Hope, gone to the home of our alma mater, where we met in high school, and met again after college, knew who needed a reward. Nessie, the Wonder Dog, missed Hope. Zweigles, maker of these treats, also makes delicious “hots.” When I first came to Rochester from civilization (West Virginia), I was unsure what a “hot” was, red or white. Zweigles taught me the difference: hotdogs made from a higher grade of meat than even Oscar Meyer.
Given Dad’s pastor’s salary, we could not always get treats, but sometimes we could. Those were good times. There is a garbage plate, much better than it sounds. There was Lancer’s soccer, where I saw Pele (!) get a yellow card. On the radio there was WXXI fun and Star Trek reruns right after Lawrence Welk. These are small treats, but small is sufficient with treats.
The good news about being created in God’s image is that even the smallest thing, the necessary things of life, can become a treat. We can make much of little and turn little into much though creativity. Yet this is not the way things should be. We are not born for Scroogish lack, but the super-abundance of Eden and the coming City of God. The Church always has understood this deep truth. Saint George in Houston is beautiful and true: a mansion for all.
We go on Sunday and get what needs must, but also a superabundance of beauty.
The True Light we see is necessary truth to our souls, but there is beauty. God knows how we need beauty after a week on the freeways, and, often, endless small blessings. These are treats for the soul.
Man does not live on physical bread alone, but every Word of God. We need bread for body and soul: we must endure and to endure requires strength.
God help us.
We long for more: a party, a celebration, super-abundance. This is the feast we see twelve times a year, Christmas and Pascha just being two.
I think, sometimes, that the difference between the atheist cultures we have seen so far and Christian civilizations is this very thing. Christianity knows the deep things of God and so has access to more than we need.
When Hope came home from Rochester, I did not need her in the sense of tasks or jobs. I had plugged along without her presence, but when she returned, I could feel the difference. Things were better than what was necessary: things were jollier, more like a party, even though we did not have time for a party! Hope brought, as hope always does, the possibility of jollification.
The dog deserves a treat, so much more do each one of us.
Naturally, life gets tedious. We face bad circumstances where not even Zweigles can cheer us up. We know too much for a game of fetch or a treat to cheer us up. God does not come to cheer us up, but promises, just on the other side of now, superfluity of joy. We will see all the light we can stand, all the truth we can know, and all the beauty our souls can bear. Nothing good will be lost, nobody will be forgotten.
We pray for daily bread, but coming is the Kingdom, the Power, the Glory, forever and ever.
Thank God. Amen.
*Home of all my dear alma maters: New Covenant, Elim, Roberts Wesleyan, and the University of Rochester.