Tag Archives: Sunday school

Bible Times

Here are a couple of paragraphs that got cut from the communion message I posted last week.  At one point I thought I was going to write about the Prodigal Son, a story that our pastor has been preaching on for the last few weeks. Early on in the writing I changed direction, which resulted in these two paragraphs being cut.  I’d like to revisit this bible-times version of myself sometime. I’ve always wanted a wife who carries water on her head. (My mental image of bible-times will always be the Sunday school felt-board people and their accouterments.)


The gospels are full of stories that Jesus told in an attempt to explain what god is like, and what the kingdom of god is like, and even I think, how we are supposed to be.  Some of these stories, like the one Matthew’s been preaching about, we love.  They are our favorite parts of the bible. We get them. They’re the ones that if someone said, “What’s so great about Jesus?” we could answer by retelling one of these stories.

On the other hand, there are those stories that make us make that face and shrug. Sometimes I read the bible like I’m there where the action is going on, and then my mind wanders and begins to fill in the blanks.  And I find myself walking into my little adobe type bible house, made of mud or something with the ceiling beams sticking out the front and back, and my bible wife, in a robe of course, with maybe a big jug of water on her head, says, “What did Jesus talk about today, hon?” And I shrug and say, “I don’t know, something about if you know you’re going to be fired, you should give away all your boss’s stuff or something.” I pause to pop a couple olives in my mouth. “It was no Prodigal Son story, I can tell you that.”

Happy Birthday


This is an old Sunday school birthday pin. Somehow I still remember the little intro song that the teacher sang before the class joined in with “Happy Birthday.”

Today is the birthday, I wonder of whom.
It must be of someone who’s right in this room.
So look all around you for somebody who
Is happy and smiling. My goodness it’s you!

(And everyone sings) Happy birthday to you . . .

If fact, this is exactly what happens in my classroom when I find out it’s someone’s birthday. Yeah, I mostly teach high school students.  And you know what. They love it!

I wonder what a few dozen of these buttons would cost me every year?

In the Lonliness

Some childhood memories stay with you, as clear as they day they happened.  But the meaning of those memories changes I think.


Walking slowly.

Hanging back.

Brows furrowed,

partly from the morning sun

partly in fear.


One of the last through the doors,

cold heavy steel pushes against my bare arms

encouraging escape.


A wave of ammonia hits me in the face as soon as I step in,

mingled with the odors of sweat, vomit, loneliness and death,

they drive through my nose and mouth, up my eyes, through my forehead,

and into the section of my brain programed for fight or flight.


A howl scream moan comes from somewhere inside.

I hesitate in the doorway.

My Sunday school teacher bumps into me and

gently pushes me into the entryway.


The other kids have formed a line.

Last in, I find myself at the end,



Children sing while I scan the room.

Three grandmothers sit near us,

smiling, keeping time with their heads and feet.

Others, further back, sit, staring at nothing.


Wandering zombies complete the picture.

One closes in from the left.

Slowly spinning, her wheelchair describing a large arc,

propelled by one tenacious foot, the only part of her that seems to live.


As she eases past I catch her eye.

Her head tilted, translucent sagging skin melts off her face

and mingles with the line of spit dangling from her open mouth.

As her eyes meet mine, she greets me.  “Aarrrrrrghhhhhhh.”



Does her foot pause as she passes me?  Her chair slow?


I look away, pretend to sing,

stare at the back of the room, at nothing,

wait for this to end, and

try not to breath

in the loneliness.