Jerry’s phone call came as a pleasant blast from the past. He and I had attended elementary school together, but then my family moved 50 miles away and I hadn’t seen Jerry for six years. Now we were about to “split for college,” as he put it, and he proposed a party with our classmates.
At a recent wedding, I watched a mother try to lure her little boy onto the dance floor. She invited him to dance to a slow song, and then tried again when a fast song was played. She winked and cajoled; she pretended to be sad dancing alone; she pretended she was dancing while he stood on her feet. But he wouldn’t dance.
A couple of months ago in the Century, Thomas G. Long discussed temptations faced by anxious preachers who must preach week after week, sometimes for several services each Sunday. “What can I say this time?” is the angst-filled question of many of us. In an earlier day one could find Harry Emerson Fosdick’s sermons collected in his books, and Ernest T.
The closest I get to the kind of religious experience the apostle Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 12 is the occasional Sunday when the music and the congregation merge in worship that is unrestrained praise. I especially enjoy communion, since the Eucharist itself is designed to anticipate heaven. With our sins confessed and forgiven, peace made and prayers prayed, we experience an unusual unity with God and with each other. It’s a taste of paradise.
"Do not touch.” “Do not taste.” “Don’t walk on the grass.” What is it about me that wants to do exactly what signs instruct me not to do? The warnings are probably for my benefit. The signs are not evil. So why do they bring out the worst in me?
We were at the lake, my daily walking spot. I had brought a friend who needed to talk. Her head was down as if she were searching for meaning, hope and traces of God’s ways in the ruts of the muddy path. My head was down too, in silent solidarity. We walked. Suddenly I missed a familiar pitter-patter—my dog was nowhere to be seen.