What possibly could be the connection between pastor Ellis and Donald Trump? It's strange the way the mind works. This morning on my way into town to have breakfast with my friend Willie, the rumors of "quid pro quo" arrangements between foreign governments and the Clinton foundation popped into my head. I have no idea what is or is not true about these allegations, but that term just appeared before me. It is from the Latin and means, "this for that," an arrangement where it is understood that if you give me something, I'll give you something in return. It usually refers to illegal or shady dealings. It were these rumors that were partly responsible for Trump's surprise election victory a couple weeks ago.
It's the Latin part that caught my attention. When I was in seventh grade, I already knew I was to be in some sort of Christian ministry. I thought it would be on the mission field, but the conviction was already there. Our guidance counselor, who I suspect was Roman Catholic for reasons I'll explain, suggested that I take Latin because that was the language of the Church and of the Bible. Vatican II had only recently taken place, changing the Mass from Latin to the native tongue of the believers, but for those who had grown up in the years prior to 1959, Latin was clearly the language of the church. I don't fault that counselor for not knowing that the Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. He figured I needed to know Latin if I were to know the Bible.
So Latin, it was, along with all the little phrases that come with learning a language that is foundational to our own, especially in the legal, theological, and medical fields. Those words that somehow surfaced as I topped Airport Hill took me back to God's call upon my life and pastor Charles Ellis who was, and still remains, my model for pastoral ministry. Pastor Ellis died nearly twenty years ago, and probably had never even heard of Donald Trump, but today they were connected in my mind as current events and a Latin phrase took me back to those days when I was barely thirteen, but hearing God's call clearly enough to enroll in basic Latin in seventh grade.
Memory truly is a strange beast, but I am grateful tonight for words in today's news that triggered memories of long-ago events that changed my life.