a new year, with new opportunities to banter around familiar clichés such as
"taking time on the journey," cultivating "spirituality but not religion" and
"going on retreat." Most of us agree that solitude is key to all of these
endeavors, and that solitude is a good thing.
I am among those called to lead people in confessing sin and announcing God's forgiveness in the Sunday liturgy, an essential action never altogether free from the threat of routinized going-through-the-motions. This action is anything but routine, however, when it occurs in the setting I described in my lectionary column for the Century on this week's Gospel lesson.
FedEx donated an old wide-body MD-10 plane to Orbis International, whose mission it is to fight blindness. A team of FedEx employees and retirees from FedEx and McDonnell Douglas refurbished the plane as a hospital for treating the eye—the only such plane in the world. There are 39 million blind people and 285 million visually impaired people around the world. Eighty percent of visual impairments can be avoided or cured (Ophthalmology Times, June 7).