During the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in high school, I met one of the gentlest souls I have ever known. Her name was Bertha, and she was a resident in the county nursing home at which I was volunteering as part of my confirmation service project. At that time, Bertha was, at the age of 89, the oldest person I had ever had the pleasure of knowing. The lessons she shared with me that summer have stuck with me despite the fact that over 30 years have since elapsed.
From the Editor
In the creation account found in the Book of Genesis, we learn that all was well in God’s creation. Everything was good. The last sentence of Genesis, Chapter 2, tells us: “And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.”
Chapter 3 of Genesis opens up with the serpent slithering into the Garden tempting Adam and Eve. They ate of it and we are told, “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.” (Gen 3:7)
Although it was just a cold can of corn, it might just as well have been the finest caviar, based on how quickly she was eating it and the look of utter satisfaction that was on her face. It is an image that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
We are all aware of the hunger that plagues our world, and the struggle of many to access clean water. We should give generously to agencies that bring food, water and vital supplies to those who hunger and thirst. But there are others who hunger and thirst in their hearts and souls. We shouldn’t neglect them either.
Teens, for instance. They hunger for recognition. They thirst for love and attention. They want to be taken seriously, and have respect shown them. How do we relate to them?
Some years ago, I happened to be passing through the church late one evening. As I was walking through the gathering space, I crossed paths with someone who was bringing a donation of food for the parish food pantry. As I greeted her, she said, “Oh, I wish you hadn’t seen me here.” Puzzled by her reaction, I asked, “Why is that?” She said, “I don’t like anyone to see me when I drop off my gift to the food pantry. I love knowing that I make a difference–I just don’t like the spotlight on me. I’d much rather work behind the scenes.”
Thou shalt not covet. Covet? What’s coveting? Covet isn’t a word we use anymore in our ordinary conversations, so what does it mean? Think of lust or lusting. We know what that means. And we know what being acquisitive means and what “commercial Christmas” is all about. It’s all about getting what we want.