From Reverend Pat Kriss: Recognition and Mustard Seeds
(Posted June 29, 2018)
Two special Sundays are coming up for First Congregational Church. On June 10 we all have a chance to give thanks and recognition to our wonderful Choir under Jim Moriarty’s direction, as well as Cindy Tyrseck and Riley Duhamel for keeping our Church School as dynamic as it is.
Both School and Choir perform a role that might not be the one we first think of. Both School and Choir are Teachers of the Word of God. It’s clear that our Church School teachers are bringing Jesus to our youngsters in a way they can comprehend it. But by the same token, our Choir instructs the congregation to the presence of God by leading them with the beauty of song and lyric. More than anything else that happens in church it is music that lead people back to church when they choose to come; it lets them get in touch with something profound that happens when their lives connect with the sound of the Spirit.
Worship with Us
Services begin at 10 a.m. All are welcome.
On Sunday, June 17, and again on June 24, we are scheduled to have Baptisms. But more than being a “Hallmark Holiday,” June 17 is a day to celebrate the seed of faith that a father brings to his child. The gospel for that day is about having faith “as small as a mustard seed.”
It was, I think, no coincidence that this week I came upon the story of a little boy in a very poor parish on the outskirts of Rome, where Pope Francis paid an unexpected visit on April 15. The pastors set up a microphone so that the people, especially the little kids, could ask the Pope any questions they might have. One little boy, fittingly named Emanuele, was very, very timid, and when he got to the mike he started to cry, and said to the priest, “I can’t do it.” But the priest knew the urgency of the question, since little Emanuele’s father, an atheist, had just died. The priest put his arms around the boy and had him go right up to Pope Francis, and whisper his question in the Pope’s ear. Francis drew him close and when he heard the weeping boy’s question, he wrapped him in his arms and held him tight. He was clearly moved. And when the boy finally climbed off his lap, Francis spoke to the crowd. He said he had asked permission to share what the boy told him with the crowd. Emmanuele had whispered, “A little while ago my father passed away. He was a nonbeliever, but he had all four of his children baptized," the pope recalled the boy saying. "He was a good man. Is dad in heaven?'”
Francis told him “That man did not have the gift of faith, he wasn’t a believer, but he had his children baptized. He had a good heart….If only we could cry like Emanuele when we have pain in our hearts," Francis replied to the crowd after consoling the boy. “The one who says who goes to heaven is God… But what is God’s heart with a Dad like that? A Father’s heart. God has a Dad’s heart. And with a Dad who was not a believer, but who had his four children baptiized and gave them that bravura, do you think God would be able to leave him far from himself? Does God abandon his children?”
Francis asked the children in the crowd if they thought God would abandon a father like Emanuele’s, who was a good man. The children shouted back: “No!" He said,“So there is your answer, Emanuele. God surely was proud of your father because it is easier as a believer to baptize your children than when you are not a believer. Surely this pleased God very much. Talk to your Dad. Pray to your Dad.”
All we need is that mustard seed of faith that places the well-being of those we love above any weighty debate about theology. That’s what dads do, and who better to affirm that than Francis?