You might excuse him as naïve but truth-be-told he just really wasn’t all that sensitive – you know intentionally observant. If he had been, he never would have moved that old wooden box down into the storage room. Spoiling for a quarrel was never his intention.
He had a good reason.
The box had been in the way for several months and for all that time he and his buddies had carefully moved their musical equipment around it to avoid scratches. Drums and guitars and keyboards couldn’t just be left lying around after practice – they would certainly get into trouble for that. So the box quickly became a nuisance. Without it present in the storage room their mobility and space would be greatly enhanced. So one night after grumbling their equipment past it once again – they all stopped and someone suggested they should get rid of the box.
He made the call to send the box downstairs. He knew of a place where it would fit out of the way. So with the assistance of a couple of the guys he packed it away – down there. Slapping their hands together with that sense of authoritative satisfaction they marched back up stairs to finish their packing up…
That was Saturday night…
Monday morning dawned and he obliviously sauntered into his office without even a thought of the box or the impending conflict.
The man was waiting for him in his office. Normally meek the man was, at this moment, obviously agitated – in the way a well shook Pepsi can is before the unsuspecting person opens it. He was clearly upset.
He had a good reason.
You see the box was, as the man described it, not just a piece of furniture and certainly not just a box. It was a pulpit and this pulpit had been present at the consecration of the building in which it resided. It was invested with special spiritual meaning although what specifically that meaning was the man found it difficult to explain.
Taken off guard he wandered around the topic with the man till it became clear that nothing less than the immediate relocation of the box would do.
Chagrined he wrapped his arms around the box once more and carried the box back with the man to its place not in the off-stage storage room but to the very center of the stage.
As he glanced around room standing there he wondered about why people seem to need certain implements to access God. He had learned much earlier in his career has a minister that wearing a tie on a Sunday when he stood behind that box and preached seemed to help some people to listen more closely to what he said. It seemed to him that for some God needed to be confined at least somewhat to certain restricted locations and parameters. It seemed sad to him that after all these years since the veil had been torn in that temple long ago there where still those who preferred to encounter God at a distance.
He remembered the story in the Great Book that told of how Israel had pleaded with Moses to cover himself when he spoke to them after having encountered God directly. He thought about how easily those same people erected a golden calf to worship in the place of God. And he remembered the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman when he told her that God could not be confined to one holy mountain or another but was to be worshiped in spirit and in truth. And his heart grew with acrid condemnation for the man.
He walked down to favourite spot in the youth meeting room and picked up his guitar – to clear his mind he reasoned – to connect with God…