Rachel had fallen into a routine of working her night shift at the Coffee Cafe, followed by a lonely walk to the subway and thinking about how much she missed Frank showing up, shower and bed when she got home, short conversations with Clara when she could, then dress for work but go to the hospital, where she would sit at the side of Frank’s bed praying he would suddenly wake up.
“Where are you God?” she found herself asking on the 7th day of her vigil, but then caught herself. “I’m sorry God. I know you’re here with us. I’m sorry for getting discouraged and doubting you. Please forgive me.”
Once again she began questioning her relationship. Is this what Jesus did? She felt in such a hopeless rut. The really good Christians, as she thought of them, were at church services 2-3 times a week. They were involved in various church programs. They tithed at least 10% of their gross income. They became church members, read their Bible through in a year, every year, so many things the church recommended doing to be a good Christian. Rachel had never quite lived up to all those things. Her life just didn’t fit that box. But from what she could see, Jesus didn’t fit the church box either. But what did she know? They were the experts. Pastor Simmons had a Master’s Degree in Theology. She could only be more wrong, and that made her feel even more unworthy.
How could she rise to that level? Every time she thought of it, all she saw was a prison of programs digging an even deeper rut! She loved freedom! A life flowing with meaning, purpose, and opportunity. And so as she dared to rise from her chair one more time and pray a prayer for Frank, she began, “Dear Lord, I’m so confused on what is right. I’m sorry I fall short in so many ways. I must be such a disappointment. I’m sorry such a programmed life does not appeal to me. And my prayers seem shallow. But Frank needs you, and for some reason I’m the one you put here at his side. I know the church is praying too, and Pastor Simmons stopped in on his hospital rounds. I do appreciate that, Lord. I’ll try to do better, but please let Frank come back to us. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Having an after thought, Rachel added one more thing, “Lord, I’ve been telling Agatha, at the cafe, about you. She enjoys our conversations, but does not want to go to church. She says she don’t need all that hype. I don’t know how to convince her, Lord. I mentioned Baptism and she said I could baptize her! I don’t know how to do that! I’m not even qualified, am I? Please help me to help her, Lord. Amen.”
Once again thousands of miles away in the Amazon jungle, Yinney was in his 7th Day Tree teaching. Lu-Lu, Me-Me, and Jo-Jo had showed up to hear about his 6 day journey. And after telling them in detail about Capy, Kujo, and Bubba, he went on to ask a question, “So how do we create true ‘community’?” he asked. “How do we have true ‘communion’?”
The question hung in the air like a lead balloon. Me-Me looked at Jo-Jo. Jo-Jo looked at Lu-Lu. Lu-Lu looked at Me-Me. No one was saying anything until all three suddenly answered at the same time and Yinney couldn’t decipher a single word they said.
“Okay. Very good!” he said. “Lu-Lu, why don’t you go first.”
“Love your neighbor as yourself?” she answered as a question.
“Me-Me?” Yinney said.
“Invite people to join our fellowship!” she proudly answered.
“Pray for people,” she stated.
“All very good answers,” Yinney confirmed, and the macaws looked at each other very happy at their performance. Then he asked another question, “What does it mean to be a priest to your neighborhood?”
“It means being ordained after much study of God’s Word, so you can teach it properly,” Jo-Jo quickly answered.
“It can mean that,” Yinney agreed, “But, what if I told you, you became a priest of the Most High God the moment you entered into Christ by your own profession of faith? And God considers you a priest to wherever you are planted, i.e., your own neighborhood, workplace, wherever God has planted you. You are a priest of God’s ‘Communion’, even the Lord’s Welcoming Table, his Last Supper. As a priest you have a Communion with our Creator that only a child of God can offer to your community. The community we hope to grow, like a garden, is a community in love with God, knowing God, and coming to know him more as we fellowship like a family in Him.”
The 3 macaws stared at Yinney as if he had just invented the light bulb, or time travel. They were in awe and dumbfounded at the same time. Lu-Lu finally began slowly asking, “Could you say that again so I could write it down? I’m not sure I heard you right.” All three macaws were nodding their heads in agreement.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. A people for God’s own possession…” (I Peter 2:9)
“…you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood…” (I Peter 2:5)
“And he has made us be a Kingdom of priest…” (Rev. 1:6)
Yinney ended his quoting. Then Lu-Lu said, “I guess I did hear that right. Could you repeat those three verse locations?”
The continuing story of “Yinney the Sloth who needed to Poo” is property of Don Allen and Fellowship of the White Path.