Local Churches Benefit From Tharnish’s Essay

Give a man a mission and ask him to put that mission into words.  The end result can be pretty darn amazing.
Elgin’s Greg Tharnish found a mission when he took on the challenge of entering the Norfolk Daily New’s (NDN) essay contest “272: The Power of Words”.  The contest asked entrants to write about their passion. To honor the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, that essay needed to consist of 272 words – the precise length of the historically inspiring yet brief speech at one of (if not THE) most famous battle grounds from the Civil War.
Out of the 30 entries received, Tharnish’s was chosen the winner.
What was the subject of this award-winning essay? Two simple words: Our Father. He decided to mix two of his passions – writing and religion – and came up with a winning recipe. “I guess my inspiration was, people tend to thank God daily for our gifts when terrible things happen, like 9/11 when people flocked to church. Or when good things happen,” Tharnish said. “And I thought, what about days just like today?  The “ordinariness”  of life, we need thank God for those days too.”
A prize of $500 is to be paid to the charity of the winner’s choice. Given his choice of the subject matter, no one in Elgin should be surprised at his choice of charity. The NDN will be dividing the prize check for $500 five ways as he asked that the prize be divided among Elgin’s four churches (his parish of St. Boniface Catholic, Trinity Lutheran, United Methodist and Park Center Congregationl/UCC) and St. Bonaventure Catholic in neighboring Raeville.
Here’s the essay:
Before the four winds blew and the seven wonders of the natural world were still just an idea, Our Father lived.  His Son gave us the words of praise to Him, beginning with those two words that speak volumes: “Our Father.”  When recited, we should know that, first of all, “our” indicates that we are one human family.  There is no distinction between race, religion, sex, or nationality.  “Father” insists that we are His children.  We may be a ninety-year old or a nine-year-old, but when we say “Our Father” we are speaking as children in His eyes.
Let’s not forget, less we go astray, the greatness of what Our Father has given us.  Let’s not forget to share these great gifts with those brothers and sisters of ours that God loves as much as us; brothers and sisters who’ve suffered from war, disease, and natural disasters; brothers and sisters who may have never heard of Our Father except through our words and, more importantly, our deeds.
As we grow older, our days may seem long while our years may seem short.  May we live not marking the years, but marking each day as a gift.  Not just when times are good or bad, but every day when we wake, let us praise and glorify Our Father who’s given us the greatest of gifts: our freedom of will.  Our freedom to worship or not worship.  Our freedom to create or destroy.  Our freedom to love or live in fear.  It is an awesome responsibility, this freedom, but one we must embrace.  It is one we must choose.  And finally, one we must share.