Once upon a time, I pastured an Anglican parish very long ago in a far and distant place. It was the best of times and the worst of times.
I most enjoyed celebrating a public Mass, distributing the Body and Blood of Christ, and preaching the Word.
On Sunday, visitors arrived at the service relatively late. I was beginning my homily on the importance of Mary, the Mother of God, in the church. As soon as they heard those words, they walked out.
The world today seems to have fewer and fewer positive models. That is sad. Models are examples of how to succeed in this challenging life.
My father was my first model. I had some health problems as an infant. Consequently, I cried a lot. Dad would come home from a long hard work day and hold me until I finally fell asleep. Dad worked hard. He believed in education, religion, and commitment toward his responsibilities.
Sometimes people drive me crazy.
Sometimes it seems that I can never get it right. Often I question myself on whether I said or did the right thing. I ask myself why they are not calling or emailing me back. After all, I return communications within 24 hours.
I hate being lied to. I bet you feel the same.
Unfortunately, lies can come in many forms. And so many of them even sound like the truth or have some truth in them. Worst yet, some presentations are made to sell us on an idea or point of view.
An example is insurance companies calling natural disasters acts of God. That makes God look like the enemy.
Most of my days are full of gratitude. I try to express gratitude as often as possible and for many things. Sometimes the gratitude is joyful. Sometimes, it inspires me to handle a difficult situation with more ease. Sometimes it even heals my wounded heart.
I am a rather sensitive person. I haven’t always been so sensitive, but I genuinely wish to be very sensitive to be a better healer for others. The sensitivity helps me to have an empathetic union with the one I am praying for.
My parents did a pretty good job raising my sister and me. They provided us with more than children of our time could expect. We were the first to get a TV in our neighborhood. We had nice bicycles. Our grammar school was two blocks away. Except for me being beaten up by some school mates all was good. We knew what to expect.
God used to drive me crazy. I did not know what to expect…
On Christmas morning, mom would wake my sister and I with the ringing of a handbell. She had us gather before the manger and sing happy birthday to the infant Jesus. From there we went to the highly decorated Christmas tree to open our many presents.
Easter had its rituals of the handbell ring followed by the Easter egg hunt and the consumption of many chocolate bunnies.
These cute little rituals had very little to do with developing our relationship with Christ and a lot to do with misunderstanding the true Jesus.
Once upon a time, we belonged to a Roman Catholic Church in a very small town in central New York. Over the years, we had several priests assigned to our parish. Some were good homilists; some were not. One priest was rather large and boisterous. His sermons were like a bull in a china shop. Mostly everyone spent their Sunday family dinners complaining about him.
He frustrated me also…
I bet that you might be thinking that I am an overly serious person. I can be rather intense. I know that, but so is my sense of humor. Most of my days are spent helping seriously hurting persons. Quiet empathy and compassion are best suitable for those circumstances.
However: this morning, I told a contractor that the exhaust fan he just installed took the wallpaper off the wall.
Now that is pretty funny, don’t you think?
Americans are great church hoppers. If they don’t like a church, they jump out. Americans pretty much hop and jump all the time, whether from a church, a job, or even a marriage.
There is certainly a lot to be said about jumping, but let me focus on just one thought.
Sometimes we hop out because we haven’t given enough forethought as to where we jump. Then once in, it didn’t look like what we wanted.