REASONS I STILL GO TO CHURCH, No. 23 Because my son's travel soccer team never painted houses for the poor over Spring Break in Mexico, or raked old ladies' leaves on the other side of town, but his Sunday School class did. REASONS I STILL GO TO CHURCH, No. 17 Physicists tell us time travel is not possible, yet on those Sundays when I make the effort to dress up and go to church, I often meet my parents in the parking lot and it's 1974 or '75 again when we walk together through the heavy doors, where we hope the hymns are not too long and the preacher hits one out of the park.
I often went to church with my parents, so it’s not surprising I still think of them when I do so today. My most memorable ‘church years’ were in the mid-1970’s, when my entire family was excited by what was going on at Christ Community Church in Spring Lake, Michigan, and inspired by the leadership of Rev. Dick Rhem who married, buried and counseled three generations of Neelys.
I went my church in Ann Arbor on New Year’s Day, 2023, and the idea behind the very good sermon sprang from the beautiful poetry in the Book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, Verses 1-8. The version set forth below is from the King James Version of the Bible.
3 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
For the past several weeks – and probably for a few weeks (months?) to come – I have been organizing my poems and contemplating what comes next. Do I publish a book? (I would like to.) Might I secure the services of a literary agent? (There’s probably a better chance I’ll win the Power-Ball Lottery.) Will I be successful in finding a traditional publisher? (Lord, hear my prayer.) Will I go the self-publishing route? (I’m not enthusiastic about that idea yet, but, in the end, you do what you gotta do.) All of this comes at the expense of writing new poems, but that’s ok. To every thing there is a season.
Happy New Year!
(And Happy Birthday on January 9th to me, Mickey Gross –
the fastest runner at Adrian Elementary School – and Richard Nixon.)
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A New Poem Every Monday
(tho’ sometimes life gets in the way)
Joseph Neely, all rights to original material reserved