Letters from Antioch the wedding and the chicken ranch

Many moons came and went as Charles Liston traveled with Salvador. It was the full moon, the last full moon before the spring equinox. The followers of Curtis and the fundamentalists went without food according to the Lenten fast. Salvador and the members of our troupe went to the wedding for the son of a local chicken rancher.

There was a wedding here and the presence of groom "Filled the room."

As they sat in the pew, they heard the homily, “Remember, the wedding is the feast of new life, and a new family created in the image of Almighty God.”

The priest asked, “Is this a nuclear family cut off from everything else? Why the reception and why the big wedding? NO! It is a new family under the umbrella of the larger extended family. That is you, invited to share in the festivities.”

As the ceremony ended and the people went to the reception, the followers of Curtis came asking, “How is it that we fast along with the followers of pietism while your bunch does not fast?”

Salvador responded, “Remember, we are at a wedding. How can people fast when they are at a wedding reception?”

Curtis’ followers, the fundamentalists and Salvador looked at what was going on.

Both the bride and the groom were present, the wine and the cake were being served, the D.J. was playing happy tunes and many were dancing.”

Salvador commented, “This is how rescued people feel. They can point to people and things that oppressed them, but their joy is full. Listen to the band. Their music fills the room.”

Salvador paused to allow his listeners to hear the music. In the front of the reception sat the bride and groom.

The best man commented, “The joy of their love really does fill the room.”

The bridesmaid comment, “Their love is like the fine wine of the wedding feast. It makes you feel tipsy warm and good all over.”

The bride picked up her glass, filled with Champaign, and commented, “To the groom, see how he fills the room with his presence.”

To the groom who fills the room

Salvador commented, “Do you think she is complaining that he is overweight?”

Fast and frenzied music began to bombard our ears. The music and the wine filled us with life. It filled us and invigorated us. When the moon rose a foot into the sky, the bride, and groom walked out first, ducking the rice as it came their way. A limousine sat parked in front of the building. The chauffeur stood at the rear door. The bride and groom entered the vehicle and soon after, the limousine was gone. Then the room cleared. The time came for cleaning up and fasting.

Salvador paused as he helped and observed, “The silence is deafening. There was life here.”

He paused for another moment and commented, “Let me tell you about another party, the party of the Jewish Community at Passover. It is the Christian party in common with Passover we call Eucharist.”

Salvador compared this party with the text that went with it. “You were once oppressed in the land of Europe, but were delivered with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.”

Chicken house is it possible to re-enter the egg once it has been cracked?

Salvador, the followers of Curtis, and the fundamentalists walked to the guard shack of the building the reception was in. The guard was busy watching a movie, “Thanksgiving Day.”

The scene on the screen showed a family eating thanksgiving dinner. On the table were plates filled with ham, turkey, stuffing, potatoes, yams, peas, corn, and more. Glasses were on the table, ready for wine and toasting.

On screen the head of the house commented, “We remember the oppression of Europe, the potato famine, the poverty and the religious abuse. We point to people and things that oppressed us, but our joy is full. There is no hatred of the British, the Catholics, the Protestants, or anyone.”

Salvador requested, “Look outside your window.”

We looked outside and saw rows of buildings filled with chickens. We went outside and to the chicken shacks. Inside were thousands of chickens. We also saw the tools required to collect eggs.

Salvador mentioned, “Think of the eggs. After the chick cracks the shell, can it re-enter the safety of the egg? Can you go back into the womb of your mother?”

Salvador showed how graphic he could be with the words, “The attempt is called incest, not valor.”

Salvador took us into the house where the chicken rancher lived. He took the followers of Curtis and the fundamentalists in the bedroom and opened the closet.

Salvador asked the chicken rancher who was in the room, “Can you wear the clothes you wore in grade school?”

The rancher looked at him funny and answered, “Of course not.”

Salvador asked the others in the room, “Can you?”

They just laughed.

Salvador asked, “Can you wear the clothes you wore on your wedding day?”

One man answered, “I can.”

Salvador added, “For most of us, even this is a preposterous joke.”

A new day is dawning on the lake.

Salvador informed those present, “There is a new world dawning upon you that comes from your growth as a person, and our growth as a Christian community. You can stand outside the reception but you cannot stop it.”

Salvador commented, “No one who has been drinking up the old ways desires new. Instead, he says, ‘the good old days were very good.’ Remember when we had a Catholic President. Do you remember when we had nice jobs and homes in the suburbs? Remember when starting a new job meant filling out an employment application and starting on Monday.”

Baltimore Catechism. The format was simple but laid out everything nicely.

Salvador observed, “Remember the old Baltimore Catechism. It still is the best Catechism on the market you know. Remember the nuns with willow switches and mean tempers. Why were they so mean if everything was so right? Remember a religious service in a foreign language that no one understood?” The old ways were nice, the new ways can be better.”

Salvador snapped, “Mitakuye oyasin! mee-DAK-oo-yay. o-yah-seen.”

We continued with our travels.


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