TITLE: Finding Jesus in the Mall
By mark walters
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Overheard one night at bedtime in the Johnson household as Mr. Johnson talks to Becky his young daughter:
“Daddy, who is God?”
“I don’t know, darling. I guess it just depends on who you think he is?”
“Oh, so God is a man?”
“Well, that’s a good question, honey. What made you ask?”
“One of the girls in my class today told me she says something called “prayers” every night to someone named Jesus, before she goes to sleep. She says he’s God.”
“Oh, well dear, what can I say? Prayers are like talking to a higher power. I learned about higher powers in my AA class. You remember when daddy had his little problem? You talk to a higher power and gain knowledge, wisdom and cool stuff we can’t afford to buy.”
“Is he kind of like Santa Claus then?”
“I guess so, but I really don’t know. My folks weren’t very religious and I guess it just never caught on with me. We should go somewhere tomorrow and find out more about this God thing.”
So the next day the man and his little girl go looking for God.
“Hey sweetie, it’s time to go and find God.”
“That’s great daddy, but where do you go to look for someone to worship?”
“That’s easy sweetie, at the mall. God would logically be there since we get most everything else there.” The man and his daughter drive off to find the true meaning of life (God).
Upon their arrival they discover many interesting sights. Mr. Johnson sees a possibility in a curious looking shop next to the liquor store, where he has a real thirst for knowledge. He points to the store and suggests going in there.
“There’s an interesting cultural look to that store. Let’s poke our heads in there and see what we can find.” They two enter and engage the sales clerk.
“Hello sir and nice little girl. Welcome to “Oh My God,” a wholly owned subsidiary of Deities, Inc. I’ll be your personal assistant. We carry all the latest in classic and contemporary gods. What can we interest you in today?”
"Well I don’t know, Miss. My daughter here wants to know more about a god she called Jesse or something like that. What did you say his name was sweetie?"
"My girlfriend called him Jesus, daddy. Do you have a God here that goes by the name of Jesus?"
“No, I’m sorry honey,” said the clerk with a look of exasperation. “I’m afraid I am required by law to inform you that we’re barred by statute from specializing in the occult. This Jesus God is not a user friendly model. Although some people desire this one, he is barred because he has been known to be dangerous and is hard to control on occasion.
F.Y.I. the man Jesus was actually executed by the state of Israel around the first century. His followers are a little strange. They claim he’s still alive somewhere, like that’s possible after 2000 years, and are even willing to die if necessary to prove their faith.”
“That’s way too extreme for a store like us. We only deal in user friendly gods. But that’s enough about the occult. We have some exciting new cutting edge models with all kinds of features to dazzle the user."
"Here we have the new Excelsior model “G Class” god. It has the Good Godkeeping seal of approval. We guarantee this model will not shed, issue commandments, control or in anywise impede your own personal lives. His or her (models are available in either sex or a nice neutral gender) finish is guaranteed for ten years against wear and tear and guaranteed for life not to peel, rust or corrode except as noted in paragraph 5 under Battery Replacement Exceptions.”
The clerk continued on, “We also have this small Southwestern deity. It doesn’t really do anything, but if you purchase it you will also receive a license to use peyote and other herbal supplements in worship to enhance the experience. This is real popular with the over 50 crowd; you know, trying to relive Woodstock and all that. You could worship together that way. It makes for a really laid back family atmosphere around the home. Of course, you will probably gain a lot of weight.”
“Well," said the daddy. “What do you think, sweetie? Do you want the new “G Class” god? It sounds pretty exciting to me. Look at all the lights that light and bells that go off when you bow before him. I’ll bet he has some kind of motion sensor that goes off when you come near, or you could go with the more existential, esoteric Southwestern doll and experience true nirvana.”
“I don’t know, daddy. Those look more like toys than gods to me. I’d rather find toys in the toy store across the other side of the mall. Let’s go over there.”
“OK, sweetie, so we’re finished with looking for God today?”
“Yes, daddy, This is too hard for me to understand. My friend said it was a lot simpler than this. All she has to do is bow her head and talk. Suzy said he even hears and speaks back to her heart.”
“I don’t see how that’s possible, dear. After all, if you can't see him, how do you know he’s even real? Maybe she’s just making up an imaginary friend like you do sometimes when you talk to Mr. Bunny.”
Now Becky was the one getting exasperated with her father. “No daddy," she wailed, her voice growing louder. “She said he’s really real. The Jesus God is not an imaginary friend.”
“Look daddy, there’s Suzy, the girl I told you about. Let’s go over and ask her what she meant.”
“I don’t know, dear. Why don’t you go talk to her while I check out this liquor store? This doesn’t sound like anything I would be interested in.”
“Come on daddy. You promised to help me find a god. We can go to the liquor store later.”
“OK sweetie. Let’s go talk to Suzy. She’s coming this way now. I think she’s seen us.”
“Hi Suzy, this is my daddy, Mr. Johnson.”
"Hi Becky, Hi Mr. Johnson, I’m Suzy, your daughter’s BFF."
“Suzy, tell my dad what you told me yesterday about this Jesus.”
“OK Becky, let’s go over to a bench and sit for a while. Mommy and I have been shopping for school clothes all morning and I’m tired.” After they're all seated, Suzy explains.
“Here’s the whole story. Jesus is a real person, not just a toy like the ones over there in the “Oh My God” store.”
“But Suzy”, exclaimed Mr. Johnson. “We were warned against worshipping Jesus by the sales clerk in the store. She said he can be dangerous and controlling at times.”
“But Mr. Johnson, My Pastor said that if Jesus is God at all, He can’t be controlled, but is the master and maker of all things. My Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Holliday read to us from the Bible and it said that hand made gods are not real gods at all. Mrs. Holliday said they were called idols. She called Him the creator and said He was not made by human hands.”
“Wow, Suzy. That’s a powerful reality. But why would we want Him to control us? We are the masters of our own destiny. Why would we want someone else to make our most important life’s decisions for us?”
“Because He loves you and wants you to love Him back. Jesus wants to reveal himself to you and fill your hearts with His love. If you are willing, I can show you how to find Him right now.”
“I think I’ve heard enough, Suzy.” Suddenly Mr. Johnson’s voice was very angry. “I don’t think I’m going to let Becky play with you anymore. Your ideas sound a little crazy to me. I believe this conversation is over. Good day, Suzy.”
“But daddy,” protested Becky, who was beginning to cry, “I want to hear more about Jesus. Suzy is a really good girl, daddy. That’s why I like her so much. When we are together I feel so good about myself and I just know she wouldn’t deceive us.”
“Now, now there honey. I will go back to the god store and get you one of those nice deities there and then daddy will go next door and get some refreshments.”
“No, No, daddy! Please listen to Suzy; at least try to open your heart to hear what she has to say.”
“I don’t know”, said Mr. Johnson. But after about 5 minutes of Becky’s tearful protests, his eyebrows un-furrow and he becomes more reasonable again.
“OK honey. But there had better not be anything weirder than what we’ve heard before.
Mr. Johnson and Becky returned to Suzy and after listening to the Gospel message about the love of Jesus, were able to receive Him in their hearts because a little girl stepped out and let the Holy Spirit lead her. How about you? Of course this story is fictional. There is no store I know of that sells electronic deities, but witnessing the love of Jesus Christ to a lost world is real. Have you told anyone about the real love of the real God lately?
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