Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Joy of Church

On September 22, this year, the BBC Web site featured this joyous headline: “Church Gives Birth to Baby Girl”

Speaking of church, it’s a great place for some deep thinking, isn’t it? Why just last Sunday I thought up this idea to save on precious printer ink. Let’s change words that contain the two letters “ph” or “gh” to words that contain the single letters “f” or “t.” Fonograf, for instance. Telefone, telegraf, fotograf, morf. We ott to laff at ourselves, huh? We can save drum after drum of toner and tree after tree of paper with such a simple stroke of the pen…er, keyboard. It’s just a thot.

But can somebody help me out here? In my ESL class I’m having a difficult time explaining “Psalms” to my Spanish-speaking students. Oh, and there’s a street in The Big City: “Pflumm.” Who thinks up these words, anyway? I’ll bet it was somebody who tried to clear his throat just before a hymn and the only thing that came out was, “Phlegm!” (I’d keep that word just for fun. It’s the only English word that looks like what it is .)

Then last week, Julia mentioned in her blog the necessity and healing power of the human touch. And she’s right. There’s something special about a firm handshake, a shoulder rub, a good back massage, a pat on the back or a hug.

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Frequently at church, I’ll ask someone—man, woman, child—“Have you had a hug this week?” It’s amazing how many people stop, think about it, and finally say, “No.” If they say “no,” I hug ‘em. Everyone who ever got a spontaneous hug from me smiled—except one 40-year-old woman who broke out in tears. “Thank you,” she whispered. “I can’t remember the last time I was hugged.” Off she went into the church sanctuary, perhaps to get a hug from Jesus.

By the way, the BBC was referring to the delightful singer Charlotte Church, who named her new baby girl Ruby Megan.