oh, to be a child...
Me to son: Bald spots, hmmm. What are we going to do about that?
Son to me: Grow some hair.
The simplicity of a child.
...where entropy happens constantly, in an unrelenting manner, as in every second of every day
Waiting is essential to the spiritual life. But waiting as a disciple of Jesus is not an empty waiting. It is a waiting with a promise in our hearts that makes already present what we are waiting for. We wait during Advent for the birth of Jesus. We wait after Easter for the coming of the Spirit, and after the ascension of Jesus we wait for his coming again in glory. We are always waiting, but it is a waiting in the conviction that we have already seen God's footsteps.
Waiting for God is an active, alert - yes, joyful - waiting. As we wait we remember him for whom we are waiting, and as we remember him we create a community ready to welcome him when he comes.
"everyone has suffered. We all live in this fallen world together, and because of that we have all experienced hurt, loss, cruelty, abuse and pain, to some extent or another. Everyone I'll ever interact with has had something bad happen to them. And when inevitable misunderstandings and altercations arise, if I respond to unkindness with unkindness, to scorn with scorn, the only result is that I am adding to the suffering they experience in this life, and to the total amount of suffering in the world."
Deign, O Lord, to keep us this evening free from sin.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord, God of our Fathers! Praise and glorified is Thy name forever and ever, Amen.
O Lord, let Thy mercy rest upon us, for we have place our hope in Thee.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord: teach me Thy commands.
Blessed art Thou, O Master: grant that I may understand Thy commands.
Blessed art Thou, O Holy One: enlighten me in Thy statutes.
Everlasting is Thy love, O Lord; do not turn away from the work of Thy hands!
Indeed, praise, adoration and glory are You due, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever, Amen.
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God,
cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls,
Then at 1:30 a.m., Aaron Neville, the centerpiece of the outfit—a mountain of a man, his arms and chest busting the bounds of a distressed jeans vest—puts down his tambourine and reaches for the microphone. The party atmosphere suddenly dissipates. He is a daunting figure, but those close enough to see his eyes find a gentleness, even a shyness, in them. He adjusts his earpiece, absently stroking the cross-like tattoo on his left cheek, and nods toward the band. Like a schoolboy singing for the first time before the class, Neville tentatively begins Amazing Grace. His fragile falsetto is barely audible after the pounding party music of the past hour. But the throng falls still. From the stage comes the voice of a battered angel: an ethereal sound with edges roughed by hell. As he reaches for the high notes, the muscle below his right eye twitches. Otherwise, there is no movement in the performance. None is necessary. The revelers are listening, perhaps for the first time this evening—listening and turning deep within. Past the booze, the weird hats, and the plastic beads, Aaron Neville has brought redemption into the room. Never mind that it wasn’t invited.
Cyril Neville stepped up with a statement Aaron wrote as a raw expression of loss. To read it, Cyril said, "is one of the greatest honors I've had in my life."
With that, he channeled his brother's words:
"I remember the first kiss back in 1957, and I'll never forget our last kiss. I held her head in my hands and was as gentle as I could be. I kissed her eyes, her face, and her hands. I knew I was losing my best friend."
Cyril choked up, then continued through tears.
"She was everything a person could be to another. I still feel her lips on mine. I'll never get over losing her. But I know she's in a better place. She's gone home, and I'll see her again some day."
Aaron sat, head bowed. His sunglasses, removed earlier in the service, were back on.