April 20, 2011

My Wild Irish Rose

George and Rosie were married for forty years, and they loved each other deeply, so much so that they did everything together. They were inseparable in all areas of life, except one. Every Sunday morning, George drove Rosie to church, but while she attended the service, he sat in the car and read the paper.

In time, Rosie died, and for many Sundays after that, church members looked to the parking lot hoping to see George's car, but he was never there.

Several months passed until Easter morning when everyone was pleased to see George join the congregation.The minister delivered a stirring and passionate message on the Resurrection, and then, as was his custom, invited members of the congregation to respond. At that moment, George stood up and with deep emotion, shouted out, "Rosie lives!" Then he began to sing, “My wild Irish rose, the sweetwest flower that grows.”

One person joined in, then another, and finally, the entire congregation was singing what someone described as, “the most beautiful Easter hymn ever sung in our church.”

Of course, there are those who view God’s promise of eternal life with skepticism. My heart goes out to them, for they miss the joyous good news of our faith. Life makes no sense. The Christian faith makes no sense, and belief in God makes no sense without belief in a world after this one. Belief in a loving God demands completion of an incomplete universe.

I believe the words of St, Paul who wrote:

“God has prepared for us things beyond our seeing, things beyond our hearing, things beyond our imagining, all prepared by God for those who love him.”

April 9, 2011

Strength to Face our Fears

One of my favorite books is David Lederer’s Crazy English, described by Simon and Schuster as a “frolic through the logic-boggling byways of the English language in which . . . a nose can run and feet can smell.”

Included in this dazzling collection of anagrams, alliterations, idioms and oxymora is a list of 125 phobias including such unfamiliar fears as spectrophobia, fear of mirrors; homilophobia, fear of sermons; and ergasophobia, fear of work. Long ago, one of our granddaughters had a boyfriend with the latter aversion.

Most of us will never be the victims of such exotic phobias as Lederer describes in Crazy English, but fears like job security, health, finances, aging, relationships and loneliness are common concerns for each of us at sometime in our lives.

Where do most people find the courage to face their fears in life? Where do they find the hope and self confidence to face the storms of life? Where do they go when all around is sinking sand?

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus refers to himself as a “Rock,” the cornerstone of a new building, the church, and it is to this solid Rock that believers have turned for strength, solace and hope for two thousand years.

For me, the words of the hymn Solid Rock express so well what it means to look to Jesus as he described himself. Here is the refrain from that beautiful gospel hymn:

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.