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Friday, April 19, 2013

Lord Have Mercy. Christ Have Mercy.

Stalwartly perched across the side street adjacent to Prenger's IGA and St. John's Lutheran Church in my childhood home of Brunswick, MO, stands St. Boniface Catholic Church, a red bricked edifice testifying to the strong 1840 German stock of both community and  Church membership.

St. Boniface intrigued me as a younger girl; especially on Saturday evenings. Church on Saturdays? It was an all-together unconventional consideration given my Methodist/Baptist denominational background. And yet I wanted nothing more than to go, to make my way into the Saturday mystery of St. Boniface.

My dad and mom, however, thought otherwise with their early junior-high aged daughter (i.e. "No mystery for you, Julie Ann, we're Protestant.")

And thus, I'd settle for an occasional Saturday evening grocery trip in which I'd wait outside my mother's car and gaze across the parking lot to the church. There I'd see well dressed school mates and parents milling about before Mass. I could spy with my junior-high eye school classmates (and twins) Mike and Mark Reichert decked out in dress slacks and button down shirts talking with my next door neighbor, our fellow classmate, and their first cousin, Lesa Reichert and her parents, Raymond and Mary Jane. Not far from them I'd see the all four Johnson girls--one being my best-friend forever, Cindy--and their sweet, kind, mother, Joan. Who were, by the way, directly related to Mike, Mark, and Lesa.

I'd while away the minutes watching interactions of countless other friends, classmates, parents, teachers, and community leaders and count down the time until I could enter through those tall white doors and discover for myself the Saturday evening mystery.

And so obliged the Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles a few short years later as Cindy rode with me to that same IGA parking lot and then escorted me through those same doors. It's been far too long ago for me to accurately recall my initial responses, but this I remember, everything: the sounds, the feel, the process seemed entirely foreign and other until a portion of the liturgy when priest and worshippers engaged in the thoughtful response.

Priest: "Lord have mercy."
Members: "Christ have mercy."

Six words. Yet, something resonated deep within my 16-year old soul. Something drew me to the holiness of God--the presence of God--the mercy and kindness of God.

Six words. The same six words I've found my 47-year old soul repeating time and time and time again at the end of this an all-together unmerciful week.

International Terrorism Comes to America
Lord have Mercy.

AP: Surviving Boston bomb suspect identified as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass
Christ have Mercy. 

Texas Rocked By Fertilizer Plant Explosion
Lord have Mercy.

Gosnell Witness: 'I Heard Ten Babies Breathe'
Christ have Mercy. 

North Korea Missile Launch: Day 14
Lord have Mercy.

Galesburg teen dies after rollover crash
Christ have Mercy. 

"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." 
~Psalm 34:18


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