Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Tomorrow we honor all those who have died while they served us in the military. (Veteran’s Day - Nov. 11 - is for all those who served, living and de¬ceased.) In the past this special day was also known as Decoration Day when the graves were decorated with flags. Check out Wikipedia for a very nice his¬torical summary. More to the point, especially to¬day, we honor and remember those deceased veter¬ans with our prayers.

As you read this, many of you will have been a part of the celebration of my 50th anniversary of ordi¬nation. As I write this, it hasn’t happened yet.

Maybe by the time the celebration comes I will be able to better explain why I have been a little reti-cent about making a big deal out of it. But I also need to say, from the depths of my heart, God for¬bid that the reticence ever be seen as ingratitude. Far from it. All the work that folk have done moves me to deeper sense of gratitude.

I’ve been in the dark about a lot of the planning, but next week we’ll all know what happened and I can try and say thank you. You never know just how to interpret all these little Cheshire cat smiles I keep getting around the office... even the dogs.

Five of my six siblings are coming, and the sixth will come later in the year. Dennis and his wife sent me a beautiful card and a coffee cup with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that really captures a little of how I feel.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is a gift.”

At this stage, my history might be a little longer than my mystery, but I believe the mystery is far more interesting. Still, I recall getting my chalice. On the bottom of my chalice, (which looks like it took the 50 years pretty well,) my name is on one leg, May 25, 1968 is on the second, and the third has ‘Love, Mom and Dad.’

Unusual in those days was that the cup was very large, because we were just coming into the era of concelebrations. When one of my sisters (who shall remain nameless) saw it she asked why it was so big. I told her it was so that many people could share it. She took a look at one of my brothers and said, “You mean I have to drink out of the same cup he drinks out of?” That was followed by sort of a mini ‘ugh.’ My Irish grandmother heard the ex¬change and in her faint brogue said, “Well, the day I catch anything from drinking the Lord is the day I give it all up!” No more discussions about a “common cup.” (By the way, the Episcopalians fig¬ured out long ago that metal, alcoholic content, and wiping pretty much takes care of bugs and germs if the spiritual dimension doesn’t do it for you.)

Talk about the sublime and the ridiculous. But that’s it in so many ways: all the holy mixed in with the crazy. That’s what we were seeing last week on Pentecost: in the beginning, God creating form out of the abyss of nothingness, and then after Jesus, the Spirit coming to heal a de-formed world – as Jesus promised.

So my history is hearing that promise and looking for ways to celebrate it with people over the years, and the mystery is looking forward to how it will all turn out.

My prayer so often has been, “Lord, don’t let me get in the way.” Each day I add, “I’m sorry for when I did.”

So, for those of you who came Friday night, I hope you had a good time. For my part, I expect I will as I look forward to today’s gift and as I thank God for all of you who gave it and continue to give.

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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