After any holiday the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and myself enjoy taking a day or two off and just relax. We like to sit around and tell stories.
My wife usually starts by saying, “Hey, remember the time when…” And she goes on with a story that I had forgotten about. When she’s done, we laugh together.
Then it’s my turn and I begin, “Hey, do you remember the time when…” And I go on and tell a story that she may have forgotten about, I really don’t know. When I’m ﬁnished, we laugh together as though it was the funniest thing we’ve heard all day.
It’s just our way of relaxing and unwinding after a holiday. Holidays are very busy times for us, we like them, but they do take a little bit out of us. It seems that the older we get, the more it takes out of us. I’m not exactly sure what that means. Just don’t tell me what it means!
We usually go on with our stories until we’re too tired to tell a story or to laugh.
This last holiday the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came up with a story I had long ago forgotten.
In fact, I’m not sure the details of her story matched the truth, but who am I to contradict her.
“Remember the time,” she said rather soberly, “when the Easter Bunny got away?”
I had to stop and think a little bit because it was not in any of my memory ﬁles.
Then she began to unwind the story.
As it goes, according to her recollection, I was going to do a little magic trick for the children before they were dismissed from the morning service. I was going to pull a little bunny out of a hat. I practiced for quite a bit and thought I had everything covered.
I should know by now that the time you know you got everything covered there’s one little bit that deﬁes your observation.
I had all of the children come up front so that they could see the wonderful magic trick I had in store for them. I began by telling them the story of the resurrection of Jesus.
According to my wife, I was in the middle of telling them the story when in the back of the congregation Mrs. Steward screamed, “There’s a rat in the church.” With that, she jumped on top of the pew and did her famous afraid dance. You don’t want to see it. All the while she was screaming, “Rat, rat, rat.”
It was enough to bring the whole congregation to their feet yelling, “Where’s the rat?”
Having a rat in the church is not a good thing. I don’t know how a rat could get into the church unless he is elected to the board.
There was such a rumpus in the church auditorium that we really couldn’t go forward with the service. I didn’t quite know what to do because we had not taken the offering yet. Whatever happens after the offering is okay.
At this point I couldn’t get the attention of the children because they were standing on top of the pew looking backward, wondering where in the world the rat was or where it came from.
I got one of my elders to go back and try to take care of the situation. I never had a rat in the church before.
After a few minutes my elder found the “rat” and caught him. The “rat” turned out to be the little bunny I was supposed to have in the hat that I was going to surprise the children with.
How that Bunny got out of the box where I put him is still something that puzzles me to this day.
The elder held up the little white bunny and told everybody, “It’s okay, it’s not a rat, it’s a little bunny. A little bunny can hurt nobody.”
All of the congregation, including Mrs. Steward, sat down in their pew and laughed and laughed while clapping their hands for the elder who saved the day. I was even laughing and clapping myself.
I didn’t know what to do now that my magic trick was out the window, it was hard to get the attention of the little ones. I ﬁnally dismissed them to their classes and try to bring the congregation back to some level of sanity.
I can’t remember what my sermon was that day, but I do remember there was a lot of chuckling throughout my sermon. I’m not sure anybody was even listening to my sermon. I was tempted to preach the sermon the next Sunday, but it wasn’t Easter Sunday. I could keep it until next year, which is probably what I did.
Sometimes things are not always what they seem to be. The challenge is in the midst of turmoil to ﬁnd what is really true.
Perhaps this is what Solomon was thinking of when he said, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
There’s a big difference between a bunny and a rat. Sometimes we confuse the two and in that confusion, we cause alarm. I want to be able to differentiate between the Bunny element and the rat element in my life so that I can have peace and tranquility.
[Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Phone 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@ att.net. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com]