One of my kids recently had the flu. On day three, he had a fever of 104. On day four, his fever had broken and the boredom kicked in. He came into my office and slyly asked, “Why don’t we make a deal?” I raised an eyebrow and asked what he had in mind.
I have heard the avid hunter say that he or she finds God in the woods. I have heard the avid golfer say that he or she feels the peace of God on the back nine. I have heard the avid fisherman say that he or she feels divine transcendence bass fishing on the lake. In other words, who needs church when theologically speaking, God is and can be found everywhere.
On Ash Wednesday, we are all invited “…in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent (BCP 265).” To help in the observance of a holy Lent and to mark this season, there are changes in our personal lives. We give something up such as sweets, sodas, candy, or something else we enjoy. We may take on a discipline such as reading a book, exercising, or engaging in a variety of forms of prayer. All of this we offer to God and to remind ourselves that God desires to be in relationship with all of us.
Some of you know this story, and many of you do not. I’ll tell a very abbreviated version of it now. When I retired from state service in Oxford in June, 2014, I got on a plane some five days later with two checked bags and two carry-ons and flew 4,257 miles away to become a special education teacher for the 2014-15 school year in Lihue on the island of Kaua’i, Hawai’i.
Last weekend, in honor of Ellen’s birthday, we attended the Billy Joel concert in New Orleans. He put on a great show, he played all the hits, and his joy was palpable. But what I will remember most about the concert was not Mr. Joel himself, but the other musicians who played with him. Between “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” “River of Dreams,” and “Only the Good Die Young,” he and his band played a lot of covers (songs written or made famous by other artists).