It sounds a little weird to say, “Happy Memorial Day” when there is no happiness over the fact that we are remembering many people who died in heart¬breaking wars. Still, our hearts can make room for all the other memories that those people gave us. We focus on the generosity we see in their service, and THAT’S something to be VERY grateful for and “happy” about.
Then the challenge is getting on with our lives which those service people made possible.
In the little booklet from Liturgical Press we gave you called “Rejoice and be Glad,” the writers made a point, on the May 23rd page, about how important it is to live in the “now.” To make the point, the writers went so far as to say there is no such thing as eternal life. Then they said, “Don’t worry.”
They continued that our lives are all about “Now.” Every moment is a “now,” and we are already living in eternity precisely because all our moments are “now.” How often have you heard me say that for God, everything is instant now?
I’ve used the idea in trying to reflect on why on the one hand we talk about someone who has died as being with the Lord. And then we turn around and pray for the repose of their soul in Purgatory. Why pray for someone to get to heaven if they are already there?
We make those prayers because for God, everything is instant “Now.” In His instant “Now,” God hears every prayer that will ever be prayed for those who have died. I’m not quite sure of my theological precision here, but it works for me. Call it an aging pastor’s take. Who’s going to argue you with an aging pastor?
And speaking of aging...
Last Thursday so many of you blessed the celebration of my 55th ordination anniversary. What a wonderful evening! I hardly know where to begin to say thank you. I’m sure I’ll never know all that went into it.
Heartfelt thanks to Judy Fisher and her team for the beautiful decorations and set-ups. She coordinated with Debbie at Kelly’s Landing who provided all the food. They cooked, they came, they served, they cleaned up. Thanks to Christy I and Christy II and Jake. Doesn’t get better than that. (You ought to check them out for your next bash.)
The Women’s Club provided the paper goods and the wonderful Publix cake, (my favorite: carrot.) The Men’s Club came through with the wine. (There was the funny moment when Al Ferzacca came to fill my wine glass and I thought he was gifting me with a bottle that was only one quarter full.) Frank K. was chuckling for a while after that one.
As usual, Annie Gardner stood at the core of the undertaking. As I told you who came to the Mass, I didn’t realize that the event would have overtones of my im-pending retirement. FYI, I expect to be leaving around early August. No more parties because the memory of last Thursday night is one of the best I could have.
So, with reverence for the memories of all those who gave us their lives while serving in the Armed Forc¬es, I will also personally associate Memorial Day with memories of all of you and of so many wonderful people that have crossed my ministerial path.
I will also be grateful for those occasional twinges of pain in my rear end that challenged ministry. After all, my rear end is ample enough. God has been good in providing all I have needed, including a widened derrière.