As for me and my house…

Wealth can be an idol built of gleaming gold,
bringing dreams of paradise, futures bought and sold.
Some will choose to gather it, all that they can hoard,
but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”

Verse One of “We Will Serve the Lord” by Rory Cooney

 Like many Catholics of my generation, and perhaps generations following, I didn’t memorize Scripture. In fact, growing up in the Northeast of the U.S., I never even thought about memorizing scripture until, as a teen, I met my stepsiblings, who growing up in the deep South as Catholics were sort of defensively on top of the Bible and its verses. 

Still, a few scripture lines have burned themselves into my heart over the years. Four lifesaving verses from the letter to the community of Phillippi (Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!  
Your kindness* should be known to all. The Lord is near.Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus
.). The definitive description of God and us from 1 John (God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God and God in them…). And a few others.

A standout among them is a text I received as a gift from the community in which Pete and I raised our children. It was a theme for us, at some point, and the verse was from Joshua: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” I received this gift in two forms: First, in a song we sang regularly at Mass, quoted above, by Rory Cooney. And in the form of a large pin-on button.

I wore that button for years, long after I had moved away from the folks that gave it to me. It became the means by which I pinned rainbow ribbons on myself at Pentecost. It was my anthem when I was protesting or doing other forms of activism. It was a theme for how I raised my family with my wonderful spouse. 

This Sunday, we hear that passage from Joshua once again. It calls us to ask ourselves where our “lines in the sand” are, as it were. Rory Cooney lyrics remain true for me. Today I was jealously reviewing photos of a childhood friend’s birthday extravaganza. A weekend long event that looked like it cost more than two years of our household income. At a few junctures in life I stood at a crossroad choosing a path, often between work that was synchronous with my values or work that would bring me large income. It’s not my friend’s fault that I chose the low income path over and over. And for me, wealth undoubtedly is an idol. The minor pity party this morning is more than enough evidence.

But for better or worse, I am not on that path. And furthermore, the more I reflect on the Gospel, the more at home with my path I find myself. I have a feeling that when I arrive at the pearly gates, I will not be asked about the extravagant parties I threw or how many digits were in my income over the years. I hope that I will be asked about how I lived my faith, and how I passed it on to the three people God entrusted to Pete and me. I hope I will be able to say I did my best to serve.
 
In gratitude for who you are in the world, Trish
Pastoral Director

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