She wore the same beehive since 1964. She looked over at me and sniffed, trying to find something to judge. Not finding anything, she turned her tall hair back around to face the preacher.
I sat in the pew that was so familiar to me and back in the day, I had spent a lot of time in that little sanctuary. Everyone there was a little crazy and quirky. All thinking they were right and anyone else outside of their circle could be potential trouble-makers.
Several preachers had come and gone because of it. One time there were four in just one year.
Me, on the other hand, was sitting in judgment. I judged the beehive, and the faces that looked as if they had sucked a lemon and a lime. I judged Mrs. Beehive’s husband, “Guy Smiley,” who knew everything but I was told that he was the best blackberry juicer in the county. Now that perked up my judgmental ears because I love blackberries.
I judged some of the folks to be good people, genuine folks, who don't placate or patronize and rightly so.
Now, my discomfort level was off the scale. I love Jesus with all my heart, but I detest religion. Partly because of Mrs. Beehive and partly because I don’t like being lied to. I was lied to for over twenty years about how Christains are suppose to love the world.
I labeled folks back then myself until I saw what happened to one woman that had divorced a member of that church and then remarried a man that wasn’t. Mrs. Beehive spoke of her as being “a poor little so and so” in such a condescending way, that I wanted to pull the pins out of her hair and tell her that she is the pitiful one, (shame on me.)
Anyway, I was there because a lady lost her daughter and that daughter was a close friend of one of my little girls when they were growing up. The lady was a good person and she didn’t judge other people because they were-um- “outside of the truth.” Who in their right mind would call one single denomination, “The Truth” anyway? Pompous and pharisaical is how I judge it.
I genuinely mourned, I saw the mother in crushing grief and the father too. It was hard to see such a vibrant young woman laying in a hard cold coffin… very hard.
I put all judgments aside until the preacher started droning on and on about sin and the cause of it, with little or nothing said about the poor girl who had lost her life.
Mrs. Beehive kept nodding in agreement, her hair swaying front and back. Then she played the organ and her hair swayed from side to side. Mrs. Beehive was very proud of her organ playing and I judged on, sorry that the poor parents and siblings had to sit through such a dirge.
So I get a Bible verse in my email today that said “Be angry but without sin,” Ephesians 4:26. Hmm, I bet Mrs. Beehive is angry and she thinks it is justified. I am angry and I think it’s justified too and we couldn’t be further apart in our assessment of people… or are we?
Jesus would say shame on her and shame on me. I would say, "can’t I just love you Lord and leave all this nonsense behind?"
And Jesus, said "read Matthew five, six and seven."
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