Mudcat Café message #1528630 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #36225   Message #1528630
Posted By: Jerry Rasmussen
26-Jul-05 - 08:38 AM
Thread Name: Writing Someone Alive to Say Thanks!
Subject: RE: Writing Someone Alive to Say Thanks!
This thread started before I was on the Cat, and it's personally very timely. Last night, before I went to bed, I wrote a long letter to the Pastor of the church we go to in New Haven, CT. Sometimes, we have the honor of seeing someone blossom in front of our eyes... to see a transformation in character that is deeply moving. Rev. Ross-Lee is one of those people.

My wife and I started attending the church in New Haven a year ago, when I joined a Men's Chorus made up mostly of members of the church.
When we first went to the church, we were puzzled because the Pastor read his sermons. We couldn't understand why, because he is a powerful speaker. A year ago, he was still feeling his way in a new position, and seemed to need to rely on a written sermon. As the year has progressed, he has become more comfortable, and a couple of months ago, he put his written sermon away, and just spoke from the heart. And he hasn't written out a sermon since.

This summer, my wife and I visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. Museum and historic district in Atlanta, and I bought a boxed set of CDs of several of his most famous speeches. It is amazing the power you feel, listening to a voice coming out of a speaker. There will never be another Martin Luther King, Jr. That said, there are times now when I listen to the Pastor of the New Haven Church when I feel as strongly moved as when I listen to Martin Luther King, Jr. Rev. Samuel Ross-Lee can set a church on fire, and he seems to rise in stature when he is taken over by the Spirit. He often deals with serious problems in the city, from youth gangs and drugs, to a recent movement by the church to promote adoption of orphans. I understand why he has such a commitment to that issue, as he was an orphan who was blessed to be adopted by a loving family. He went on to get his degree from Harvard, and now is using all that he has been given to be a powerful source for justice and love.

And so, I wrote him a long letter last night, telling him all these things. If we are blessed, we might receive one or two letters in a lifetime telling us how much we have meant in someone's life. Most of the praise tends to go to well known people like Dylan, or Baez of Seeger. They are all deserving of praise, and they have given me a lot. But, it is the unassuming persons we cross paths with in our daily lives that often are the greatest inspiration to us.

Let me tell you sometime about Willie C. He's a barber in Hew Haven and the shortest giant among men I've every had the honor of knowing.