One always remembers acts of kindness. They are Spectacular.
Not that I'm not plugging our church's Spectacular Spectacular Free Community Christmas Concert at 6 p.m. Sunday in our sanctuary, featuring four Spectacular singers, five Spectacular instrumentalists and a Spectacular chorus to die for, sponsored by diverse local businesses with a Spectacular belief in our community.
I am doing just that.
I'm also making a point.
Oops, forgot. A Spectacular point.
We need Spectacular acts of kindness. Everywhere.
It's been more than 50 years, but when I was a small child in Magnolia, Ill., the Methodist Church burned down.
It was an old firetrap with a wiring problem that threw a spark late one night.
It was gone in a heartbeat and, thankfully, replaced by a beautiful new church within a year.
In the meantime, we had no place to go until Rabbi Stern called Rev. Johnson.
"Rev," he said, "please use our sanctuary on Sunday mornings till you rebuild."
"Thank you," said Johnson, "that's very Christian of you."
"Yes," said Stern. "And it's also very Jewish of me."
"Why, Rabbi Stern," said Johnson, "that's Spectacular!"
That's the point. The Spectacular point.
We are community. We are in oneness.
We are called to be about loving kindness.
Not some half-hearted, reluctant, inconvenienced, resigned, self-serving loving kindness.
Spectacular loving kindness.
All of us. All the time.
Despite our differences. Including our theological differences.
Last year, we joined with St. Joseph Catholic Church and Temple Beth El in sharing a three-night forum of faith.
You'd think in the 21st century that wouldn't be necessary, but it was. It helped us learn a lot about each other.
That learning was Spectacular.
Even more Spectacular, we found many of the members of those three houses of worship got along better with members of the other houses than with their own.
Isn't that Spectacular? Can't you see God dancing over that with Spectacular joy?
A wonderful -- I mean, Spectacular -- rabbi once taught me: "Whenever you read a repeated word in scripture, double, no, triple the word's importance. It's God's way of telling us something about which we're supposed to be paying particular attention. It's like saying,: Listen! Listen!"
That was a learning experience. Make that a Spectacular Spectacular learning experience.
Which is part of who, why and how our concert got its name. Given by someone whose theology I don't completely share, but whose ideals I do.
Those ideals, being celebrated right now as Hanukkah - the Festival of Lights - by all of our diverse Jewish friends, will be embraced in the same deep ways later this month when the many diverse peoples of my faith celebrate Christmas.
We will give each other room and grace to do this. More importantly, we will give each other space to do this. And we will make space, too. Spectacular Spectacular space. To be celebrated together at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Free Spectacular Spectacular.
The Rev. Dr. Robert Sichta, Congregational United Church of Christ, 3700 26th St. W., Bradenton, can be reached by calling 941-756-1018 or e-mailing PBKAlpha1@gmail.com. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday's Herald, written by local clergy members.