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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
              Wednesday, October 10 2001 

Wake-up call

I recently read something which, in light of our recent national wakeup call, provided a new insight into my parental family, though it has taken some days since my reading for the insight to gel in my consciousness.

What I read was the life of a priest who was martyred under the Communists in Russia, among other millions of Christians killed by the atheist regime. The local lore about his life includes a resurrection account that modern minds will have trouble "getting around," but which is useful to make my point. The priest, in his early days of ministry, was called upon to conduct the funeral of a 13-year-old boy in his village, who was so much loved that everyone in the parish was in deep grief. At the funeral, the priest became so bold in his prayer that he asked God to restore the boy's life and, in a stunning miracle, he rose and resumed a healthy life. However, the account says without elaborating that the boy lived another six years.

"Only" six years, my incredulous mind asked. The traditions of both Western and Eastern churches holds that Lazarus of Bethany, the friend of Jesus whom He raised after three days in his tomb, lived a normal lifespan after that event and became a bishop in Cypress or Gaul, depending on whose account your read. Why raise a boy from the dead to give him "only" another six years, to take him "again" at age 19?

What a faithless and impertinent question! And, on reflection, I've heard other accounts of children whose lives were apparently spared or extended after prayer, though those extensions also have sometimes been relatively short. Then I realized that the same happened in my own family.

When I was a baby and my brother Gary was age five, he got too close to a bonfire in the area between our house and the creek in Vintondale (approximately where the annual Labor Day weekend Vintondale homecomings are now held) and was so seriously burned that he was hospitalized for a long time and hovered between life and death for months, perhaps several years. By the time I was old enough to know it had occurred, around age four when I began to have "permanent" memories, Gary was well again and seemingly a normal boy, though under his pants the scars persisted for the rest of his life, and they were often painful though he tried and was usually able to conceal that.

Gary, like the boy in the life story of the Russian priest, lived to age 19, when his life was taken in another tragic "accident," an automobile crash. Though the thought had never occurred to me before, now it did, that in all likelihood Gary's life was extended in answer to prayers by members of the family and friends. And his life extension, like that of the boy in the book and others whose stories I've heard, was relatively short-term.

Specifically, whose prayers? What does this have to do with our national wakeup call? How does it change my understanding of my parents' generation?

More anon.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

What price freedom?

A little girl became restless as the preacher's sermon dragged on and on. Finally, she leaned over to her mother and whispered, "Mommy, if we give him the money now, will he let us go?"

Sent by Joe Pelayo

Someone needs you

Maybe the person who needs you isn't acting very loveable right now. They're angry...they're negative...they're lashing out... they're withdrawn...they're sending off "leave me alone" signals that don't make people feel like trying to reach out. But often when people are the least loveable, they need our love the most. It may, in fact, be a child of yours, or another family member, who is acting pretty ugly right now. You can almost bet that it's because they've been wounded somehow, and they're bleeding all over the people close to them. Somebody has to disregard all those negative vibes and reach out to them with some love and some tenderness. I'm suspecting God's "someone" who is supposed to love them may be you.

—Ron Hutchcraft

Sent by Jim Martin

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