Welcome to 2020! For those who made resolutions, I hope your resolve has been steadfast. For those who made and forgot them, you are not alone. And for those who haven’t made a resolution for any number of reasons, I offer a phrase I used to tell my son, Adam after he’d whine, “but you promised.” I began saying to his numerous childhood requests, “No promises made, no promises broken.” No matter where you are in your new year journey, I pray 2020 is a good year for you.
This past week I heard a story about a little old lady in Pasadena. Maurine Kornfield, who is 97, grew up during the depression. She challenged her family’s expectations by attending the University of Chicago and getting her degree in social work. Maurine and her brother moved to California where she began working for the Los Angeles Unified School District, and later for the National Council of Jewish Women in programs that helped working mothers with childcare needs. Later still she worked for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center creating a foster grandparent program. But her latest claim to fame is the fact that she is a world class swimmer. At 97, the Mighty Mo’, as she is called, holds 16 age-group world records, 26 U.S. bests and dozens of national championship titles. Did I mention she didn’t begin swimming until she was in her 60s?
I love the story of Mo and her ability to continue challenging herself even when many people are looking at the chair on the porch with anticipation. As she says regarding her swimming the backstroke, “In the backstroke, I can look up and see the sky, the trees and the hills. Occasionally, you can even spot some Canadian geese flying by.”
The strength of Maurine comes from working her muscles in water. Water, as many of us know, takes the pressure off the body, and helps ease our physical movement. This coming week we will be talking about water as we meditate on Jesus’ baptism as written in Matthew 3:13-17. Through baptism we are offered the ability to take pressure off our bodies and help ease our physical movement through the work of God. I hope you’ll join me on Sunday. Together we will wade in the water and look to the sky.