DECEMBER 1, 2020 TUESDAY
Dear Church Family,
Marc Gellman, a rabbi and Msgr. Tom Hartman, a Catholic priest – teamed up for years to talk about faith, religions — making faith relevant and accessible to many, including youth and children. Fr. Hartman died of Parkinson’s Disease at age 69 in 2016. His death left a big hole in Marc. Together, on radio, TV, and in newspaper, they were the God Squad. Marc continues their mission, often mentioning “Tommy.” They wrote a column, Marc continues.
Sunday, Marc wrote who overwhelmingly sad this Thanksgiving – curtailing family gatherings, travel – social distancing to protect ourselves, friends and family. That left a sad hole in many of us. We naturally focus on what we can’t do. Rabbi Marc’s antidote?—What we can do – laugh more. He calls it “spiritual balancing.” Spend equal time focusing on and talking about your blessings, not just sad burdens. Remembering joy keeps us balanced. Somedays it’s hard to heed the Psalmist — “Serve the Lord with gladness (or joy).” We can’t force gladness or joy. We can look for it. Even in darkness, light is close by.
I know this is a somber, heavy season – Advent, reflection and preparing our souls spiritually, in addition to the burden of this virus and its horrible toll. Marc offers “church bulletin bloopers,” to make us laugh. I remember some I have made — and with time, learn to laugh at myself. The deadly virus does not have the final word. God gets to speak it. And it is joy, hope, everlasting life. Joy isn’t just a heavenly hope for one day. It is ours now. Keep your blessings before you, even small ones. So, to bring a bit of mirth to “spiritually balance” weeping and sadness — I offer a few “Church Bulletin bloopers,” to lift your spirits today – courtesy of Marc Gellman. I recall the morning my dad died. We sat with him for several hours — Karen, my sister and I – recalling memories, singing hymns, laughing and savoring his life and the gifts he gave us. In times of loss and sadness, let not joy and gratitude be too far away. Forgive me for these:— “Ladies don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands. (Ouch) — For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs. — At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic is “What is Hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice, — Low self-esteem group will meet Thursday at 7pm. Please use the back door. — Weight Watchers will meet at 7pm at the church hall. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
No kidding – a Rabbi wouldn’t pull our leg. These are painful days in which we live — for frontline workers, many deaths, fear as numbers head in the wrong direction. It’s serious, but so is the love God holds us in. Step back, and remember the light shines in darkness. Joy and laughter help lift our burdens.
In the end, God wins – not the pain, suffering and losses we experience in these days. It’s called resurrection. Keep your eyes open and be cautious, as advised, not foolish – but also hold fast the God of love and life – who always has you. Present times are not the last word. God speaks that – and it is very, very good.Blessings, and maybe a smile for you this day, Love — Fr. Steve