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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: At the Pulpit (11/15/07)

TITLE: The Mouse Metaphor
By william price
11/21/07


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The ghastly sight before the pastor at Cornerstone Church stopped him dead in his tracks. Momentarily seized with shock, it took a moment for him to speak.

“Nooooooooooooo!”

Sinclair Southard was at church early, per usual, preparing for his sermon. The fresh morsel of cheddar cheese he routinely carried to the pulpit on Sunday mornings dropped from his trembling hand to the carpet.

Standing in the hallway before Pastor Southard was Junior Studderburger. The young volunteer had come to church early to tidy up. The teen’s triumphant smile quickly transformed to fright. Junior had been walking with a lifeless gray rodent dangling from a snapped mousetrap.

“Pastor, what is it?”

Junior’s focus shifted from his pastor’s wide eyes, to the cheese on the floor, to the mousetrap.

“What did I do? I noticed some droppings inside your old pulpit and I…”

Sinclair reached out his hand.

“Please let me have the mouse. It’s okay, Junior.”

The youth handed the trapped rodent to his pastor.

“I…I…I’m sorry, sir.”

“Don’t worry, son. Please pick that cheese up and put it inside the back of my pulpit for me.”

Pastor Southard turned and walked back to his office with his old friend, the mouse.

Sinclair sat at his desk. He laid Spot before him and released his limp body from the trap.

Tears welled in the aged pastor’s eyes.

“Well, Spot, old friend, what now?”

Years ago, when Sinclair first arrived as interim pastor, he had problems with nervousness when he preached. One Sunday morning he prayed about it. It was that day he first met Spot. Sinclair was at the pulpit, struggling to get his words out, when he spied a little mouse sitting unafraid before him on a shelf in the back of the dais. It was a cute gray critter with a patch of white hair. It made the preacher smile. Sinclair then presented his best sermon to that date. The next week he was Cornerstone’s full-time pastor. Since then he would habitually leave a piece of cheese for Spot, who was always waiting for him.

A knock at the office door startled the pastor. He quickly covered the mouse with a white hanky. Sinclair’s wife poked her head in the door.

“We’re ready for you.”

“Be there in a minute.”

Pastor Southard gently wrapped Spot in his handkerchief and placed him in his jacket pocket.

Behind the pulpit Pastor Southard again found it hard to speak. He glanced down to the shelf where Spot always sat. He began to get teary. He saw a small gold cross and a note laying next to the uneaten piece of cheese.

Sinclair read the handwritten message.

Dear Pastor,
I’m sorry about the mouse. I don’t know what it’s all about, but I know the power of the cross can help. Please accept my apology.
Sincerely,
Junior


Looking up, Sinclair could tell by the puzzled look on his parishioners’ faces he needed to explain.

The pastor clasped the cross tightly in his right hand. His nervousness fled.

“Today I want to share a message about an old friend.”

Sinclair reached down and patted his pocket.

“I also want to share about the power of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The preacher then placed the golden cross on the pulpit and motioned Junior to the stage and whispered in his ear. Junior left for the Pastor’s office.

“At times I have found it hard to preach from behind this pulpit. The enormousness of the responsibility would choke my words. But then, one day, the Lord gave a me small reminder in the form of a furry friend who was not fearful of my hulking presence.”

Sinclair went on to tell the congregation about Spot, the cheese, Junior and the cross. The people laughed and cried.

“In closing, I discovered my fears were small in the presence of our Lord, and not because of my friend, which was actually symbolic of me, but in the finished work of our Christ Jesus who daily gives us what we need to overcome our weaknesses.”

The pastor nodded at Junior standing in the back of the church holding a plate of cubed cheese. After everyone was given a piece, Sinclair picked up the morsel of cheddar he had for Spot and ate it and encouraged the congregation to do the same.

It wasn’t exactly scriptural, but from time to time, Cornerstone Church would have bread and cheese with their juice when they served communion


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This article has been read 1163 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sharlyn Guthrie11/23/07
Cute story. I don't know when I've ever been so emotional over a mouse!
Therese Witkus11/23/07
Loved the story and just have to feel for Spot and the unsuspecting Junior.
Joanne Sher 11/23/07
Cute - you got me emotional over a RODENT. That takes skill. ;) Of course, I LOVE the last line.
Betty Castleberry11/23/07
So cute, and such a good message, too. This was truly a delight. Maybe I'll look at mice differently from now on...or not.
Dee Yoder 11/25/07
It's true: mice CAN be cute. (As long as there's only ONE!) What an unusual object lesson the pastor had for his congregation that morning!
Gregory Kane11/27/07
Okay, so I’ll try to use any other word but cute. This really was a delightful story and the cheesy communion a clever touch.
You have a great ending and an intriguing middle but I thought your introduction was weak. If you want to use the interjection ‘Nooooo’ (which personally I wouldn’t) maybe it could come after your third description paragraph and just before Junior’s response. So I’m being fussy – but this is Masters after all!
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/27/07
Not just cute--but clever and entertaining and with a good message.
Karen Wilber 11/27/07
This caught me by surprise and I really felt sad for little Spot. Junior's apology letter was my favorite part.
Joanney Uthe11/27/07
I love your story! Great job making the pastor's fears real to the reader. I really like how the teenager was able to minister to the pastor.
Kristen Hester11/27/07
Have you ever read "The Mouse and the Motorcyle" by Beverly Cleary? I've had an affection for fictional mice ever since I read her series about Ralph S. Mouse to my son.

Anyway, this story was so engaging, clever, original and creative. I loved it. I am really, really sad for the pastor. Great message, great ending. Two thumbs up.
Jan Ackerson 11/27/07
What a totally creative story!
Beth LaBuff 11/27/07
You broke our hearts then took us to the cross. Great writing -- wonderful message!
Temple Miller11/28/07
I loved your imagery, tension, conflict, and conceit. This is a beautiful story that could easily become a friend, like my favorite poems.
Sara Harricharan 11/28/07
Aww! This puts a little warm fuzzy "spot" on my wednesday morning. A truly encouraging story. Great job!
LaNaye Perkins11/28/07
This is such a sweet and touching story. I loved it.
Patty Wysong11/28/07
They're right--this is cute. BUT that's GOOD!! You had me close to tears over a MOUSE. I really enjoyed this!! :-)
Loren T. Lowery11/28/07
God does provide signs to help us in our fear and struggles. What form they come in depends on what our hearts are open to hear. Great job!
LauraLee Shaw11/28/07
This is just spilling over with creativity from title to end. So well-written, too.
Sheri Gordon11/29/07
Congratulations on your EC. I love this metaphor, and especially the way you let the reader slowly discover it -- without being preachy. Good job.
Clyde Blakely 12/15/07
My brother-in-law had a brother who was a priest. He was to have a picture taken of himself at his desk in the study. Dressed appropriately, with the Bible open, a cup of juice with cheese and crackers set before him a small mouse appeared on the desk. Smiling he reached out with a piece of cheese for the mouse. As the mouse took the cheese the photographer snapped the shutter. A wonderful picture, reminiscent of your article.
God bless.

Keep writing!