by RON NEWHOUSE
June 2, 2012
Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there.
(John 5.13 NRSV)
reporter once asked Will if he went to church. "All the time," Will replied as he wiped mud from his cowboy boots. "I find church happens all the time." The reporter wasn't sure he understood. He thought that Will misunderstood his question. So he asked, "What do you do on Sunday mornings at eleven o'clock? Do you attend a church service?" "Oh," Will responded, "You mean do I go to those steeples. I thought you wanted to know if I went to church."
Then Will invited the reporter to lunch with him. They drove for several miles until they arrived at a crossroad which featured a combination service station, convenience store, and restaurant. As they entered, the reporter noticed that the place was nearly empty, and they found a table in the middle of the restaurant. Just a few minutes later some construction workers entered and filled the tables. Now the reporter had hoped to continue their earlier conversation about church, but was unable to do so because people kept interrupting. One man thanked Will for performing his sister's wedding. Another man reminded Will to visit his mother in the hospital. A third asked Will if he would talk to his wife because they were having problems. For almost an hour people came and asked Will to perform the functions of a minister. And each time Will responded.
At one o'clock the restaurant was empty again as all the workers went back out to their jobs. Will silently finished his sandwich, "Well," he said to the reporter, "church is over for today. Let's go home."
Will might not fit many people's expectations for a minister. He would certainly not fit the job description of most congregations. He had a different kind of ministry. But then, so did Jesus.
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