I Remember Oplatky

     My wife sent me this link recently. It brought back happy memories of my time in the Slovak Zion Synod- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and of St. John's Church in Lansford, PA. For about nine years I was rostered in this Synod, the longest of my ordained ministry. Three of those years were with St. John's the rest leave for graduate studies and then my Army deployment. I joked that I was in that Synod due to Affirmative Action, being primarily of Hungarian ancestry. Magyars (our true name) and Slovaks share a border and not much else.

     My first Advent in St. John's was marked by requests about oplatky. I had heard about them, primarily from Polish Catholics, but knew that Slovak Lutherans held the wafers in a special place also. It seems that my predecessor, also not a Slovak, allowed the oplatky to be ordered but if the money to pay for them did not come in, cancelled for the next year. One box of a hundred or so was less than $20, as I recall it.

     I even saw bulletin sand newsletter announcements that he wrote which were along the lines of "When I cam here, you assured me that the oplatky was part of YOUR tradition and that YOU would pay for them. But we had to cover the costs, so I stopped them."

    To me that sounded harsh. Several people came to me timidly, and some even tearfully, begging me for the oplatky. At a church council meeting I authorized ordering oplatky and said that if they were not paid for the costs would be covered somehow or the other.

     People were glad. Some came and asked for permission to take some for relatives. Several said they had no money right then. My answer was to smile and tell them to take whatever they wanted and to pay when they could.

     Now we live in South Carolina, and are far away from oplatky and so much more. But I am glad to remember those things that keep us anchored to faith and to tradition, not for its own sake, but for a larger purpose. The links explain more.