Holy Week 2021 Sampler

Our soul waits for the LORD, who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us who have put our hope in you.
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

– from Psalm 33

Last week was Holy Week for Christians in the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions and I was very fortunate to be asked to chronicle some of the commemorations.

Being Catholic I was especially blessed to be present at Kalamazoo’s St. Augustine Cathedral to take photos for the diocese. Most of these photos are from the various days of celebration. They are in no particular order.

I was also blessed to catch up with a friend, whom I hadn’t seen for several years, and to pray with her.

May the Lord be in everything I think, say, and do.

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This Week in Short

The snow has gone and winter sports remain relegated to the mountains. The holy season of Lent is just about to Holy Week and the sacrament of Confirmation is being bestowed on young people.

I’ve been fortunate to have been asked (the past several years) to document Confirmation. Almost every family wants to see their daughter or son in a photo with the bishop. That’s nice. Maybe everything would have been different for me had I had one of those.

Every photo assignment presents moments in time, not just for the reason I’m there.

Then there’s golf and Bobby Warner and I had our first 18-hole venture of the year. Many of his drives early on were mid-season style massive hits. Most of my early holes were stratospheric scores. But on Cedar Creek‘s #16 I came close, to a personal best. At least I was able to save par.

Call it all a joy.

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Who Do You See in Her Face?

Angatcha, Ethiopia – 2007

Much of the imagery in my photography is about the eyes of the person that I am fortunate to be around. I don’t consider myself to be anywhere near a great photographer or portrait artist. I just try.

The young girl in this photo continues to make an impression on me 14 years later.

At the end of long day of work at the medical mission, we were looking to make a final delivery of food before heading back to our hotel. Like many of my colleagues I was exhausted. There were many people who gathered around us every time we stopped our vehicles. Lots of little kids who had not seen ferenjis (white people) very often followed every move we made. I remembered, from my Peace Corps days, the fascination that people in the Ethiopian countryside exhibited when seeing aliens like us show up in their neighborhood. I think we kind of act that way in our country too.

Many of us had brought treats to hand out in situations like this. This girl didn’t ask for a treat, but I gave her a granola bar anyway. On the way back to our vehicle I felt someone tap me on the shoulder. When I turned around she said, “Thank you.” I teared up.

Though I never got her name I wonder who she is and how she’s doing. I hope all is well with her.

I look at her and see the face of God. Who do you see?

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Blessings from the Fortnight

In the past several weeks I’ve had the privilege of seeing a young friend again, making new new friends, surviving the latest winter blast, and trying to get closer to the Almighty.

James “Quice” Williams and I meet whenever he’s in town. He’s more than a football player, high school and college graduate, he’s a warrior. Quice has played professional football in Europe, lived in Atlanta and Arizona, and mentored many younger people. He is a mighty man of God.

I reconnected with Jeff while getting photos for a story about people returning to college. And I met Kimberly in the kitchen at Battle Creek’s First Congregational Church. Inspiring in their own rights they are also warriors.

Leonard Harris lives right up or down the street from us on Battle Creek’s southside. It had been several years since we’d seen each other. A soft-spoken, gentle, strong man, he’s a member of a book group through his church.

For us Christians and Catholics the holy and sacred season of Lent began on Ash Wednesday, just three days ago. Live-streaming equipment and camera at the ready I participated in receiving ashes. Remember John, you are dust, and to dust you will return.

The polar vortex struck again the past two weeks and poor Iz and I had to limit our trips to the dog park. What a heartache, but we survived.

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The Time Has Come Today

Last week Linda and I were lucky/fortunate/blessed enough to get our first COVID-19 jabs/vaccinations. This long and unpredictable time continues, with perhaps an end beginning to come into view.

Linda’s church continues to meet totally on line and doesn’t plan to meet in person until maybe this summer. Mine offers daily and weekend church services, with participants required to mask up and observe appropriate social distance.

Most of the people I know don’t feel safe doing many of the same things we used to do. Things have changed for all of us; I’m not sure how much of it is for the better.

It remains a mystery to me why some people resist wearing a mask. I’m not a First Amendment expert but I understand something about freedom of speech and expression. “Don’t tread on me” is just pure #$%^&*().

In this most unusual time, really of worldwide urgency/emergency, I also don’t understand why intelligent people are reluctant to get the vaccine. And, why am I so privileged?

My understanding is feeble. Help me, Lord; help us all.

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