June 12, 2009: Jesus has left the building.

I have to laugh at myself at times when I am awakened to the mystery of Jesus the Christ.  So see I claim to be rather mystical when it comes to my faith.  In most ways I am.  I do fall prey to a les savy far attitude more often than not.  It is in these moments that I am snapped back to the reality that I am but a piece of this dynamic vision of existence, a minor play on the major stage of being.  This morning I had an awakening…

In has been almost 9 weeks since June 12, 2009.  This day means little too most of us as it is the day Digital TV made its transition to our airwaves.  This is the action that prompted Mere & I to consume cable TV once again.  We tried to eke it out for a couple of weeks as DTV consumers.  The picture was bad and it cut in and out on “Wipeout.”  I was bummed.  Mere and I chose to subscribe to cable again.  We only lasted 4 or 5 months without the cabley goodness of our favorite channels.

To many in this nation June 12th was a sign that then were behind the times.  I am blessed to have the acquaintance of a retired nun that lives in my building.  “Sister” is your average looking retired nun.  Sister being the first retired nun I know at a personal level I only have a pool of one to compare with.  She is not very remarkable at first glance.  She is scatterbrained and forgets often.  She will tell the same tales on occasion.  She sports sunglasses from the


1970’s with no shame.  She is skidish and holds a beautiful child-like innocence about her with matters of this world.

Sister will talk your ear off.  She can pontificate a wide array of theology.  Her favorite being feminist theology & liberation theology.  She is very much a product of her times.  She spins wild tales of life in between tales of fantastic visions and dreams, where the Lord speaks to her and guides her along.  She reads like made and has many, many books in her home.  She only has one TV and it worked fine prior to June 12th, 2009.

June 12th was an important date for Sister.  She lost the little connection that she had to the physical world.  She lost that escape hatch she used to watch public television.  She lost the ability to enjoy the works of “masters” and the occasional replay of that crazy life of those Bennet sisters.  Sister had no idea that there was some sort of change over.

A friend of sisters got her a converter box and digital antenna.  She then asked me to set it up for her.  I agreed and went over to set it up.  It was a hot day and sister did not keep her air conditioner on, for fear that it would gobble up enormous amounts of energy.  I was there for 30 minutes that day setting up the TV and explaining to sister how to operate it.  Simple enough and I went on my way.

Over the course of these last 9 weeks I have been to sisters house 5 or 6 times fixing the TV again and again.  I get the TV set up and sister contacts me to fix it again.  “The picture has gone out.”  “I cannot get such & such channel.”  “It will not turn on.” “The picture is gone again.” “It is n Spanish.” On and on the list goes on.

This morning I went over there again to fix the TV. As I set to work sister shared with me a story about Benny Hinn and her encounter with him at his crusade that she went to her in Louisville.  As she went on about the moving of the Spirit and the kindness that almost brought her to tears as she remembered to share with me.  I became entrenched in my resolve to think Benny Hinn was a fraud and that this cat was nothing more than a shame.  I even shared these thoughts with sister.  She smiled at me and said, “Oh, yes…I see.”  Then kept telling me this beautiful story about the vision she had from God.  In her vision she saw a man and God told her to talk to this fellow.  Only, sister did not know who this man was.

Sister felt inspired to turn on her TV in the morning.  She never watched TV in the morning.  She did as she was led, she turned on the TV.  There he was…Benny Hinn.  He was the man in her vision.  She tried and tried to get tickets to go and see him.  When she did she was utterly moved at the outpouring of kindness and generosity by those present at the crusade.  People were buy others food and drink.  People did not honk or become agitated at waiting to get into the conference center the crusade was at.  It was beautiful.

I stood there thinking I need to get to my office.  I have so much to do today.  I do not have the time to stand here and listen to this story.  Besides I still think Benny Hinn is fake and cheesy!  I listened and finally I interrupted. ‘Sister, I must go to work now. I have much to do. Thank you for sharing your story.  Please do not use the other remote for anything. Only use the black on and ONLY push the yellow button on the TV to turn it on & off.”   “OK, thank you dearheart…I have something for you to take.”

She hands me a large envelope.  She says, “this is for you.  Thank you for helping me.”  I leave saying thanks and go to my office here at the church.  I am frustrated as I am late.  I am 7 minutes late to work.  It is important that I am here on time. This week especially.  I am the only minister on staff here this week. I am in charge of all ministerial actions and must be here to serve the congregation.

I sit at my desk and begin the daily task of checking email.  I think about the large envelope that sister gave me sitting on my desk.  I look at it for a while and I open it.  Inside are a sheet of 4 Theotokos icon stickers, a computer printout of a forwarded joke that began, “Can you imagine yourself to be the nun that is sitting at her desk grading these papers…”, an advertisement from ALDI for fruits and vegetables, and a small sheet of paper with a Bible verse on it that read, “Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who inspires & perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:2.

Imagine that…My eyes saw a frustrating, talkative retired nun.  I could have seen a moment to grow.  A moment to be.  An opportunity to rest in Jesus the Christ who inspires and perfects faith. I will look at June 12, 2009 a lot differently now.

One thought on “June 12, 2009: Jesus has left the building.

  1. Tim says:

    Often you speak out against church buildings and what not, perhaps the most dangerous threat to faith and ministry are offices and schedules.

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