An expression of gratitude is like a spiritual flu shot. It triggers our spiritual immune system and increases the likelihood of us not falling prey to the nasty viruses of grumpiness, complacency and resentment that are going around! Just like you can’t have the flu and not have the flu at the same time ~ it is impossible to be deeply resentful and deeply grateful at the same time. So go ahead and get inoculated with the gratitude vaccine. It is free, available everywhere, and the only known side effect is love. Happy Thanksgiving!
I look forward to the day when pouring an ice bucket over your head or engaging in tacky tournaments like a three-legged, blindfolded nun sack race or inviting children to see the skeleton of a former pastor in the church bell tower are not necessary in exchange for a donation to feed hungry people.
I look forward to the day when people realize that churches with soup kitchens are not feeding their poor ~ but are feeding our poor ~ because the poor are as much a part of our community as are the wealthy. I look forward to the day when people no longer assume that those in need of a hot meal are necessarily homeless, addicted and/or mentally ill. I look forward to the day when we realize that we can live without a haircut or new shoes, but we cannot live without food, and there is no limit to what people, including me, will do or endure to feed themselves and their families. I look forward to the day when I don’t have to tell you what a bummer it is to be hungry during the holidays.
I look forward to the day when every arts organization, street festival, publicly-funded theater and other public and private organizations and institutions include and promote benevolence in their programs and activities. People rarely walk down the street with a can of soup in their pocket with no place to put it. But if asked to bring an article of non-perishable food in exchange for $1 off the ticket price to a show; experience tells me that people often, very often arrive with much more donation than was requested. But they should be notified, asked and thanked.
Some may say that I am a chaser after dramatic headlines when I say, “Pastor Sets Self on Fire Then Accepts Ice Bucket Challenge to Raise Money for Hunger Program.” Okay. I plead guilty. There. I feel better. Now please seek thy checkbook and send a donation to your local food pantry or soup kitchen. If you choose this one, send your tax-deductible donation to The Congregational Church of Patchogue, 95 East Main Street, Patchogue, NY 11772.
I went to speak to about death to people confined to a nursing home but ended-up speaking about life and the eternity of the human spirit. I told them they are all saints and called them by name: Saint Audrey, Saint Bob, Saint Betty, Saint Bert. They giggled. I did not. I was serious. By what other name than “saint” could I call these persons who have kept on loving the world when the world did not reciprocate; who kept on giving when the gratitude for having done so was nil; who kept on sacrificing even when they felt forsaken or ignored by their family, friends or country. These gritty, gentle, adult-diaper-clad saints carry my faith and hope for me when I stumble in puddles (oceans?) of doubt, anger and fatigue. Every time I bring a church service to these tuck-aways who are sequestered from society for the “crimes” of age, illness and presumed uselessness ~ I leave buoyed by the living waters of their humble and awesome love. Life is weird. God is good. And I am grateful for my aged friends and teachers.
Don’t Let Ebola and the Taliban put the kabosh on selfless acts of loving kindness
“Nice guys come in last” was touted as a vital lesson and repeated, almost like a mantra, in my childhood home. As an adult the belief morphed into a belief that all elected leaders will eventually betray you when the whim strikes and, therefore, loyalty to them is not warranted was touted under the mantra of, “To thine own self be true.” It is possible to be true to yourself by being true to others, but that position seems hard to defend when it costs you your life.
This past week, Thomas Eric Duncan, Continue reading