I’m pretty sure I have permission to tell this story. You know how some couples sign pre-nuptial agreements before they get married? My wife and I don’t have one of those, since neither of us had any money or property when we got married and she graciously wanted to leave me all she possessed. But now I think my wife of 37 years wants me to sign a pre-SERMON agreement before I volunteer to preach (she said as much at this table on August 11!). But when she wrote an email to me not long ago with a story attached, I wrote back that there was a sermon idea in there somewhere, and she wrote something like: Whatever I can do to help. Now that I have that in writing (always save your emails), here’s the story: My wife had been listening to an audiobook for days and days and she was finally coming to the last disc. Since she usually borrows audiobooks from the library, she began to look for the box that had all of the remaining, finished discs in it. She searched the whole house and couldn’t find it. I helped her. Nothing. She began to worry about library fines and paying the exorbitant price to replace a 10 or 11-disc set [or maybe these were MY worries]. I complained to St. Anthony, patron saint of lost things, that he wasn’t answering my prayers. But then the next day when I was at work she sent me this email saying she no longer had to look for the box because she finally realized the book was an audiobook on her iPod and it had been downloaded from audible.com, and therefore a physical copy of it didn’t exist! Because: it was in a different FORMAT! [Remember the days when a book was a book?] In other words, she could have searched for it for days, called in professionals, the FBI, the NSA; they could have taken the house apart. She NEVER would have found it. She might as well have lain on the couch and searched by sliding her hand under the cushions and been comfortable. She might as well have searched where the light was better. She might as well have searched here in this sanctuary and prayed to St. Anthony or his equivalent in other denominations. Let’s think about formatting for a few minutes. We have an understanding of formatting since the 1950s that no one before then could have had at the same level. We have computers. We have Blu-ray players and DVRs. We have been unable to open files saved in a different version of Word or—God forbid—saved on a Mac with whatever...Read More
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