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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Casteel

This Sunday Morning

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

Though I'm no longer religious, there's something special about Sunday morning. It should be a time to relax and to share, a time for fellowship. There's no better way to spread fellowship than giving away a few flowers. My son loves doing this. How can you not be deeply touched when a three year old comes up and gives you a flower? There are people who will never forget the day he did that for them. There are still others who are too suspicious to accept a flower from a child and that's ok. Sometimes folks have too much other stuff going on to be in a place where they can accept a gift from a small child. And some folks just want to be left alone. He is always a little sad when this happens. He comes back with his head hanging low and says, "Why they no want a flower?". It's good extrovert practice for him. He get's a chance to start picking up on all the little cues that let you know if someone is receptive or wants to be left alone.

I grew up Pentecostal, and while I no longer believe all that I was taught, the experience has shaped the way I look at the world. It's part of the reason Sunday mornings are still special to me. It's easy to judge any religion based on the worst examples. There was no snake handling and no bigotry or homophobia at my church, though there was lots of hellfire, speaking in tongues and hugs. This didn't mean they were a very openminded church. They just pretended those things didn't exist.

Pentecostals are congregational. There is no one unifying body that defines what it means to be a pentecostal. Each congregation chooses what they believe. My congregation was too busy warning us about converting to Mormonism as the church was founded in Utah. This didn't leave any time for them to teach me to fear or hate anyone else. It eventually backfired, because by focusing on how Mormonism was a false religion, it made me critical of my own religion. Once I started to see the inconsistencies, there was no going back.

Still there are lessons from church I carry with me to this day. Reverend Cruver, who ran both the church and the elementary school that my father and I each attended, left a lasting impression on me. I even went to his funeral, where the church was packed with his former students. He taught us that the only way anyone can experience God's love is through our own acts of kindness. It is our job to care for everyone around us so that they can see that God love's them. It didn't matter who they are or what they've done, it is our job to make sure they're ok and bring them back into the fold.

That's why I help my son give away flowers. It's not God's love we're spreading. It's just love. It's an easy time to lose your faith in humanity. There's plenty of hate going around, but rather than lose myself to despair, I choose to spread cheer. I hope that he will see that love and cheer are not finite resources that you have to horde, but fires that spread if you only light the spark.

So if you're out walking and a little boy offers you a flower, take it. If you don't want it, pass it on. It will eventually get to someone who needs it. And they'll never forget what you did for them.

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