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Perspective: Amazing Grace in a surprising place


Remember the old “Cheers” television series, the Boston bar “where everybody knows your name?” One segment focused on “Coach,” the old bartender, who learned that his close friend on the Boston Red Sox had died. After the funeral, Coach invited his baseball friends to the Cheers bar to honor their departed colleague.

After setting up a life-size cutout of his friend, Coach went to the bathroom before everyone arrived. While there, he overheard one of his friends tell another guy how their honored friend played around with women, including Coach’s wife. Shocked and angry, Coach stormed to the mic and announced what he had just learned. This prompted others to admit, “Yeah, it happened to me too!” Incensed, Coach grabbed the cardboard image of his friend and yelled, “Let’s go outside and hang this creep!” To whoops of “Yeah, let’s!” they all tramped out the door.

While they began to climb the steps from the basement bar, Diane, the waitress, took the mic and began singing, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.” Hearing this, the men returned slowly to Cheers, standing quiet, listening reverently to the remainder of the hymn.

For Christians, today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent when we receive a smear of ashes on our foreheads –- a reminder to own up to our sins, so we can be “found,” and our hearts opened to forgiveness once again.

I’m Connie Seraphine and that is my Ash Wednesday perspective.

Connie Seraphine is a Sycamore-area writer and poet.