Sunday, August 3, 2008

Jesus in the Cafe V - Then There Were Three

(Please read the previous five posts before continuing with this story.)

In the last scene, Jake storms out of the café, leaving Jesus, Lacey and Melvin sitting in silence.

Jesus: “The lesson this morning is about idols. That’s the great wall that separates most men, and women (smiling and looking at Lacey), from me. The dollar and religion are some of the strongest and most common of the idol faces.”

Lacey: “Jesus, I feel sad about this. Will we ever see Jake and John again?”

Jesus: “If you are really asking if you see them, then the answer is certainly. John will be around town, but will not come back to your church and he wasn't planning on coming bqck anyway. But, I think he will come around again. On the other hand, you will see Jake regularly and that’s the great travesty.”

Lacey, looking puzzled: “How’s that? I’m confused.”

Jesus: “The face of Jake’s idol is his religion. He will keep his post as church elder and continue on worshiping his idol. It would be better for him, and more encouraging for me, if he left his idol so he could find me. But, between the idol faces of money and religion, religion cast the greater enchantment.”

Melvin: “You keep using the term ‘face of the idol” and I’m not sure what you mean by that.”

Jesus: “Of course all idols are the self, but they just take on different faces. John takes the face of money, because he allows money to define his persona. Without money, he fears, he would be nothing. The same is true for Jake. First it was sports then it became religion. Without them, he would quickly have to find another face to fill the void . . . say money.” (then Jesus chuckles quietly).

“But of course the only thing that satisfies, which can really fill that void is not the self, but God’s gift of Me. That’s why, to the thirsty desert dwellers, I called Myself ‘living water.’ To this generation I would have call Myself the ‘true religion or philosophy’ or perhaps the ‘true money.’

(Jesus looks over at the pan of water, washcloth and towel, which Maria has brought. He reaches for it and pulls it closer)

Jesus: “This brings me back to the two of you. Are you going to leave me too?”

Lacey: “No! Jesus, without you I have no place to go. It doesn’t seem fair (but again catching her verbage) HOWEVER I’m sure it is fair, that you asked John to give up a million dollars for you and you’ve only asked me to eat waffles and ice cream . . . free waffles and ice cream at that.”

Jesus: “Lacey, the face of your idol, your physical self-image, is no less a beast than John’s great wealth. It’s just has dangerous and cruel. There are many people, far too numerous to count, who have forsaken Me because of their physical self-esteem. It would have taken John only a few years to replenish his retirement account. Didn’t it take you more than three years to shed the weight that you wanted?”

Lacey: “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

(Jesus turns and stares at Melvin)

Jesus: “And Melvin, what about you? Do you want to leave me?”

Melvin: “No, my Lord. But you haven’t asked anything of me yet.”

Jesus: “That’s right. It is now your time and your assignment.”

(Jesus turns to face Lacey again, but glancing back and forth between her and Melvin)

Jesus: “Lacey, you don’t know Melvin’s story and I’m sure it will not be easy for him as I tell it. But Melvin, when he was only a very young child, had his innocence taken cruelly away by a evil man. Melvin was raped.”

(Melvin’s eyes look immediately downcast like he can not bear the embarrassment. Lacey’s eyes fill with tears)

Jesus: “From that day onward, he has not been the same. He has carried on his back an unfathomable amount of shame. His shame has become the face of his idol. He can not give it up because in doing so, he is afraid he will loose himself. Yes, Melvin does know me and I he, but the face of his idol keeps him form experiencing the purity that I died for.

For, you see, while Melvin and Jake may appear as opposites . . . Jake so confident and self-assured, while Melvin seems weak and intimidated . . . they are actually very close. They both have used religion as their cover. The only difference is that Jake thinks he succeeded in it, but Melvin knows he hasn’t. Melvin feels the shame every day. No matter how many Awana badges he earned, how many church services he went to, how many hours he listen to preachers on the Christian radio station . . . none of it would extinguish his agony of shame.”

Lacey: “But that’s so unfair. Melvin didn’t do anything to merit that kind of shame.”

(Melvin is starting to cry, but remains silent)

Jesus: “Lacey, did you deserve to be called Pigey in high school? This is fallen and cruel world. Injustice dominates since the Fall . . . but my blood became the great equalizer.”

(He reaches over and grasp Melvin’s chin and pulls his head up so he is making eye contact with Himself)

Jesus: “It’s your turn Melvin.” He sets the pan between them.

Melvin: (holding back the tears) “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus: (smiling and thinking) “Let me ask you a cultural question. In your society which is the most offense statement, ‘Kiss my foot’ or ‘Kiss my butt?’”

Melvin: “Uh . . . I guess ‘Kiss my butt.’”

Jesus: “That’s what I thought. So it will be your butt. Your society deems the butt as the most shameful place of your physical body, while in the New Testament society it was the foot.”

(Melvin looks horrified as Lacey just perplexed.)

Jesus (standing up now with the towel draped over his arm): "Okay, Melvin, drop your pants.”

Lacey: “He can’t do that here in the café . . . not in public.”

Jesus: “Fine. Then loosen your belt so I can reach your buttocks.”

Melvin (while following Jesus’ directive and loosening his belt): “Jesus, you can’t do this either here . . . not in public. Jesus I can’t let you touch my butt.”

Jesus: “I will do it here in public and Melvin, my son, if you cannot allow me to touch your butt, then how on earth could you allow me to touch the really filthy part of you . . .your heart?”

(Melvin doesn’t speak another word while Jesus tenderly wrings out the wash cloth in the pan of water. He motions for Melvin to bend over the table while He reaching inside his pants and boxers and washes his buttocks. The other people, Maria and the other café staff watch and are dumfounded.”

Lacey’s Id: These people will think we, and our whole church are nuts. But something amazing is happening here and I can’t get in the way.

(Jesus finishes, dries off Melvin’s buttocks and then Melvin tightens up his belt. When he looks up again, his eyes are red from crying. He and Jesus take a seat)

Jesus: “One last assignment for you Melvin. I would like for you to get up in front of the church next Sunday morning. I want you to tell the story about your rape, your shame and how I’ve completely cleansed you.”

Melvin’s Id: I can't do this. Crowds terrify me, especially church crowds. I will have a terrible panic attack . . .”God help me to do this. I want to do this but I am terrified. Please God help me.”

Lacey: “Jesus, Pastor Dan would never allow someone to share something like that in the middle of church service. Everything must be scripted and he really, really frowns on such personal things to be shared in public.”

Jesus: “Well, I guess next Sunday will be a little nerve racking for pour pastor Dan.”

Melvin’s Id: Maybe there is a way out of this.

Melvin: “Jesus, you know for me to share something so personal would be traumatic for our church. A lot of people would be offended. Many would never speak to me again.”

Jesus: “Actually, only a few will be offended. Pastor Dan will be offended. Jake will be offended plus a handful of others. However, Melvin, there are five other men whom have been raped when they were young boys . . . and about forty women have been raped or sexually molested in their lives. They long to hear your message. The message I’ve written on your life.”

(Jesus stands and looks at Melvin and Lacey. He puts his hands on their shoulders)

Jesus: “I guess I’m finished here and it looks like I've really disrupted your little prayer breakfast . . . something like . . . what do you say, ‘A bull in a china shop.’”

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