When I was a kid…way back in the crazy 1970’s, TV had a very limited number of channels. ABC… CBS… NBC…and then there was the Sesame Street, Electric Company (and the show that I couldn’t stand called ZOOM) channel other wise known as PBS. And there was TBS that played all of the great old shows like I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, The Flintstones, Leave It to Beaver, The Little Rascals, Star Trek, The Three Stooges, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Munsters, The Adams Family… I have no idea what kind of person I would be today if I hadn’t watched SOOOOOOOO many hours of these re-runs! I would probably be BRILLIANT instead of goofy. Ernest T. Bass and Deputy Barnie Fife and Otis Campbell the town drunk who self-imposed jail cell time … or trouble-maker Lucy… Or Alfalfa, Buckwheat and Spanky… or Granny and Elly Mae and her critters and the “cement pond”. That was entertainment. Nothing like the naked, foul-mouthed, violent or “Reality” shows that suck us into being more involved in other people’s lives than our own.
Oh, and I can’t forget the one other station that our TV could pick up…WGN. The only shows that I really remember on this channel were news, the creepy Howdy Doody Show, and Chicago Land baseball. Snore.
There were certain shows that came on the Network Channels Year- After- Year. I would get so excited! Of course there were the Christmas Specials…Rudolph…Frosty…Santa Claus is Coming to Town…Bing Crosby’s Christmas Special…The Grinch… they were SPECIAL specials because they only came on one time and there were no videos or dvd’s or you-tube or channels that played marathons of the same things over and over! There was NO WAY I was going to miss “Heat Miser” singing with his little “Heat Miser” back up dancers and singers…”what ever I touch, melts in my clutch…I’m too much” “He’s too much!” It snowed in South town People! And how can you watch “I believe in Santa Claus” without getting teary eyed?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azlSvtX2s1I
And there was a Wizard of Oz time of year and the Sound of Music time of year and the Super Bowl and the other big sports playoff. And then there was The Miss America Pageant. Don’t tell me that you didn’t watch it because it was a big deal. Bert Parks singing, “There she is…..Miss America”. It was a national past-time to appreciate the conventionally beautiful. Who will be THE blond or brunette Caucasian to be crowned the most lovely of the lovelies?
Don’t get me wrong…it IS impressive to compete with hundreds if not thousands of other women and be considered the cream of the crop. These girls DID have to walk down a flight of steep steps with no handrail in very high heeled shoes! And they DID have to learn the songs and dances…and perform a talent. Now, I am not saying that twirling a baton is not a real talent because there was a girl who went to high school with me that was AMAZING!!!! NOT kidding AT ALL. But is playing a song on wine glasses filled with varying amounts of water really a talent? I don’t know. Maybe so. I am not the judge. And I have a VERY good friend who participated in pageants and she is EXTREMELY talented…she did it for the scholarship money! Sounds perfectly reasonable.
I was actually in a beauty pageant once. It was at the KOA campground in Gatlinburg, Tennessee when I was eight. I was swimming and went inside the building right beside the pool where the snack bar was located and where all of the “Campground Community” events took place. I noticed that a beauty pageant was about to commence and all that was needed was a girl in a bathing suit! I was in luck! So I signed myself up. I didn’t even tell my parents or my sister or my cousins who were also there camping in our trailers! I just pranced up there in my red and white racing one piece suit. I feel pretty sure that I had a bit of a pot belly because 1) that was before I cared how I looked 2) that was the week of the year that we ate hamburgers and hotdogs and all the Little Debbie Snack Cakes that a person could hold…and I could hold a lot of those Swiss Miss Cake Rolls.
And visualize too that I had a tiny tank body…no curves except muscles… a little Arnold Schwarzenegger with a “Dorothy Hamill” bowl hair cut and a gap between my front teeth as big as Alfred E. Neuman (the fictitious cover boy of Mad Magazine). Yes. That about describes me perfectly. I was cute. Not beautiful…well… maybe not even cute…but I was spunky and that counted for something at the KOA Campground Beauty Pageant. I got “Miss Congeniality” and “1st Runner up”. I don’t recall my competition…what they looked like or how many there were. For all I know there may have only been two of us. I just remember that my parents and I would laugh about what I would have said if they had an interview portion of my Beauty Pageant. I always pretended, taking my cue from the “Miss America” Pageants, I would no doubt say to the question, “And Christy, tell us, what is your biggest hope to accomplish?”… and without missing a beat I would answer, “I want to save the children of the World” or “I want to feed the World.”
That is a funny story. But the truth is, that I do. I want to save the children of the world. I want to feed the world. And I don’t mean with fruit or vegetables or bread or cheese or milk or meat. I want to feed the Children of the world with something far more substantial. The only thing that will ever truly satisfy. Our bodies do require calories and nutrients to keep us going. Is it a coincidence that Jesus met with his disciples for his last evening before his death at the Passover meal? … Passover, a celebration meal! … a commemoration meal to remember the night that Faithful Israelites (and likely some Egyptians too believed in the God of Moses because they were too smart not to notice that everything Moses had warned of that God would do HAD COME TO PASS!) … So, what were they told to do? Place sacrificial blood over the entrance ways of their house as a sign to the Angel of Death to Pass Over their home.
It is not a coincidence that Jesus chose this night that included a meal with bread and wine to tell his disciples about another celebration that they were to continue in remembrance of another night of sacrificial blood. A night that was imminent and sadly necessary.
The Gospels tell us what happened with Jesus and his disciples at this Passover meal…
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’
A few weeks ago I was at church and people where lining up in the center aisle to receive communion. I looked at the faces. I looked at the invisible burdens that some of them carry. I looked at the lines on the faces. I saw the smooth pink cheeks of the sleeping baby who has no burden yet because they are still ignorant of the world and are still cushioned by close to perfect love. I saw this community of believer and I started to cry. And smile. Because they are all so beautiful to me. Because I know them. They are not conventionally beautiful. They may not win the “Miss Congeniality Award”. But they are all loved by God and therefore I can see them differently.
When I started this post today I thought that it was going to be on 1 Corinthians 13. LOVE. It has taken quite a different turn…but that is ok. It has ended up being about LOVE after all. Any time we talk about God there is no way to avoid the subject!
My first two resolutions this year are:1. “Grow the ministry that I have been entrusted with…whatever that means…wherever …and for whomever” and 2. “Use the words that I am given to share to reach and to teach.” The first draft of my resolutions said, “Grow ‘my’ ministry…and use ‘my’ writing…but that is not what I really want. I can’t tell you or teach you anything worth knowing. But God through me can. I hope that you ask for God to use you in the same way. You may not feel able to have a personal ministry that reaches or teaches or shares God’s love…But…
God through you can change your whole world. And the world. I promise. That is how it is meant to be. Communion. Sharing. Fellowship. Love.
The greatest of these is love…more to come on this. Much more. Peace. And love.