The first announcement I heard today was about Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand people expected to stand along the Saint Patrick parade route this very morning. It isn't the feast day, it's the closest Saturday before. The news also announced, "Keep tuned for information on all things green."
I remembered wondering why I wasn't doing a Patrick Presentation this week, after all the research I've done in years past. In fact, Patrick was the first orchestrated "story" I'd ever pulled together. How many years ago was that? It was back when i was writing contemporary services for some local churches. We called it "A New Wave of Worship." It's fun to remember how people, clergy, wanted to be prepared for some "big shift" when we moved into the 2000's.
Pretty fun to think about.
I decided to attend to Joseph this coming week. I miss living on "The Hill," an Italian Neighborhood that was home to Bud the Border Collie and me for many years, before the "big shift" in my life. I won't be passing by the church with loaves of bread piled high on their alter. So, I'll be celebrating this Jewish Daddy, Working Man, Guardian with my story kids, using the book and materials I created for them in 2003. (Of course, it's a new set of children now, and the story lady has grown up a bit, too.)
Back to that Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand beautiful people dressed in green, cheering wildly, having (hopefully) a good time - together.
The thought makes me happy. There's a "run" there's a parade, there's probably food booths and commerce - there's a community of people sharing a moment - breathing together - celebrating - that is a hope filled thought.
The bus driver who picked me up yesterday was so upset from the news reports of escalating violence. Other people were filled with fear and anger from repeating what they'd heard.
I remember a story about Jesus. He heard that his cousin had been beheaded.
That MEANS something to us these days. We've heard about beheading in the last few years. (Some brave people have actually viewed the videos - that would NOT be me.)
Anyway, Jesus got the sickening news about his cousin. Some young lady pleased a king by doing a fancy dance. The king was kind of tricked because he offered to give her whatever she wanted for one of her best efforts. He said this right out loud, in front of enough people that we know the story today. So, there she was, dancing around, making everyone's eyes gleam and, when she was through the king was pleased. So, he asked her what she wanted. What would you ask for, if you were given an opportunity like that? Would you ask Publisher's Clearing House knock on your door? A year subscription to a favorite magazine? A trip to Disney World? The dancer was young and really didn't want anything. However, her mother had a major complaint about this cousin, so the mother told the daughter what to ask for.
(In your wildest dreams, would you ever really want someone's head on a plate? I guess times were different then, hm?)
Well, according to the story, that's what happened. If this was a script for a nightly drama (CSI??? Law & Order???) I suppose a gang war would have ensued, or some kind of reprisal - (would it be a revenge script, or a legal battle? I suppose it would depend on the format, time and author.)
You can tell this is a Jewish Story
( Some might be offended, me suggesting this, using these characters -
hey! I didn't write the story . . . as in 'don't shoot the messenger!')
Okay, you can tell this is a Jewish Story because of the unusual twist. Jesus "counter attacked" by going out and healing lots of people. He went out and accomplished so much GOOD - Remarkable, Overflowing, Overwhelming Good . . . some say it was so astonishing that it seemed like magic. Religious leaders hinted it was so good, it must have been evil!
(I know, I know that's a strange thought, like i said, i didn't write this story, I'm just sayin'.)
So - here's what thrills me about Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Celebrating Souls -
The Joy of it - the Good in it -
Most of these people downtown, they aren't thinking deeply about what they're doing, or why. They're just enjoying LIFE.
I suggest it's a counter balance brought about by an Unseen Hand.
(Patrick??? Do you have something to do with this?? Are you still casting out "snakes?" If so, I want to thank you now.)