“And then one day, I’ll cross the river”*
It rained, it snowed, it sleeted (a little), so I stayed in most of the weekend. However, I did go to two funerals. The first was to the OM’s Aunt Freida’s at a big Assembly of God church. It was about as far from an Episcopal service as you can get, but it was very nice, and I got choked up several times, especially when singing the two hymns, “Because He Lives” and “It is Well with My Soul”. There were no congregational prayers and only one psalm (the 23rd) which the minister read. The sermon consisted of a lot of scripture passages (of which I approved) woven together and there were “reflections” by two elderly church lady friends who regaled us with stories of Freida. The congregation sat and watched, only rising to sing the two hymns. Lunch followed.
The second memorial service was for a dear friend who was a devout Christian Scientist. The service consisted of a hymn sung by the congregation, scripture passages and quotes by Mary Baker Eddy read by a daughter, a soloist singing “The Lord’s Prayer”, and his adult children singing the 23rd Psalm. At one point people were invited to say a few words about Art–a tribute–spontaneously. College friends from The Principia, students from the Sunday School class he taught for over 40 years, members of his church–even I felt moved to say something. I said that as the mother of an Eagle Scout I know that it is important for a Boy Scout to be cheerful and that Art was a good scout. He embodied the scripture, “This is the day which the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.” Indeed, Art was one in a million. Starting off at IBM as a salesman, he had eventually started a fast food restaurant that became a national chain. He was a Boy Scout leader, a world traveler, a fisherman, a singer. He was a facilitator at our flyover institute for many years until his memory failed and he couldn’t do it anymore. He was a much loved man. I do not know much about Christian Scientists, but I was struck by the love that abounded in this assembly and in his family.
So two very different services for two saints.
Speaking of saints, the OM and I watched A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019). It is not a terrible movie, but it is not a good one.
It is badly directed by Marielle Heller in an inappropriately solemn and reverential way. Mr. Rogers is treated as if he were some pocket saint…
…and not the happy-go-lucky, slightly nerdly, but joyful guy he was.
He may have been a saint, but the tone was all wrong. Tom Hanks obviously watched hours of videos, trying to get the mannerisms down and he does, but he has slowed everything down until he comes across like some saint savant. I thought he missed the mark. The fact that Fred Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister is never mentioned, but I will give the screenwriter credit for at least mentioning that he read scripture daily and prayed for people by name. They even show him kneeling at his bedside in prayer. But again, this is to demonstrate how different he was from everyone else, and how saintly. The real Mr. Rogers would have scoffed at this.
Furthermore, the movie moves at an excruciatingly slow pace and is never enlivened by any humor. Surely they could have included some funny moments. But scriptwriters and directors these days just do not know how to construct a film. This movie was a fail and it does not surprise me that it is a box office disappointment. [However, I will note that the OM enjoyed this movie and was obviously moved by the story of the journalist and his estranged father–until I ruined it for him by pointing out all the things that were wrong with the movie. So go figure.]
So my weekend was full of saints, but I missed the baptism of this little Episcopalian by the wee laddie’s godfather, because I went to the 8:00 a.m. service.
You can’t have it all.
* “Because He Lives” by Bill and Gloria Gaither