Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 25) Go Help Someone Else … October 16th, 2016

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Reverend Meningsbee

Meningsbee had always found it much easier to memorize the Beatitudes than to adhere to them.

Along with his “wayward wishings on the Web,” he seemed to have an inability to express consideration to other Earthlings. He didn’t feel animosity, just found that fellowshipping was better performed, in his mind, by reading a fine book.

When he woke up on Wednesday, it struck him that he had not interacted with Matrisse and little Hapsy for some time.

Guilt settled in.

Like many mortals, Meningsbee pretended to despise guilt, but often welcomed it as a warm comforter for a chilled thought. So the first thing he did was incriminate himself for failing to be in contact, and treating Matrisse like she was a drop-off center for abandoned children.

He fussed over that for a season, nearly sprouting a tear, and then was able to don appropriate pastoral garb and head off to her house. The activity did lift his spirits, and he began to feel like a preacher again. After all, when you stand behind the holy desk and thunder everlasting truths, it is good to give a damn about souls.

He arrived at the house, took a deep breath, and exited his car. As he walked up the steps to offer solace and comfort to Matrisse, the door flung open in front of him and there she was–squared off, staring at him as if some monster had invaded her porch.

“What do you want?” she challenged.

Stunned, he tried to respond. “I just came over…”

She interrupted. “You came over here because you’re a parson–and think you should interfere in people’s lives when they haven’t asked for your help.”

He paused, surprised, because she had pretty much nailed the situation. That’s exactly what he thought.

She continued. “Listen, Reverend, I’m not like other people. It’s not as if I despise them for being weak, but my thought is, I go to church to take the Word, to answer my questions, to create the sentences for me to go out and make a statement. I don’t cry a lot, but I also don’t bitch. I don’t fuss with other people, especially if they decide to learn their lesson and not fuss with me. And I don’t judge a young girl who had a baby because she forgot how to close her legs, who right now would rather be just a lost child herself. Hapsy seems happy. I feed her. I love her. She laughs. She thinks I have a big belly. So I pretend my stomach can talk, using my belly button as a mouth. She thinks that’s hilarious. I am not looking for help and most certainly–dear God–I’m not looking for pity or the wise words of some seminarian who spent too much time at the library. Let me take the message you preach on Sunday and act it out–so this little girl has a chance to be something other than a stripper, or a nervous sermon-maker.”

She took time out to breathe, glaring at Meningsbee, content she had made her point. He thought about explaining his motivations or trying to convey to her the need to let the community of believers share in her struggle, or just allowing him fifteen minutes to come inside and have a cup of her most delicious tea.

But he waited too long, because Matrisse punctuated her soliloquy with one final thought. This one was a little more tender.

“Listen, Richard. Why don’t you…”

She paused, leaning forward, changing over to a whisper.

“Go…find…someone…else…to help.”

Richard–Reverend Meningsbee–the Shepherd of the Garsonville Church–agreed.

He smiled, turned on his heel and walked back to his car.

As he climbed in, he thought, if the world had been filled with folks like Matrisse, Jesus could have retired instead of being buried by his critics.

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Good News and Better News … September 26th, 2016

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It is a medium-sized green table with retractable legs which we purchased at Wal-Mart about four years ago for $49.95.

tape-repairWe use it as a dining table in our motel room and it has faithfully served us many a meal, and even been put into service as a desk top for studious planning sessions. After all these years, it is a little beaten up, scarred and certainly worse the wear.

I could buy another table. I’m not cheap–it’s just that this table has not yet refused to stand up to its responsibilities. It continues to completely open itself up, offering its potential, although a bit bedraggled.

When I arrived at the Belleville United Methodist Church in Belleville, Michigan, and met so many intriguing individuals–including Pastor Jim–I was struck by the fact that most of us human beings are like my green table. We’ve been through some spills. We’ve been spread out, damaged and find ourselves in need of attention.

You can see in the picture where I have taken some duck tape to cover a multitude of errors.

Now here’s my thought–if we’re going to be a good church and reach people, the first thing we need to do is admit that we’ve been repaired. Yes, we’ve got the duck tape of salvation to prove it. We’re not pretty, but we’re still able to stand up.little-mirror-2

We also need to look in the mirror, not just for the purpose of good grooming, but to make note of our flaws before they become so obvious that we’re dubbed “ugly.”

So I carry a little mirror. I don’t like big mirrors–they display too much of me. But a little mirror lets me know that my face is still worth showing to the onlooker.

And I guess I want those people in Belleville to know that like a used Kleenex, I have already been put to the task, but well-used-3I’m still not ready to be thrown away.

Sometimes we look at older congregational members, and because they retired from their companies, we assume they’ve retired from life. Not so. None of us gets off that easy. Until we crawl into some sort of box and jettison off to heaven, we need to keep growing.

Yes, I’ve been used, but not abused, and I’m still worthy to be used some more.

And as you can see in the fourth picture, my table has some fresh tears. I haven’t gotten around to putting duck tape on them yet, but I’ll have to do so soon to keep them from spreading.

In other words, just like my table, I still have wounds. Sometimes I’m too touchy, so I keep coming back to church with my brothers and sisters because I need fixin’.

Many Americans don’t like to admit weakness. But the most powerful statement in life is, “I’m not good enough to be called good yet.” fresh-tear-4

In other words, don’t give up on me, don’t tell me I’m used up, but please remind me to look in my mirror and view my flaws.

The good news is, if visitors came to church and found human beings instead of folks trying to imitate what they think is righteous, they might just want to come back again.

The better news is, it’s much easier to live out life as a human instead of pretending you’re an angel.

 

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