Marvin Repinski: My boat is so small, the sea is so big

Published 5:14 pm Friday, May 5, 2023

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Who’s in charge?

“The mighty one, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting” — Psalm 50:1

In an essay titled “Heroes,” Garrison Keillor has written: “All of them — at least they’re my heroes, especially the new immigrants, the refugees … it takes years to start to feel semi-normal and yet people still come — from Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Cambodia, Haiti, Chili … and they come for freedom. If we knew their stories, we could not keep back the tears.”

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Vast numbers of these families have crossed heaving seas or dangerous rivers in their small crafts, sometimes a ship. Think of the small boats in your life. Think of the seas you have crossed. Let’s tell our stories.

Here are a few.

The other evening on TV, a program told the history of the Vanderbilt family. We may know the enormous wealth, but we may not know the grandfather of the family put his hands together and it was like putting several strings together and creating a rope.

Kristin Trecker, the daughter of Patricia Hawly who died on April 8 at age 82, spoke of her mother.

“She was a trailblazer for her time.” She added: “My mom did not fit that traditional role of that stereotype.”

While the future pastor was loading laundry, she was rehearsing sermons, she remembered her daughter Julie Kline.

After graduating from the University of Minnesota and Luther Seminary in St. Paul, I was welcomed as a Methodist. She pastored several Lutheran Churches in the Twin Cities. I don’t recall having anyone work out of a church service as I began my sermon, but bing among the first ordained women clergy in Lutheranism, that was her early experience. When I’ve spoken with my Catholic friends, both laity and priests, I’ve often asked when the orders will come from the Rome state: “Equality is here; from now on women will be ordained.”

Unison prayer of the day

“Oh God, we do not pretend to come to you with more faith than we really have. We do not come to make promises that are beyond our grasp. We do not come seeming to be more than we are. We come to offer these words, these actions, and ourselves, trusting that you hold in your hands our faith, our promises, our lives. Amen.

Singing for most of us began with a nursery rhyme or repeating what our father sang. I grew up with some embarrassment singing in public, but that changed when I went to a church where members even raised their hands and clapped while singing. An example of the kinds of singing is to be noted. We crossed a large ocean when we joined the choir — now sing along.

From out in deep waters in a small boat to growing up, a visitor on a cruise ship is one way essayist Anne Taylor Fleming recounts her early days. She writes of how she, like so many of her friends, were in the 1950s “raised as good girls.” An essay she wrote reminds us how girls got a kick out of weather kooky boots, while the simple act of getting into a car can be a major maneuver for a short-skirt wearer.

She said: “What it means to be young and female was completed redefined, blown wide open. We went from frilly dresses to blue jeans, from pool typists to construction workers, from teacher’s college to law school, from injunctions against sex to birth control pills in the heartbeat of a decade. And we were singing: we shall overcome.

“Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

— Ralph Waldo