed
me to share with you these reflections he wrote.
Adherents of Islam are required to pray five times daily—at dawn, noon, afternoon, evening, and nightfall. Muezzins (criers) announce the prayer times from the minaret or tower of the mosque.
Our community is a rather quiet one compared to the almost incessant noises of large cities. Arriving home last night we did hear an automobile alarm. Almost daily we hear the arrival of the mail with the telltale hum of the USPS truck. We enjoy the susurration of the automatic sprinkler system. Yesterday we heard a radio and teenage conversation as a quartet of high schoolers sealed our deck. Occasionally we hear the plop of the newspaper on the front porch. The squeaky brakes of the trash truck and the unmuffled roar of the lawnmowers remind us what day of the week it is.
Why not consider those noises as calls to prayer—God’s very earthly and earthy muezzins? When I hear the sirens of an emergency vehicle, why not pray for the first-responders and those they are rushing to assist? When I hear the squeak of the trash and recycling trucks, why not pray for the driver and his family? I have heard those drivers step on the brakes over a thousand times in the last sixteen years and never thought of praying for them. How many other calls to prayer have I missed in my preoccupation with myself?
The disciples saw the crowds as hungry people to send away. Jesus saw them as hungry people to feed. Are the city noises signs of people to ignore or calls from God to pray?
“When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them,
because they were harassed and helpless,
like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples,
‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore,
to send out workers into his harvest field.’”
~ Matthew 9:36-38 ~
I was humbled by a young student once who told me everytime she crossed the street, she prayed for those in the cars she had to wait for. My students last year would start praying aloud as they heard any emergency vehicle during school.
Thanks for sharing! I really needed this reminder!
Thanks, Carla, for adding to these reflections. Due to an incident during my student internship in Smithville ON, I too regularly pray for the situation and people involved when I hear sirens. Praying for people in the cars around me as I cross the street is also a great idea, as is praying for the driver in front of me when I think they’re driving too slow! ~Stanley