by Ken Rolheiser
Sunday morning wake up calls and icy reminders

A man staying at an inn and asked the front desk to give hime a wake-up call. Next morning when the phone rang a voice hollered, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!”

Talking about wake-up calls: “Alfred Nobel dropped the newspaper and put his head in his hands. It was 1888. Nobel… made his fortune inventing and producing dynamite. His brother Ludvig had died in France. But now Alfred's grief was compounded by dismay. He'd just read an obituary in a French newspaper — not his brother's obituary, but his!

“An editor had confused the brothers. The headline read, ‘The Merchant of Death Is Dead.’ Alfred Nobel's obituary described a man who had gotten rich by helping people kill one another. Shaken by this appraisal of his life, Nobel resolved to use his wealth to change his legacy.

“When he died eight years later, he left more than $9 million to fund awards for people whose work benefited humanity. The awards became known as the Nobel Prizes.” (The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn)

You and I may not want a similar wake up call. I had one in 2009 when I was diagnosed with cancer. For a while I would look into a room where my family was celebrating a meal and think about what it would be like when I was an observer from another realm.

Believe me my focus on life sharpened. What a gift it was when surgery removed my cancer. Now I could continue life with a deeper appreciation and a stronger purpose.

One area of our lives that requires commitment and focus is our Sunday morning obligation. Keep Holy the Sabbath is a commandment God gave us, and it really is important to the continued nourishment of our spirit. An analogy comes to mind.

Food and drink are essential for survival. As a boy on the farm I helped with the chores on days when the temperature was forty degrees below zero. No matter how cold, we followed the ritual of feeding and watering the livestock.

We would chip ice out of the frozen trough to make room for the water. We would pour boiling water into the pump to thaw it. Then we would pump water for the cattle and horses that were brought from the barn and hurried back to it after a brief drink.

They never argued saying, “It’s too cold to go out. I’d rather just rest today.” That sounds like familiar Sunday morning excuses. Yes, I’m talking about the need for spiritual food and drink. I won’t belabour the understanding of this message.

I am reminded of the story of one worshipper who thanked the minister after the homily and said, "Thanks for the message, Reverend. You must be smarter than Einstein." Beaming with pride, the minister said, "Why, thank you, brother! Exactly what do you mean that I must be smarter than Einstein?"
"Well, Reverend, they say that Einstein was so smart that only ten people in the world could understand him. But Reverend, no one can understand you."

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