Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
You don’t look a day over 243.

I had to stop and think a minute... independence from whom? Oh yes, King George. I hadn’t forgotten the history. It’s just that these days as the saying goes, “It’s hard to remember you were trying to drain the swamp when you’re up to your rear end in alligators.”

I remember in years past on this page, reminiscing with you about fireworks from North Miami’s recreation field. We kids sat in our front yard six blocks away watching the exploding skies in amazement. That’s 65-70 years ago.

I also remember telling you about another July Fourth, sitting on the Mall between the Capitol and the Washington Monument with an intimate group of 100,000. Once again, with a kid’s enthusiasm, I watched another series of wonderful explosions of light. That was 1974, two years before our country’s Bicentennial. It was also five weeks before Richard Nixon retired (on my birthday, August 9th.)

So today as I now sit and reflect about all we are dealing with, terrible illness, stunning demonstrations, struggling with racial injustice issues in ways that cause us to think to depths we have not wanted to undertake in the past, I wonder and pray about how we will come out of this.

Far be it from me to pretend to have an answer. Still, as I said, I pray and wonder, and hope.

Does our country’s history have anything to offer us? I’ve lived long enough to see us weather very difficult times. Still, I think it is the worst sort of presumption just to say, “things will work out” - again. That kind of thinking may be the very reason why things might not work out.

My role here is as a pastor who wants the best for the people with whom I am privileged to live and pray. I went to today’s scriptures to see what they might offer. If the scriptures can’t speak to now, why read them?

Among other things I found this from Father Donagh O’Shea, an Irish Dominican who has often been a source for my reflections here and in homilies. About today’s gospel he said:

It was when the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum had rejected Jesus that he exclaimed, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants.” Perhaps there were many intelligent people in those towns, and he was sick of arguing with them. Their intelligence left no mark on the history of the world: of Chorazin and Bethsaida there is no trace left; and Capernaum is only a couple of ruins. But the extraordinary love that Jesus embodied will live forever.

I come away from those words with the idea that if we want to find a powerful, lasting, meaningful way of celebrating #244, we need to look at each other, and deciding to do it with love. That kind of love, that kind of looking, is nothing short of back-breaking work.

How to we call up that kind of love that “Jesus embodied” when our hearts are burdened with fear and concern? We want to run in the other direc¬tion. But to coin a phrase, “To whom shall we go?” St. Peter spoke in a chaotic hour for himself and his friends.

Now, I hear the echo of Peter’s question. Was he being wise or simply desperate? Does it matter? What matters is that his subsequent life shouted out the message that no matter what, the Lord is there. Our country is the gift we have been given for the welfare of others. We will not abandon the people we have been given. We pray for leadership and direction. We ask for light and courage to be a people, a country of determined justice and love.

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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