Monday, February 23, 2015

"You have kept the good wine till now."

John 2.10   You have kept the good wine till now.

The parable of strangers at a banquet was Fr. Daron’s text, and his sermon made an important distinction between meaningful celebration and mere “partying," but we were distracted by one of our most grandfatherly parishioners leading a tiny girl by the hand down the center aisle back to her seat.  Grey heads everywhere turned, cooing aww

We older parishioners love to see the little children at St. James’.  The parade from Children’s Church at the “peace” is a highlight of our 10:30 service.  We like to see the younger adults, too, and the downward trend in average age among ushers, choir, and Vestry.

But I wonder what we with bad eyes and aching joints have to offer the young?  There are serious answers to that question in recent books by theologians Richard Rohr and Ronald Rolheiser. (Link to my reflections on those books.) They write that the first half of life is about defining our identities through the homes we make, careers we build, and principles we defend.   Popular culture promotes the fight to build our lives, but tells little about what should follow.  Many of us just keep fighting, to our detriment. Carl Jung wrote, "What is a normal goal to a young person becomes a neurotic hindrance in old age.”

We can learn how to make a gift of the second half of life by considering that grandfather in our congregation:  give support, listen, tell stories of the ways it used to be good, laugh about the times we got through worse, and leave all the correction and criticism to the parents!  Let the young see us at church often for meaningful celebration. Rolheiser writes, “Live in gratitude.”

You readers who may still be fighting your battles, take comfort from the sign Jesus performed at the wedding in Cana:  with God, the best may come last.

Readings appointed for the day:  Ps 41,52; 44         Deut. 8.11-20     Heb. 2.11-18       John 2.1-12

[This is my contribution to this year's Lenten devotional booklet sponsored at St. James' Episcopal Church of Marietta, GA, by The Pilgrimage at St. James'.]  

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