I passed on Church yesterday because of this little bronchial cough I have.
by Charlie Leck
Sunday mornings are delightful. I’ve told you all this before and I really shouldn’t repeat myself. Sunday mornings, after the children are all grown and gone away to their own homes, are for reading. The New York Times arrives at about the same time I wake up and with it comes our own local imitation of a newspaper.
On this day after Easter, I find myself reflecting back on the big day yesterday. I know it was a big day because, much to my consternation, the stores were closed and I couldn’t go shopping for a new cell phone. Jasper, our friendly dog, was happy, however, because the dog park doesn’t recognize Easter Day as anything sort of special. So, that little side-trip with the dog was the only thing that interrupted my reading pleasure.
Don’t tell the intellectuals in the crowd, but, after I get the newspapers stacked up next to my cup of coffee, I first go to the sports page, to see if there is a column by Sid Hartman. Sid never took a writing class and I don’t believe the fellow who does his editing, and a great deal of ghost-writing, ever did either. Old Sid has been working at the Minneapolis paper for over 60 years and through several different ownerships. They keep him working because he has hordes of readers. In the sport’s world, Sid is affectionately known as a homer. Any of the big games any of our local, big-time sports teams have ever lost ‘was’ robbed from them. It’s quite amazing, but true, that I have never quoted Sid in any of my blogs.
After getting my sports fix, I dig in and find Garrison Keillor’s column. As a polar-opposite of Sid, Keillor is a writer and an awfully good one. He has a magical way of putting words on paper in a manner that makes them easy to read. That’s my standard for judging good writing. The words should just flow off the silent tongue and so should the line of reasoning or imparted wisdom. In yesterday’s column, Garrison was complaining, in his cheerfully grouchy sort of way, about modern youth.
“But the old America is fading, and I mourn its passing. Children don’t wander free and mess around in vacant lots the way we used to – they’re in day care now or enrolled in programs, and one worries about a certain loss of verve and nerve among the young who’ve been under constant supervision for too long.”
You know you’re old when you write stuff like that!
Now we’re getting to the biggest kick I got out of my reading on Easter morning, the day affectionately known to Christians as the Day of Resurrection. This fellow, Jesus, had unjustly died on a cross a couple of days prior and miraculously escaped his tomb on the following Sunday and returned to heaven to sit at the very side of his Father-God. I’m not making fun here. I’m okay with all that. It gives me a place to hang my hat.
What bothered me about the entire celebratory day was reading Nick Coleman’s column about the new growth of homelessness in America. There are approximately seven to eight thousand homeless folks in Minnesota who are out looking for something to eat every day and someplace to lay their heads. There are many among us who refuse to wage a war against this problem, reasoning that these folks are where they are because of some of the choices they made. In other words, “it’s their own fault.”
Now, here’s what I found myself trying to do yesterday, on that glorious Easter Day. I was trying to juxtapose such narrow and uncharitable thoughts with this scene of the fellow writhing on the cross. Indeed, he was there by his own, purposeful choice; however, on his way there he purported to be on a journey of service to the poor, needy, hungry, diseased and homeless. I believe I have that elemental bit of theology nailed correctly.
In a lovely, proud state like Minnesota, we can’t even solve the small problem of 8,000 homeless souls because our Governor and the minions of politicians in the capitol city can’t figure out how to tackle the problem. “Jesus be damned!”
Years ago the Governor had declared a “war on homelessness.” He’s long since surrendered and moved on to other things (you’ve heard he’s galloping around the country on a run for the Presidency – just what we need, you know; that is, quitters who want to be President).
Back in that little Congregational Church where I was nurtured in regular Sunday School classes, 2,000 miles and 60 years ago, I was taught that we were supposed to care about such problems because he, on the way to the cross, did. But, as Garrison says, times change and so do the things we care about.