Tempests, storms, upheavals seem to abound from the very personal to the global. My dad is dying and in hospice care. The terrible tragedy at the AME Church in Charleston South Carolina. The dark hatred of ISIS spreading through the Middle East and beyond. Climate change. If ever we felt in a small boat in stormed tossed sea, now is the time. Oh, by the way, Happy Father’s Day.
Today is a VERY HAPPY FATHER’S DAY. The answer to our quest, the answer to our need to celebrate is found in the boat Jesus is riding in. Chances are you missed the source of happiness.
Did you see it? Did you hear about it? What am I talking about? Jesus’ head was on a cushion. I have been pondering that pillow all week. Where did it come from? I imagined it as being embroidered, hand made. My cousin Bonnie suggested to me that maybe His mother made it for him, the Gospel equivalent of a Teddy Bear. I wouldn’t think that fishing boats in the time of Jesus, let alone today would have cushions, but there it is. Of all the things the Gospel writer would put into the Gospel description of the life of Jesus shy spend even a couple of words describing a cushion? It doesn’t belong there, yet there it is, all unexpected.
Our cushions are to be found in the most unexpected places. We need to be cushions for one another. In Douglas Adams epic work “A Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy” he says, “Don’t panic and carry a towel.” A towel is the most important item for an interstellar hitch hiker. With a towel or a cushion we can stare directly into the dark tempest and begin calming the storm.
My dad has been and will continue to be a cushion for me, he’s held me, forgiven me, cushioned me agains the blows of bullies, gave me hope to see into the next day. He’s been a guide, mentor and best friend. His two home caretakers are a cushion for me. For the past three weeks I have been with humble, competent caregivers, Sam is in good hands.
This faith community of St. Philip Neri has been, is and will be a cushion for many and all who come through our doors, those in pain, suffering loss, those rejoicing and wanting to serve, those who need the silent warmth of love and compassion.
Pope Francis has been and is a cushion for us, and especially in his newly released encyclical on Climate Change. I urge you to read it. This encyclical soars in language of both alarm and hope. This is what Dads do, warn when necessary and always with hope and possibility. We can argue until the cows come home the cause of global warming but pumping billions of tons of crud into our skies and rivers, using our oceans as garbage dumps clearly can’t be a good thing. As Gerard Manley Hopkins said, the Heavens are charged with the grandeur of God, yet is it becoming more and more difficult to see. We are making it so. Whatever the cause we must work hard and work today to create a sustainable home for all life — no one can be left behind.
Today is truly a Happy Father’s Day, a day when we celebrate their loving alarms and warnings and their being a source of hope for tomorrow. Today fathers must also be mothers, and mothers must be fathers; friends and neighbors need to be fathers and mothers we are all intently interconnected. WE are all in this boat together and we need to be cushions for one another.