They Certainly Needed That!

There is a story my Momma used to tell me from time to time when I was growing up. I was born a year too late to meet my grandfathers – so my Mom told me a lot of stories about them. My Dad’s father was a lawyer; my Mom’s father was a Lutheran pastor.

Her Dad used to greet his parishioners at the back of the church as they were leaving after the service. One day one of his female parishioners came out of the church, shook his hands and exclaimed:

Excellent Sermon, Pastor!

Then, after a slight pause, she continued:

They certainly needed that!

I never heard a description of the woman, but I’m sure you can imagine how she might have liked to embroider her story of those other people in the pews. Isn’t this one of the reasons people sometimes give for not wanting to go to church???  The good Christian b*tches?

Personally, I have no such issue. I’m not spending time examining the sins of others because I’ve got my hands full with my own sin stuff. It turns up in my life even when I’m trying to be a straight up kind of woman who tries to do the right thing. Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t obsess about sin, spend hours thinking about it, or worry myself sick about it. That being said, my Momma didn’t raise a fool, and I know it when I step in it. Sometimes it’s clear that it is getting kinda deep around here.

So, when I tell a Pastor that their sermon is good – one thing I can promise that I’m not thinking is “they certainly needed that.” More likely I’m thinking “ooh, that pinched a little too close to home for comfort.”

My day to day catalog looks a bit like this: I have a temper, a short fuse, too much pride and truth be told I can be judgmental, jealous, impatient, a whiner, and any number of other weaknesses du jour. So in the course of a typical day, I find that I’m fairly good at stirring up a lot of bad stuff on my own – often when I least expect it. But looking back over my life there are bigger things: more than a few bad choices, dark chapters and people whom I have wronged. I can say I’m sorry – but I can’t repair the damage. I can’t fix those things.

I have some friends in Virginia who have a farm with a lot of sheep. This spring they kept posting absolutely dear pictures and videos on their Facebook page of tiny new lambs.

The lamb picture that I’m posting at the bottom here is much different. Not cute, not sweet, but bound for slaughter. I know that I need this particular lamb very much. Maybe you do too. You’re in luck and thank God – so am I. He did this for us.

The Latin on the picture are the words of the liturgy of the church from the Gospel of John, Chapter 1:29.  Translated they are:

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
grant us peace.

A blessed Good Friday to you and yours.

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