my 40th high school reunion

i am getting old!

this weekend, the john f. kennedy class of 1981 had our 40th year reunion. it was a casual gathering in the courtyard of the school. nice dinner, refreshing beverages, name tags that fell often, a cool late summer breeze, faint music in the background was the ambience.

the organizers had asked me to do the benediction before the food was served. we had a moment of silence to pay our respects on the 20 year anniversary of the the september 11th tragedy.

as opposed to the 10th, 20th and 30th reunion gatherings, my evening strategy was different: plant myself in one place and talk to whomever appears in front of me. then, at the latter part, search out anyone who i want to see. it worked.

i was especially happy to talk to folks i grew up with in grade school– there were quite a few present!

i encountered all sorts of folks with whom i had not seen in years. we talked about other folks we had not seen in years. we remembered all sorts of experiences that we had not thought about in years. these were all graces and blessings.

there is a universal 40th reunion truth: we are all glad that social media and the internet did not exist when we were in high school to capture — and add to– our youthful indiscretions!

there is one thing i did not expect but should have foreseen: how much we talked about out ailments and health issues. there were two things that i knew would be a topics for conversation: grandchildren and retirement

it was especially wonderful to reminisce about favorite jfk teachers of memory. it always amazes me the differences in how we remember and interpret events. that which we remember often has great meaning for ourselves alone. others might not remember an experience at all– or interpret the same event much differently.

i wonder who will show up for our 50th reunion in 2031?

to close, here is a paraphrase of the prayer i led for this 40 year reunion:

let us begin with a moment of silence on this anniversary of september 11th….

gracious and loving God, we give you thanks for all of your blessings: life, our family our friends and this wonderful school of john f kennedy. we thank you for the wisdom and knowledge from education we had received here. we pray for all our classmates who are not here tonight.

we pray for the current students, faculty and staff. may the Spirit lead and guide them in their work. we pray for people who carry heavy crosses in life especially from covid, poverty, homelessness. be their strength in their struggles. we pray that we may be instruments of light and hope where there is darkness. may we be people of service and goodness.

we ask you Lord to bless us this evening. shower your joy upon us. may this evening be a time of renewed friendship and happy memories. may tonight be a reflection of the great love that you have for all of us. we ask you to bless the food we share– may it strengthen us to seek you in all things and do your will. we ask this blessing in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. amen

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