Sunday, September 10, 2017

aquí hablamos español

Thomas Wolfe was wrong. You can go home again.

That is, if you have a home. And Salem is standing in for that role today.

It is Sunday morning. That means church. And church -- for me -- means the Salvation Army.

For about twenty years, I had a very close relationship with the Salem Corps of the Salvation Army. I was a congregant and a member of the corps council of the church. Plus I taught Sunday school.

Nine years ago, I returned to Salem to be part of the dedication service for the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center -- a facility designed to provide recreational and spiritual support to families who could not otherwise afford the services offered.

This morning, I started my stay in Oregon by visiting the center -- and to attend church. My old church, but I saw it in a completely different light. It is always a pleasure to see people with whom you have shared decades of your life. And, who know who you really are.

Some people I had hoped to see have moved on. Others have died -- moving on in a far more permanent sense. But most of the people I had served with were still there. I guess, you can go home again.

The Kroc Center was built in an area of Salem with a large at-need population. One goal of the center was to attract more Spanish speakers to both the church and the recreational services.

It worked. There is a sizeable Spanish-speaking congregation that meets simultaneously with the English-speaking congregation (in separate rooms).

The English service is very traditional -- heavy on hymns that I find a bit annoying for their fanmiliarity. Fortunately, the Spanish congregation was just a few doors away.

When a hymn started, I would shuttle to the Spanish service and sing choruses in Spanish. It was a brilliant day. I sang songs and heard a message in Spanish while still getting to visit with some old friends.

I told you a moment ago, Thomas Wolfe might be correct. In some sense, you never can really go home again because nothing remains static.

I suspect that is because my real home is a couple of thousand miles south of here.

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