IT’S A NOVEL WITH A MESSAGE: OUR UNITY IS IN CHRIST; NOT THE BALLOT BOX.
January 12th, Thursday Evening, Arlington VA
Issy and I had been home long enough for us to exercise and do a couple loads of laundry. We decided, many years ago that if we didn’t get the laundry done during the week, we’d have to do it on the weekend, and surely, God did not make the weekend for laundry.
We were folding laundry together when Issy said, “I’m sure you look at campaign schedules, like we do.”
She paused but I didn’t respond, or even look up. So, she continued, “Well, then you noticed today’s schedule for this weekend’s campaign stops means we are going to spend some time in churches.”
“Yes, I noticed that, babe,” I responded as I was folding one of my T-Shirts. I added, “Do you think it’ll fix your boss?”
She tilted her head and said, sarcastically, “Ha ha, funny man, my husband.”
And then she got serious, “But it does mean I’ll be traveling some now.”
“I figured that when I read it. Are you heading to Atlanta this Sunday with your candidate?”
She just nodded her head. We enjoy traveling with our jobs, even though we may not be traveling with one another. And we had been working “in-office” for so many months that this would be the first time in nearly six months one of us was traveling, so I was glad for her.
I asked her, “Do you think we ought to start cuddling now, to make up for this weekend?”
A while later we decided we should probably have some dinner.
January 12th, Late Evening, Atlanta Georgia
“What are you doing calling me at home?” I said angrily.
“Just listen. . .” Clyde went silent, wondering if he had reacted too strongly.
“Go on,” I encouraged. I wished he’d be a bit more assertive, anyway. I kind of liked that. Kind-of.
“You know who’s in town this weekend, don’t you?”
“Of course, I do,” I said getting frustrated again.
“Well, I’ve got an appointment with you know who.”
I purred from somewhere deep inside of me. My eyes widened in shock. I had never experienced that sensation.
I could tell it shocked Clyde, too. He must have heard it, for he asked, “Boss, are you okay?”
Again, all I could do was purr a, “Yessss, Clyde, good boy.”
Thinking quickly, I added, “Come to my office after church. Make up some stupid excuse for your wife and tell me how it went.”
He hesitated and I said angrily into the phone, “What’s the problem, you moron?”
“Umm,” he began. “We are having dinner at the in-laws right after church. My wife’s mom told us to not be late.”
I tried to respond silently. “She would, the big. . .”
But I was too loud. Clyde asked, “Pardon me, Boss?”
Recovering I said, “I understand, Clyde. Tell your wife I am going to give her mother a special gift and that’s why you need to come to my office. That should satisfy your wife and her mother, the big old. . .”
There was a long silence. Clyde knows not to get off the phone until I dismiss him or hang up on him.
Eventually he stupidly asked, “Are you still there?”
“Of course I am, you imbecile. I’m thinking.”
After another long pause I said, “Come by my office tomorrow. Don’t ask for me; just ask for a package from me. I’ll give you a gift to hand over at your Saturday appointment.”
“Good idea,” I heard his screeching voice say as the phone was leaving my ear. I hung up on him.
“Gotta keep that control,” I smiled to myself and entered the living room where I turned on my fifty-seven-inch plasma television.
I sat there contemplating what I would give as a gift. Two gifts actually. One for Clyde’s stupid mother-in-law and one for Clyde’s political meeting.
“What do I give this Religion Consultant?”
“What should I do, Lord?” I asked, walking to my home office.
For some reason I was reminded of the phrase in Scripture, an “angel of light”[i] which of course refers to the name Lucifer.
“Lord,” I prayed, “Paul may want us to apply the term, an angel of light, to the evil one, but, I am convinced that Your angels are illuminated beautifully, and so I refuse to use that phrase only for the evil one, Lord.”
I was just asking again, “What should I give. . .” when it came to me, my book on The Bread of Life, from John 6:22, to the end of the chapter.
As I smiled, I felt like I looked like a Cheshire cat, grinning wider than my face. Of course, I knew that was not possible. Then from deep down inside of my guts came a long low purr. It was masculine, but not scary. In fact, it was a bit intoxicating. I stopped and raised my hand to balance myself against the wall, and then again, I felt that wide-mouthed Cheshire grin and I knew why I needed to give her that book.
I quoted the last two verses, “Then Jesus replied, ‘Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!’ (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray Him.)”[ii]
Yes, perfect for this Religion Consultant who might eventually be shown to be a traitor, assuming her candidate wins the presidency.
In what seemed like just a few moments, I was lying on my ultra-king sized bed. The dimensions are something like ten foot by twelve foot. I don’t know, but, it’s monstrous.
I couldn’t remember how I got there though. The last thing I remembered, I was holding myself up in the hallway, thinking about the gift I’d have ready for tomorrow, the discrediting I was working these two Religion Consultants towards, and then what?
What? I couldn’t remember.
Instead, I thought of the motivation for my plan. Power. I’m not afraid to admit it. I want the political power which should rightfully belong to Christians.
I laid there for a while. I have no idea how long, but then something inside me growled, “And our time of real influence begins this year.” I smiled, “Well, my time of influence and power.” That Cheshire cat grin was back, and I purred.
The next day when Clyde came to the office to pick up the special gift, I had left a note with the receptionist. He was to ask for me.
Making his way up to my office, he marveled at the view, as he always did, in fact, everyone did, which is why I chose this location.
Years earlier when my late husband and I purchased this land for our church we knew it was a depressed area, but in time it would grow. And it has.
My office is on the fourth floor, and the curving stairwell is opened to the landing below, so, we have full height windows (not inexpensive) which give a sweeping view of the skyline, from Buckhead to downtown Atlanta.
And, I’m glad to say, the monstrosity called the Coca-Cola building is just far enough out of the way that it doesn’t hinder our view.
One of the reasons I like to have my door open is so I can hear people’s exclamations when they walk up the stairs.
While Clyde is a bit of a buffoon, his army background and his current work in the Cyber Security departments of the US government, makes him perfect for my needs.
He came lumbering in, whistling in awe of the view into greater Atlanta on this cold but very clear day.
“That’s always a beautiful site, Pastor,” he said. He was not looking at me and for some reason that ticked me off.
“Stop being a simpleton, Clyde. I called you up here for a reason.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said, straitening up, nearly to attention.
“At ease,” I said sarcastically, and he immediately spread his legs, clasped his hands behind his back and looked above my head.
“I was joking, you moron. Sit down.”
He did and then he said, “This is a really beautiful package. She’s gonna like this.”
“Shush,” was my response.
“Listen carefully,” I said very slowly, enunciating each word. “My message for her is simple. Don’t get it wrong.”
He leaned forward like a puppy dog. “Men are so predictable,” I thought to myself.
“When you give her this gift from me, tell her, ‘The Bread of Life which John records was a difficult message then. Following Christ can be just as difficult now. I’m here to serve you anyway I can.’ Do you think you can remember that, Clyde?”
He nodded slowly, and I had my doubts, but he is all I had to work with.
“Now get out of here,” I told him and turned back to my computer.
As he was leaving, he asked, “Why do you want to help her if you’re going to submarine her later?”
“It’s a ruse, Clyde.” He looked at me stupidly. “A ploy. A trick.” I bellowed.
“Oh, I get it, boss.”
I turned back to my computer mumbling to myself. “If I don’t keep a close watch on him, he’s going to ruin my plan.”
[i] 2 Corinthians 11:14
[ii] John 6:70-71