Starving For God, Part Two

The chapter was titled, “The Making of a Minister”. It was a story I read where a pastor shared about the man who was: “poor before he died, unkempt, obscene, sardonic, arrogant, old, old, lonely, black, and bitter – but one whose soul has never ceased to touch me.” The man whom the pastor visited in his “rotting stuffed chair in that room, from which he seldom stirred the last year of his life.” One man whom, “no one felt moved to visit when he became housebound.” From the beginning he did not like to visit the man. He didn’t want a quick Psalm, he wanted to  debate the goodness of God, though a seventy year churchgoer. When the pastor leaves him, he was, “empty in my soul and close to tears, and testy, my own faith seeming most stale, flat, unprofitable at the moment.”

“Naked, he greeted me. Naked, finally, the old man asked my prayers and the devout performance of private worship – and we prayed. Naked, too, demanded Communion. Oh, these were not the conditions I had imagined (three years into his ministry). It is an embarrassing thing, to put bread into the mouth of a naked man: ‘My body, my blood,’ and his belly and groin – he had raised the level of my sacrifice to anguish. I was mortified.”

On and on the story goes. The man dies and is the only parishioner to whom the pastor wept uncontrollably for. “In the terrible, terrible doing of ministry is the minister born. And, curiously, the best teachers of that nascent minister are sometimes the neediest people, foul to touch, unworthy, ungiving, unlovely, yet haughty in demanding – and then miraculously receiving – love. These poor, forever with us, are our riches.”

I slurped the words up like the parched soul that I am. Living in a society heavy laden with the burdens of material wealth, beauty, and self.

So as the story went in Part One:

“I want to go out and meet these people whom God has helped in real and gritty and messy and beautiful ways and write a book about it; a compilation of stories of redemption and grace.”

I continue:

I want to hear their stories; sit on their sofa’s; meet their kids, their pets; I want to feel their tears on my hands; smell the grace spill from the lips as they recall their journey. I want to walk through the sitting and shedding of grief, no matter how long or messy, with those made in His image. To do this and not be concerned with worldly, cultural, and materialistic matters – whether my shoes match my top, how big my diamond is, what brand my purse is, etc. To do this in and for the lives of other people, people like me, and not give a second thought to whether I have new windows in my home or air conditioning in my car. To take the real and gritty and messy and beautiful stories of the loosed chains, the blind eyes opened, the prisoners freed, the light in dark places. Here. Now.  Put those stories into words and package it up to send out to a world starving for God. That. To do that. Knocks all other things off my bucket list.

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About Becky Johnson

I am a lover of life & laughter. I live and write with my heart on my sleeve. I love George Straight, Tom Petty & Jesus. But not in that order. Be prepared for anything, really. View all posts by Becky Johnson

7 responses to “Starving For God, Part Two

  • Shanda

    I’ve got all of that. Sofa, kids, tears, dear god I’ve got tears, grief, pain, but damn no pets. I would get one if it meant sharing the gift of my journey, my life, my mess and my God with you. come on over. Anytime.

    • Rebekah Grace

      Oh, girl! You have no idea! I was just telling a friend today how much I want a hippie bus and to travel to hear the stories and put the words out there. But I do not have the hippie bus or the money to get one. We do what we do with what we have wherever we are. That about sums it up. I’m glad you’re here. Thank you.

  • Mickey Nilsen

    You are. You just can’t see us.

      • Mickey Nilsen

        A bit of my mess: Thursday I had 2 nerve blocks into the low branches of the pudendal nerves. Classy nerve blocks as they are given through the low buttocks. Nothing liking baring all. I woke up in numb bliss. Numb from my low back to the back of my thighs. Sweet relief. My nerve damage and pain that brings one to their knees is from the sacrum (low, low back) to cover everywhere your bathing suit bottom touches (yes, everywhere) down the buttocks and the back of the thighs. Burning, searing pain. I’ve had it for almost 3 years. It happened during a routine hysterectomy. The block’s relief lasted just under one day. Today I am laying down packed in ice and on pain meds 24/7. That’s a peek into what my family and I are on our knees praying for. I find myself unsure about sharing because it is not the most appealing ailment, but (no pun intended) it is what I have. A lot of people have it and it is very, very hard to treat. I am undergoing this series of nerve blocks to map out a plan to have the nerves ablated (burned) for what we hope is permanent numbness in place of permanent pain. I welcome your prayers and hope you really don’t mind the messy prayer requests like mine.

        • Rebekah Grace

          Mickey, please……share the mess! Consider this place your home to release, lament and hope. Thank you for giving me an insight into your day. I cannot even imagine living with that day in and day out. I kneel with you.

  • fotomama986

    Ya know I’m down with this. I have never, ever cared about the latest gizmos or gadgets nor do I care to ‘keep up with the Jones’ or Kardashians’ or whomever it is society tries to say I am not good enough when measured against them. You know how I feel about you, your heart and your soul…what a true blessing. Thank you <3

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