Rodney B. recently gave Joe this book, Grandpa Blows His Pennywhistle Until the Angels Sing, by Susan L. Roth. Rodney also gave Joe his first penny whistle.
Rodney's like that. If he sees something that reminds him of someone, he often picks it up for him or her. When he saw a penny whistle somewhere, he recalled having heard Joe talk about wanting one. So he bought one for Joe.
So too with this book.
The book is a good fit. There is a pastor, the Very Reverend Wilson, (who happens to drone on and on). There's a Grandpa who plays his penny whistle rather than going to sit in church to listen to the droning pastor. There's a little boy, Little Boy James, who is too busy to want to sit still during one of the Very Reverend Wilson's sermons on a hot summer day. And there's a Mama and Papa who are ready to pull their hair out trying to control Little Boy James with all his little boy energy. Many similar themes and characters to our life.
Little Boy James falls off the barn roof while trying to avoid getting ready for church. He lies unconscious, but alive. Grandpa marches to church and interrupts the Very Reverend Wilson's droning to play a sad song on the penny whistle. This draws a choir of angels into the church. Once the angels are assembled, Grandpa marches home, with the angel choir following, playing his penny whistle all the way like the Pied Piper of Hamlin. Once home, the angel choir sings, and Grandpa plays, and Little Boy James wakes up just fine.
I know why Rodney got this book for Joe. The "Pennywhistle" in the title first caught his eye. When he saw that there was also a pastor in the story, that sealed the deal. It's a cute little story with a happy ending, and very cool cut and torn paper collage illustrations.
But I really, really hope Rodney doesn't think Joe is a droning pastor.
And I'm pretty certain Rodney would rather have his pastor preach the Message of Salvation through Jesus' Blood and Righteousness, and faithfully administer the Holy Sacraments, than lead an angel choir around the county with his penny whistle, healing the sick.
But it would be kind of cool if he could do both, wouldn't it. The idea appeals to our human flesh. We want those tangible signs of God's glory. We seek to feel and see the glory of God outside of His Word and Sacrament.
We must remind ourselves what Jesus said to the Pharisees in Matthew 16, "A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign." God has given us what we need. We recall when the Rich Man was suffering the pangs of hell, and he asked Father Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead, to his brothers, so that they would believe. Abraham said, "They have Moses and the Prophets. Let them hear them." (Luke 16:29).
Thank You Heavenly Father for giving us Your Written Word and the Precious Sacraments. Those Sacraments are the signs you have given us. The Heavenly Power in the earthly elements. That Communion with You that we can see and feel and smell and taste.
May we never forget the Glory and Power intrinsic in these simple elements connected with Your Word and Promise. May we ever seek You only in those Places where and Tools within which You have promised to come to us.
Thank You for the gift of a Faithful Pastor. A pastor who faithfully teaches us your Written Word. And who faithfully administers your Holy Sacraments.
Even if the Very Reverend might occasionally drone a little bit.