Has our world changed that much? Golly, the Muslims fill their Mosques? And in South America the churches are filled to capacity. I grew up in a small town in South Florida, and there wasn’t one strong religious group in the population. But you knew what people were going to do Sunday Morning: Go To Church! There were Baptists and Methodists and Episcopalians and Presbyterians, and of course, Catholics and Jews. I remember there were five Catholic masses on Sunday, and most of them were full. But it seems that more churches are closing every day. Or their Parent Companies are merging congregations/parishes. Why are churches disappearing from our landscape? Are Sundays different now than they were in earlier, perhaps simpler times?
How about You and Yours? Don’t you encourage your kids to go to church? To sing some hymns? And why don’t you? Are you so damn good you don’t need to communicate with your higher power? (We call Him God). With a world full of hateful little wars and threats to start a massive mega-killer war, and nature whacking everyone with hurricanes and floods and fires and a Maniac murdering and wounding innocent people enjoying a concert or riding bikes (I’m so sad)—don’t you think a little praying might help and improve your vision of the universe?
And by the way, Children Need to be Taught (or even better, shown by example) that Prayer is really an okay, neat thing to do. It isn’t enough that besides ignoring drugs and cigarettes and booze, that they floss, and bathe every day, and hopefully do their parts around the house; they should also be able to see the big picture, i.e., the Universe, Our Planet, Your State, City, and Neighborhood, and how they (which includes We, Us, and Them) are all inter-connected in this distraught, shrinking everyday world.
Maybe prayer won’t affect such mindless thinking, but then again, it just might. Try starting an evening prayer routine with your kid or kids. Kneel down with them, and say something like, “Let’s have a Goodnight chat with God. I’m sure he’d like to know what’s on your mind.”
There are some lovely churches here in our neighborhoods: in Millbrook, Lithgow, Millerton, Amenia, Pine Plains, Stanfordville, Lakeville, and Salisbury. Have I said enough? Check them all out and pick one that suits you. I’m no longer a Catholic, but have found a church and community I like. Meet and greet new neighbors. Make a few friends. Too much? Tough Apples. I mean every word of it. Look forward to hearing you join a community of healing hope as we sing our hymns. Bless you.
—Jim Flaherty, Amenia, N.Y.