How do you pronounce the letter “H”? Stupid question right?
Well in my last blog, I wrote that I was going fishing at Canoe Creek State Park.. which is drained right? Sounds like a dumb idea, but I was able to find pockets of undrained water, and fish were feeding active in order to prepare for winter. I put the hammer down. Not bad, not a ton of fish, but the fish I caught were all two the three pounds. Ok, now I’m just tootin’ my own horn. But anyways, dumb idea, was not so dumb. Which follows a supposedly dumb question, “How do you pronounce the letter “H”?
I promise this will all sort of connect…
So anyways… fishing, catching fish, and well I lost a big fish, and it took my fishing lure, the only fishing lure I had, and the only one that the fish were willing to bite. Also… you remember in the last blog titled, “Try Something new?” Well I did, tried to tie a new fishing knot… total fail… lost a big fish and the only lure… well, learning takes trials and errors. So, Fish won’t bite anything else… so I decided to head over to Sportsman’s Warehouse, and buy the lure that I lost. While buying the darn thing, I was talking to an employee there. And he asked me if I ever fished Raystown. Which I told him I oly fished the spillway and damn, but never knew where to fish at the lake, because I don’t know where there is shore access, since I am a shore/bank fisherman. He told me to go fish at “Aitch.” I looked at him, as if he was trying to relay a code to me. “H?” like the letter, “H”? He says, “Naw, man.. not ‘haitch,’ “Aitch.”
WTF??? “aitch” is the letter “H”? He says, “ No, Aitch is a location of a place you can fish, it’s a name, A-I-T-C-H.” I started laughing and said, “Man, I thought you were saying the letter.” He says, “Naw man, that’s “Haitch.” Which I paused, stared at him, like he’s crazy, as he just nods his head. So… then I got all confused. I bought my lure, and went back to Canoe Creek State Park and tried to fish. But all I have been thinking is, “Is it ‘aitch’ of ‘haitch’?” And wondered if I have been saying the letter “H” wrong my entire life. This is important because I got two little kids that are learning the alphabet and I am pretty damn sure that when I would sing the ABC song, there was no “haitch” or it is…
So… maybe both pronunciations are right? Comment below… because suddenly now I am effing confused again… Also, side note, but worth knowing… You know that animal that looks like a horse but has black and white stripes? It is a ‘Zeebra’ or ‘Zebra’, like pronounced like the name Debra? Oh man.. I feel so dumb right now!
Next week, I promise to be more theological in my blog… where we discuss “It is catholic or Catholic?” That one is a lot less confusing.
Yeah… this is going to be about fishing… but trust me, it’s a metaphor for something else…
So, I woke up yesterday, and I decided that on Friday, I am going to go fish for bass. It might be too cold for them to be biting during this time of the year as temperatures dipped below 40s and 50s during the night and some days barely got over 60. Little less sunlight than in the summer, so water temps probably have dipped. And I am going fishing at Canoe Creek State Park… I know its drained… I just realized I might be wasting my Friday.
But anyways, I decided to try something new. For the last 20 years of my life, since I really got into fishing, I have always used one kind of knot to tie by braided mainline fishing line to my fluorocarbon leader fishing line. It is the uni-knot. I have great confidence in this knot, but I want to learn a new knot. Apparently, the strongest knot to tie to connect two types of fishing line together. It is the FG Knot. So I spent yesterday, while Ben was napping, to give this knot a try. I learned, it’s not easy to tie this knot with confidence. I had to try and try again and again, wasting fishing line over and over again. In my final product, I have no idea if I did it correctly. If I tie a bad knot, and hook up with a fish, it will snap my line, and I lose the fish, not to mention the fish will have a hook and 7 feet of fishing line attached to its mouth.
So, why change? Why try something that I have zero confidence in (yet)? Just use the knot I have used for the last 20 or so years? Well, its because I want to try something new, something different. I want to learn something new and be good at it. But the only way I will learn something new is to give it a try, face failure, face frustration, and be filled with agony. But I know if I practice tying this new fishing knot, I will have confidence. And also, I believe that it is always worth while to try something new, it is imperative to learn something new at any age and any circumstance. Because there just might be a time that you will come to a situation that may require a new skill.
I think that is what makes faith difficult. Faith is about learning, constantly learning. You cannot have the same faith you had when you first became a Christian. You cannot have the same kind of faith you had when you were a child. Faith needs growth in order to flourish and to find confidence and peace of mind. I think people who struggle with their faith is partly because we held onto faith that we learned when we are younger, you get baptized, and you feel like, what is done is done. But faith is a growing experience, and as we get older or life situations get more complex. As we grow from a child to adulthood, we are faced with more stressful situations. And if we have not grown in our faith, life can become rather difficult and confusing. Faith is about building confidence and it is about continual learning.
Stay close to the word of God in the Bible, it is your map to life. And sometimes, reading a story we may be familiar with as a child, may have new meaning to us as an adult. Because now God is speaking to you differently, because you are no longer a child. Be diligent in prayer and meditation, prayer isn’t always about you talking to God, but sometimes it is about you being silent and hearing God. In that silence, maybe God will bring images to your mind, and it confronts you with a new meaning of life and faith. And finally, faith is about listening and responding to the world that is around us. Faith is active and it is moving. It is about being able to be in a challenging space, whether that space be a new thought, or conflicting ideology, or environment. It’s about how we make sense of a world that is changing around us and being able to respond to it with the compassion, attitude, and maturity found in the example of Christ. Keep moving, keep growing, keep learning, keep challenging so that you can find confidence in your faith.
If you feel like nothing in your life seems to be making sense and that you find yourself on the losing side of the battles you face. Make a change, try something different, something new. If the old way of life that you thought was comfortable living not working anymore, maybe your soul is telling you to change, do something else. No use in beating a dead horse. Find something useful, something meaningful when the old way isn’t working. Your soul with thank you.
So Norah’s been going to Kindergarten at Baker Elementary School. And so far what I have learned is that I have to do homework again? What? I’m not kidding. The amount of reading material and things I have to sign are unreal. I am sooooo overwhelmed with school paper work, it’s beyond yikes.
Not only is there a ton of paperwork to do, I also have to remember Norah’s snack days in which I have to buy snacks for her entire class. Guess what… today was her day of providing snacks… and guess what… I forgot. So my solution was to see what we have in the house to provide snacks, and I come the conclusion is that we do not have of one kind of snack to provide for the whole class. So I ran to Aldi at 8:30am… Aldi was closed… so I went to Giant Eagle… and got a ton of animal crackers. Raced back to the school and gave it to the office, and I think I have completed the task.
Man… I am 39 years old. I have been out of school for 24 years, and 24 years ago was the last time I had to do any kind of homework. But now… I am back at doing homework, and I am sadly behind! Well I got behind because I had no idea I had homework. Apparently inside Norah’s backpack are two folders. One folder is her assignments and also homework. The other folder, which I sadly assumed was also hers, was actually mine! And in my folder is a BUNCH of stuff!
So for the next week or so, I have reading a bunch of this stuff and going to try to figure out what the heck is going on.
Homework, I guess, never ends, it will continue until your last kid becomes 21 years old. So that means I have approximately about 19 more years of homework… wow… It does not stop after that possibly, because then I’ll probably have some kind of “homework” as I am getting ready for retirement. Man… it just will not end, there is always something to do.
Hmm… I guess that is just like the Christian faith. Last week in the Sunday service. I preached about how it is not just good enough to “show up.” As Christians, we have responsibility, we have things to do, and it’s not so much that God is demanding it from us, but more so, it is expected of us to do so. Remember that there is a lot of work to be done on this world, and our acceptance into God’s family isn’t about getting in and sitting down and relaxing. God is hoping that through if we receive the gift of salvation that is through the grace of God (not anything we do), that our gratefulness would compel us to live a grateful life, to live generously, peacefully, happily, and honestly. Because we have experienced those things through God’s love.
God does not give us assignments to do, because what we do does not necessarily matter what it comes to salvation, again God’s grace has no limitations, it cannot be counted, it cannot be weighed. But having our eyes open by God, feeling that connection with God, being saved, falling on our knees to our Lord and Savior, causes us to be active, to be motivated to do more than just merely exist and show up. Yes, it’s homework… never ending homework.
So last Sunday we celebrated communion. It was… interesting. Well we did our best to administer communion during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were a lot of changes that we felt we had to do. Firstly, we ordered these pre-packaged communion wafers and juice. I’ll talk more about that soon. Secondly, we did not pass out the elements to the people. Congregants picked up there communion at the entrance of the sanctuary that was spread out on a tray. Lastly, during the pre-recorded service for the people that stayed home because of the pandemic, we did communion through video.
Are we supposed to do communion this way? Well, no… it’s not ideal, but we can. We can do communion like we did in the sanctuary and we can do communion through video. First of all, those pre-packaged communion things were nice to have, but those dang things were hard to open. And during the time of blessing the elements, what usually is a time of peace, serenity, and silence was met with a bunch of crackling sounds as people needed to open those hard to open communion packages. I had a hard time, so I know most congregants had a hard time as well! If we do this again, I may tell people a week before we do communion to bring a friend, neighbor, son, or daughter that have the strongest and most dexterous fingers in the world to open these dang things!
How can communion be done through video, well because we are Presbyterians that’s how. As Presbyterians we believe the Lord’s Supper is the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of Christ. Sealing of all the benefits thereof to the true believer. Spiritual nourishment and growth for the believer. Further engagement in and to all the duties which they owe to him *Bond and pledge of the believer's union with Christ and each other. And the elements used in the Lords Supper means, Christ is present spiritually and he enables believers to enjoy mystical communion with him as they are spiritually nourished.
The elements used in the Lord’s Supper does not have to be bread or wine. Like most churches we substituted wine with grape juice and suddenly, bread and juice became the norm. But we have to remember as Presbyterians, we can choose any item to represent the body and blood of Christ. It doesn’t have to be bread or juice. So during the video service, I asked people to get one item to represent the body and blood of Christ, whatever you have at home. Because for us Presbyterians, what matters that the elements are blessed before partaking. And that we believe that the elements are distributed in a manner that is most suitable for the occasion. Well, COVID-19 really changed how we do this, doesn’t it?
What we have isn’t perfect, but it works, at least for communion. But rather focusing on what we did for tradition we focus on the fact that the Lord’s Supper brings us all together. And that the Lord’s Supper is the joyful feast of eucharistic celebration, we offer our praise and thanksgiving to God for this amazing gift.
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).