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JUST ANOTHER TRIP AROUND THE SUN

 

23 of 52  Trip Around The Sun - Community Reformed Church

 

Sunday, October 6, 2002

 

Have traveled about 258,500,000 miles.

 

Thoughts during the week:

 

Someone sent the following:

 

The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary
school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples.

A Nun made a note, and posted it on the apple tray,

"Take only one, God is watching."

Moving farther along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was
a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.

A child had written a note, "Take all you want,

God is watching the apples."

 

 

Eyeballs have a shape – a lens with a shape – and simple physics for the optical parts. The physics becomes more complex with the retina, the optic nerve, and the connection to the brain, but the collector itself is limited to a specific field of view, etc., much like a camera lens system. If God sees all, there would be no purpose at all for Him to have such a limited organ. This little joke assumes the simple eyeball for God (He can watch the apples – but then not the cookies.) This assumption is incorrect for the Catholics, who do not view God as a humanoid form – but in fact it is accurate for Mormons. (Who view Him as having this limited organ and an entire humanoid body – but also as having the ability to do the other (see all) by some other means.  What possible advantage there may be to having this organ or any other mammal’s organ, completely escapes me. It makes a nice metaphor – but that’s all. Well – perhaps it allows Him to be like us when we meet, so that it is easier to relate to Him and feel close. Being able to see as He does – all at once and still organized, using these eyeballs would be like our using some old mechanical typewriter after using these word processors.)

 

 

The Visit:

 

Community Reformed Church – 777 W. Felicita Avenue

 

This is a very comfortable little facility. The chapel is not large, but sweet in character. There is a beautiful patio and lawn area behind – visible through the chapel windows. We could watch a picnic being prepared out on the lawn, where tables had been placed. This was being done during our meeting. Probably, they have another similar meeting later or earlier that the others attend.

 

The congregation was almost entirely senior citizens, including the choir. The minister was much younger than most of the others. I didn’t feel like one of the old guys in this group – just normal.

 

The opening prayer ended with the minister’s words, “And they all said, -  And then the congregation repeated the Lord’s Prayer (debts – not trespasses.) I always get silent right there to make sure where we’re going.

 

The choir sang the opening song with piano and recorded organ – after which there was applause.

 

Then there was a children’s sermon – all the children (there were four – I had not seen them before,) came to the front, and the minister gave them a lesson. They were all shy about answering questions in front of the congregation – even if just a yes or no. (So different from our Mormon primary kids – who compete for the floor with quite a lot of enthusiasm.) Then after, the kids left for Jr. Church. (Oh – That’s where the kids were.) I checked out the Jr. Church after – and it looked like still few children. I think most of this senior congregation had grown kids – in other churches somewhere.

 

This was “Communion Sunday.” I heard someone behind me say, “Oh – this is communion Sunday! – with some excitement.” I think this may happen only once or twice a year. (At the Lutheran Church, they had it when there was a fifth Sunday in a month.) We get to sit with our wives on those Sundays – if they’re not in Primary.

 

The Communion was, to my mind, pretty well done. The minister’s talk was on that subject – explaining his understanding of the meaning, etc. He said that the sacrament came from the old Seder – the Passover meal of the Jews. He said when the Jews speak of the time, the Passover, they speak of what happened to “us,” not to what happened to “them.” They take this all very personally. Remember the hymn, “Were you there when they crucified our Lord?” He said we should answer, “Yes – I was there.” This is not about “them,” but about “us.”

 

I wondered - - If  I were an Egyptian, should I say, “We did this to you,” rather than, “They did this to them?” As Caucasian Americans, should we say, “I chopped off my Negro slave’s foot,” or should we rather recognize that this was not done by us, but by a less moral (in this way) group of Americans of the past? I don’t like to think of myself as a slave holder – nor would I, if I were of the great Negro race, want to think of myself as a slave. I’m thankful that horrible era is of the past. Coming across America trying to build a place to live, many Mormons were murdered. I don’t think it’s healthy to think this was us. It was also a them. When President Hinckley spoke at the dedication of the new Nauvoo Temple, he thanked the people of the area for their acceptance of the Mormons back then, their having been run out of Missouri, knowing that a relative few were the militant even in that past, much fewer yet in our more loving present. His experience as a public relations professional, along with his very caring personality, served him well, don’t you think? People really do like him. Larry King said after his interview, “One thing for sure, he’s a very good man.”

 

On this Passover thing, the other side, the Egyptians, could say, “Our firstborn, even the babies, were monstrously killed by the Hebrews, who claim that God did it. Allah would never do such a thing.”

This is all taken far too personally – this was not we – but a they of long ago. It certainly was not God.

 

I am thinking this is the big problem among the world’s religions – taking things personally that really are not. Thinking we are “The chosen people,” etc. I don’t personally believe that God ever set aside a group of His children and taught them that they were more special than others of His children. It’s just one purposefully written error among heaps of error in the Old Testament. Same for we Mormons – we’re not special in any way that all the others aren’t just as special to their Father. There ought to have been an eleventh commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Regard Thy People Superior To Other Groups Of My Children.”

 

Hey – if good old Ronald Reagan can have an eleventh commandment, so can I.

 

Well, come to think of it, there is this very commandment – in the New Testament, “Charity seeketh not her own.” We were commanded to have charity, and taught that it did not have this feature of regarding “our own” as most important.

 

The minister called the “Elders” to come forward. Four came. Three were senior citizens – one was about middle-aged. One of the seniors was a woman! (I liked that.)

 

They four passed the sacrament. The bread was very familiar – broken wheat bread – not whole wheat – just soft wheat, as we often have. I think it was so familiar that I lost my concentration, took a piece, and put it straight away into my mouth. It was the woman Elder who had handed the plate to me, and she was gesturing for me to pass it on. She was really trying to get me not to put it in my mouth. I didn’t even notice until after – when they all took it together after a few more words from the minister, which sounded familiar also, much like our sacrament prayers. So when the grape juice came, I did better.

 

“Sacraments are ‘Visible Words,’ ” he said.

 

They sang several hymns from the hymn book – no projection. They sang well, the choir leading the way.

 

This was also “Picnic Sunday,” but I was going to be with the family at my daughter’s to watch some of conference and have a nice meal.

 

 

23 of 52  Trip Around The Sun - Community Reformed Church

 

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