Marvin Repinski: The cream of the crop

Published 5:27 pm Friday, September 16, 2022

Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad. (The Bible, John 8:56)

For many of us, the making of a person may begin in an act of forgiveness. That action may either be given or received and often both. The boxer George Foreman may be cited as an example. His relationship with his father was at stake.

Greatness was, for him, more than winning so many rounds in a boxing ring. He stated, “One day I realized I had a clear (but not easy) choice: to forgive my father or simply not have one.” When we don’t forgive, we may miss out on having a parent.

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Searching in the dictionary for a definition of the words I’ve used as a title for this essay, the closest I could find was,”the first of anything.” Recently calling attention to so much of the horror, the suffering, and unclaimed dreams cited in the news, my intention today is to lift out what happens to milk; the cream rises to the top.

We may take notice of the art world. Laura Helle, of the Austin Area Arts organization, puts such splendid attention to worthy creations, and we can be thankful for a community that puts a sparkle in our eyes! It leads me to suggest we follow the national media in noting the celebration in several countries— Spain, France, etc.— of the inventive, storytelling art of Pablo Picasso. Some of us have, with appreciation, framed reproductions of his paintings. My daughter, Christine, collects books on his artwork and life.

Tilting our emotions in the direction of the wonder of the high places of life, some of us may resonate with a “Call to Worship” that I wrote while pastor of a Methodist Church in Montrose, Minnesota.

“We gather in the presence of our Creator who has

woven the great handiwork of creation.

From the classrooms, offices, workplaces; from farms, courtrooms, jobs, homes, and the larger community, we come.

We gather to celebrate how our lives are woven together with one another and with the sacred.

From our diverse roles, experiences, and traditions, we come to celebrate with our souls, our minds, our hearts, and our bodies.

Let us open our hearts and minds to be touched and strengthened by the Spirit who moves like a weaver’s shuttle in and out of our lives.

We come that our lives may be woven together with one another and with the Holy One.”

It’s more than Roman Catholics and the wider world who sense the “Cream of the Crop” in artistic expression. Think of the story of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. The Bible’s book of “Genesis” furnishes the information in a myth as part of God’s revelation of the story of imagined beginnings.

The book “Art” by Sylvan Barnet, writes about the Genesis account. Even the story is modified in a way that makes it more comprehensible and impressive to the eye. The Creator, instead of breathing a living soul into a body of clay—- a motif not easily translatable, into an expressive pattern—- reaches out toward the arm of Adam as though an animating spark, leaps from fingertip to fingertip, as transmitted from the maker to the creature. The bridge of the arm visually connects two separate worlds in the desire and potential capacity to get up and walk. These are indicated in the left leg, which serves as a support of Adam’s arm, unable to maintain itself freely like the energy-charged arm of God.

Let’s hear it

for the ordinary

Current news includes our nurses, and always the security issues related to the work of our police departments. Both are careers that deserve our appreciation.

The fair, equitable support of the treatment and availability of those people in the medical profession is today calling for our attention. A strike is to call needed attention to the well-being of all of us. Fair pay and adequate staffing are key issues.

Now don’t get me started. To do away with law enforcement is barking up the wrong tree! My recent conversation with a very thoughtful, kind, Austin police officer, reminds me of my number of years in church work in cities across the state. The bullet proof vest worn by the officer during my conversation has prevented injury while on patrol.

Nurses and police are among those ordinary people who are stand-ins for all of us. These are the cream at the top of the milk container!

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree … planted in the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 92:12)

NOTE: Let us honor Queen Elizabeth II of such long admiration. We all owe our respect and gratitude, acknowledging a leader’s life of generous service.