Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Wedding Photographer


I humbly told him that I am not a professional. My usual spot for weddings is behind the altar where I’m pointing out to the wedding photographer when to get ready for a “Kodak moment” during the ceremony. Roberto, our groom, said that I would work fine and that the service would begin about 7.

I arrived at 6:30 and to my surprise the fire hall was empty. The minister and his wife arrived ten minutes to seven, but there were no guests or wedding party in sight. Roberto said there would be a slight delay since many of his friends work at the others barns and they had to go home and change.

It was now eight o’clock and I strolled outside to scout for the bride who I found standing next to a pick up truck in her bridal gown. At about 8:15, a crisis occurred. The bride slipped and her ring fell on the ground under the truck with millions of tiny pebbles. “Oh my God,” she scream, “I lost my ring.”

Now while the wedding guests are inside the hall wondering when will the ceremony begin, we have her godfather in his tuxedo on his knees searching for the ring. Then the bride’s maid of honor comes running out the door to join in the search. Yes, I’m looking right behind them when the Holy Spirit came to the rescue when the maid of honor found the ring amidst the stones. It was a miracle. Mind you, it is now 8:30 and the wedding guests are inside the fire hall wondering when will the bride make her entrance.

As the wedding service finally began, the bride’s son was running around the hall playing with a pink balloon. I gently pushed the balloon behind me so that I could focus on the couple, but he got mad and ran to his mommy who was standing in front of the minister. At that very moment, the bride and groom were exchanging their vows. This little boy wrapped his hands around the hands of his mom and new step-dad. It was the shot of a lifetime. It was a sacred moment when this family was united as one in their vows of marriage.

Today’s feast of the Blessed Trinity can be rather vague and mysterious, but this sacred moment at the wedding gives us a glimpse about the meaning of the Trinity. Imagine: the bride is the mother (Creator of life), the groom is the Son (Savior who redeemed us by his love) and the child who holds his mom and his step-dad hands is the Spirit that unites them together.

Lord, I pray for all my Sonshine Friends who are waiting for a sign that God is present in their life. In our sorrows and our joys, may we know that God is as near as the touch of a child who holds his parents in the palms of his hands.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Hugging Prayer for First Communion

There are going to be times in your life when you are going to be sad, and you won’t know why. You won’t understand and neither will anyone else. You can be with the nicest people in the world, but at times like this, even they won’t know what to do to help you stop being sad.

So I am going to teach you a prayer for the times when you are sad and you don’t know why. I want you to get up (imagine our First Communion kids doing this for the first time) and put your arms around yourself. Put them all the way around yourself. Cuddle your body. Hold yourself the way you would hold a baby in your arms.

Now, after you have a real good hold of yourself, close your eyes and begin to rock yourself. Rock yourself real good, the way you would a baby, and just keep doing it. When you grow up, no matter how old you are, and you find yourself sad and you don’t know why, I want you to rock yourself just like this. And as you do it, remember that you are God’s little girl, little boy, and that God understands why you are sad even if no one else does. Holy Communion is God holding you close to himself, because God loves you very much. Then just keep rocking yourself and be comforted. That’s what it means every time you receive Holy Communion, it is God’s way of comforting us in this life.

Isn’t that a good prayer? I would ask everyone in your family, your parents, your grandparents and relatives to do this when they feel sad. I recommend that everyone who receives Communion imagine that God is hugging them.

This morning, you mom and dad, your grandparents and relatives and all of us in this church are very proud of all the hard work in learning about Jesus love for you. We grownups promise you that we will always be there to guide and support you. From now on, whenever you receive Communion, it is how Jesus loves us with are with all our sins and weaknesses, with all our talents and skills.
Tanner’s asked his dad if Fr. Matt baked the bread that he would receive in Communion. I told Tanner that I did not bake the bread, but I wrote this little blessing prayer for all of our First Communion children.

"Help me, O God, to live the recipe of good deed.
Give me the kneading strength of your Spirit to work your words into the doughy recesses of my life. Help me to let it rest awhile in my heart so that it can rise. Help me not to fear the oven of life, so that it can bake through and through. And grant that in the baking, the world would be able to roll down its window and savor the aroma of freshly baked bread, your bread of life."