Very often, before we enter church, my daughter will remind me to shut off my cell phone. She cringes at the thought of my ringtone blaring out!!! When we got home today, i said, “Molly, lucky you, that nobody called us while at church. My phone is on.” “Wheeeeewwww,” she sighed.
i mean, can you imagine the happening?! i myself can’t think of anything MORE appropriate, as my ringtone is the lovely screaming voice of John Lennon, “I’m a LOSER. I’m a LOOOOSER. I’m not what I appear to be.” The very reason i go to church, a sinner saved, a man of many faults, a loser soooo loved.
It must be why i took to Charlie Brown who was born just three Novembers before me. As soon as i was able to reflect – and relate to my fellowmen, i fell in love with him, whose faults and failings are all too well known…but SO IS THE FAITHFUL LOVE OF HIS BEAGLE, SNOOPY.
When i was a priest in Hoboken, N.J., back in the 1980s, a sweet young parishioner who became a very dear friend, Barbara Verdonck, worked at the CVS, and she just KNEW that i would love the giant display CHUCK! She had heard me tell many a parable a la Peanuts, especially about the mean, vicious Lucy and her habit of never letting Charlie forget what a loser he is. Oh, how we know that pain! One of my favorite singers ever, Jackson Browne, almost cries when he sings that line of “These Days;” he is pleading, “Don’t confront me with my failures. I HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN THEM!” It’s why we GO to church – or why i go – in the first place. “My sins are ever before me.” Psalm 51 of that Great Fellow-Loser, David, even though Great Great King of the Jews.
We go to church to be met again by the GREAT BEAGLE, the LOVER of all lovers, to be embraced again…and made brand new. No matter how many times the LOSER seems to win out. With God, we can never really lose.
My Beagle, Rudy, is still scared of the Great Mr. Brown, except when a hand pops out with a biscuit. Gradually he will find the Great Love there.