Thursday, May 8, 2008

Spring & Pentecost

Ah, the weather is doing its thing and there is warmth and budding and the hope of summer and flowers and gardens. I don't know if I can stand all this cheerfulness. How am I going to maintain my adversarial relationship to the world if the world starts being nice to me?
Life's a bitch.
It was nice to sit on the deck with a microbrew and watch the mergansers floating down the river, oh, and listen to the teenage goofs across the river riding their dirt bikes. I don't mind as long as they don't go on too long, and they have been more considerate since my neighbor, former chief of police in this little town, spoke to the parent. A little noise then they were gone, leaving me with the question: "Do they know what mufflers are?"

Day before yesterday I rode to Northampton with the windows down, enjoying the sun and warmth and spring air, with a lecture about Existentialism on the CD player. Who could ask for anything more?

Anyhoo, some flowers got planted, some weeds dug, flowerbeds cleaned. The cat rested in the rusting old red wheelbarrow I left in the blackberry bushes. It was there when I bought this place, and it reminded me of William Carlos Williams. So it stays.

For those of you who don't pay much attention to the church calendar, this Sunday is Pentecost. That's the day the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples (so it is said) and they got to speak in tongues. This is a big day for those guys. This is where it all starts to come together for them. Before, they have been sort of mixed up all along about what was going on. Very confusing, seeing their leader betrayed by one of their own, he dies, then he comes back, then he goes away again. Who wouldn't be confused? Poor guys. But now they start to see what the job is all about.

Basically, the disciples are a rum lot. Always confused, always looking in the wrong direction, as it were. Even a cursory reading of the Gospels leaves one with the idea that Jesus really could have used a good Human Resources person to vet the disciples. But he didn't have one and there it is. One changes the world with the people one has, not necessarily with the people one might desire.

Imagine a Human Resource person working for Redemption, Inc.:

"Hi, Levi? Nice to meet you, thanks for being on time. I see from your resumé you have been a tax collector. Not exactly the best training for this position, but it's better than being a fisherman. You have no idea how many fishermen I've had to interview already. Boooring—same old stories about fish and storms and whatnot. And they don't smell so hot. I gotta tell you, it'll be weeks before I can look at a tuna sandwich again."
(Why didn't I go to Rome when I had a chance? Jesus is a nice guy for an employer, but man, the people who come in here looking for work! Cripes.)

"But anyway, as you have been a lackey for the Roman occupation, doing pretty well, it seems, why are you looking for a career change at this point? As I said, doesn't seem to be much on this resumé to indicate an affinity for discipleship, particularly for a risky discipleship such as this."

"Oh, you just heard Jesus calling and knew this position was for you, eh? Just like those fishermen did and also that broad who came in who I'm sure has been working in a professional capacity, if you get my drift.
Well, since you're so sure, here's what it entails. First, the benefits are a staff and a bowl and if you're lucky, sandals. You'll spend most of your time being confused about what he's trying to tell you (and believe me, it's not easy. I've got three degrees and I still can't follow him when he gets on a roll), your salary gets paid "later" he says, and you'll be part of a close-knit team. On the down-side, this will likely be a pretty stressful job, trying to convert people to a new way of life, and you're most likely to end up dying a creatively horrible death.
You know how it is with the old timers, they just don't like having their routines challenged. Still interested?"

"Of course you are, you and the rest of the wackos. None of you believe me.
You make twelve, what He wanted. But then He gets to be thirteen, not a lucky number. I have a bad feeling about that. Anyway, be at the upstairs room at nine sharp tomorrow. And lose the gold chain, it's not part of the dress code. So what if your former boss, Maximus Gluteous, rewarded you with it for good collecting. You're leaving that life behind. Way behind. "

So that's it for me. I'm outa here. I hear Pontius Pilot has a position open. I just hope Himself has an actual check for me and doesn't give me that routine about me getting my reward later on. I gotta start saving for that boat trip to Rome"

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