It was Lent when the minister called Charlie into his office, his long time church janitor. "Charlie" said the pastor, "I wonder if you could help me with the service this Sunday?" Charlie scratched his head and said 'Sure, in what way?" "Well, I need you to move a piece of furniture around repeatedly."
Sunday came, and the service began normally enough, but when the sermon started something odd happened-- the janitor came in and began picking up the large stationery cross that sat on the podium and moved it, and the minister appeared to be oblivious. Even more odd was the fact that the janitor moved the cross repeatedly yelling out days of the week.
Yet the minister just kept preaching about discipleship. The other odd thing about the service was that no lector had read the Gospel lesson for the day. Rather the minister had simply launched into his preaching at the appropriate juncture.
At first the congregation thought the actions of the janitor odd, and inappropriate even scandalous and sacrilegious , but since the minister kept ignoring it, they pretended to ignore what was going on as well and focused on the minister.
Yet it was hard not to focus on what was happening to the beautiful large embossed wooden cross. At one point the janitor picked up the cross and lugged it down the central aisle plopping it down in the middle of the congregation hollering out "Wednesday". The next thing they knew, after he had rested for a few minutes he carried it all the way behind the congregation and put it first in the right side aisle, then in the left. And as the sermon was drawing to a close the janitor lugged the cross back onto the podium and set it down shouting "Sunday!"
At this juncture, the minister then said "In any given church, the heaviest piece of furniture to pick up and carry is always the cross", and then turning to the Gospel of St. Luke he read the lection for the day-- "If any one would come after me, let them take up their cross daily, and follow me." After which he closed the Bible and said 'Amen'.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
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My prayer is that as 21st Century Christians we will understand Jesus' statement, "If anyone would come after me he must take up his cross and follow me." God may we understand in our self-centered world what it means to die dialy. Amen!
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