Sometimes what happens to us in real life is way too funny to have been made up. On that note, and by request, I shall now share the “story of Jesus” as it happened to me this past November.
It started with a phrase from the pulpit….”that I do not care if it rains or freezes”…. Spoken by the senior pastor of a prominent church that has graced its corner of a major city for 195 years…. Now if you are of an older generation, you very well may know the rest of the quotation. And if you do, then you know where this post is going and can opt to leave us now or continue on knowing that we are not going to be telling any biblical verse and may very well offend those who lack a sense of humor. Make your choice now….
So the entire phrase from which came the quote is thus… “I don’t care if it rains or freezes, as long as I have my plastic Jesus, sitting on the dashboard of my car!” Now I grew up hearing that from my Dad who in turn heard it from his Mom, so imagine the delight in hearing it spoken from the alter itself. I was not present for this sermon but the reference was related to me as soon as the doors were open and phones turned back on.
The senior pastor and his wife, and others who attend this church were to be my guests at the upcoming Serpentine Table, a mere 5 days away. An idea was hatched. I had to get my hands on a plastic Jesus.
My best bet was to check the local Catholic store down the street. I am not Catholic but still a Christian so I figured I was allowed in. It is a big store. I wandered through items for the car, table ware, books, games, audio things, decorator items, toys and as I told my friends later, a lot of Pope. I was not sure what I was looking for until I found the boxed saints. Now I am sorry if I offend anybody with my next comment, but to me, since they were lined up three deep on metal hanger pegs, row upon row, my first thought was that they looked like action figures. The contents (the Saint) was visible in the plastic window of the packaging. The packaging had images related to the Saint, and a story/description was on the back. I figured I had to be in the right place.
The Saints were arranged in alphabetical order so I naturally looked under the J’s. No luck. But maybe “last name” first was how I should approach my quest, but nothing under C either. Hmmmm… best to just start at one end and work my way across and down the three panel display rack. Not being Catholic I did not know of any other way to search. Wearing a skirt, the process of nearing the bottom required me to kneel down on the floor. And there he was…..
At that moment, I kid you not, a very helpful sales lady came over to me and with her hands clasped together, leaned over and asked me “Have you found what you are looking for?” In my hands is the boxed Jesus….I had just been given the most perfect opening line…. I so wanted to say it…my lips curled in tight and I stifled the urge to laugh out loud…..but I did not. I could not in all good faith reply that “Yes, I have found Jesus.” A moment passed while I pulled the box off the hook and knowing I had to say something, asked her in the calmest voice I could muster…”Do you know what these are made of?” She replied that “yes, they were resin.” I smiled and said thank you. In my hands was the coveted official plastic Jesus. So I bought two.
After dinner and before dessert, I made my presentation of the plastic Jesus to our senior pastor (and one for my Dad) who both erupted in fits of laughter as I reenacted my finding of Jesus. But once we all calmed down and the tears were dried, I had to remind him of the best part yet….Christ is resin.
It was a moment that shall live in infamy at all Serpentine Tables to come. God bless you all this coming year.