I was right, there was a terrifying lack of direction in the sanctuary. Pastor Basil was sitting in front of the altar with a Bible on her lap. I could count five chameleons crouching around her, though more might have been camouflaged nearby. Reginald was perched on her shoulder. She was slowly reading them the Christmas story, trying to get them to respond.
Meanwhile Mr. Skink and Mrs. Snapper stood glaring at each other on either side of the baptismal font, a wooden stand that held a large bowl filled with water used for baptizing babies and sometimes adults too. It had been given to the church in memory of Mable Monitor, a grandmotherly type had who handed out candy to keep us kids quiet when Pastor Basil got a little too into the sermon. Ms. Monitor had always managed to make everyone feel like they belonged at St. Mark’s. She took the whole family of God thing seriously. But even Ms. Monitor, God rest her soul, would have struggled to welcome the enormous snapping turtle that was currently splashing in the baptismal waters.
“Get it out!” shrieked Mrs. Snapper.
Mr. Skink snorted and adjusted his eye patch “Why? He’s happy there.”
“He doesn’t belong there!”
“Your sign says-”
“I know perfectly well what the sign says, Mr. Skink, and let me assure you that ‘all are welcome’ does not mean ‘open swim.’ Get him out!”
Mr. Skink sighed and rolled up his sleeves “easier said than done. Turtle like that can take your finger off.”
I decided that the best way to direct might be to re-direct. “Tell me,” I said, putting Jealous Plant down beside me for moral support, “what is this snapper-” Mrs. Snapper glared at me “oh, this snapping turtle, auditioning for?”
“Innkeeper” grunted Mr. Skink.
“Absolutely not” snapped Mrs. Snapper.
I glanced down at Jealous Plant who waved his leaves encouragingly. “I disagree.”
Both Mrs. Skink and Mrs. Snapper stared at me. Adults generally don’t know what to do when a kid takes charge of things. I figured it was best to use their temporary stunned silence to my advantage.
“The snapping turtle is a perfect fit,” I explained. “Mary and Joseph are told there’s ‘no room’ in the inn. Who better to deliver that message than a territorial snapping turtle? We could even move the font up to the front and put a sign that says ‘no vacancies’ on it.”
“Hmm” grunted Mr. Skink.
“Hmm indeed” Mrs. Snapper crossed arms thoughtfully.
“I think that is a splendid idea” Pastor Basil walked over to the font followed by an orderly line of chameleons. “Ms. Monitor would have been so pleased to have her memorial font used in telling the story of Jesus. She used to love watching the Christmas Pageant.”
Mrs. Snapper’s eyes grew moist. She and Mrs. Monitor had been co-quilting lieutenants and any mention of the woman still made her get weepy. “She did always want to welcome everyone” she sniffed.
Pastor Basil put a hand on Mrs. Snapper’s shoulder. “Then this is a right and proper way to honor her. Now-” Pastor Basil glanced around the sanctuary “we have finished our auditions. Rehearsals start next week, I look forward to seeing all of you then.”
I glanced down at Jealous Plant. “Thanks for backing me up” I said.
But Jealous Plant was looking decidedly droopy again and I could only wonder what he would get up to next week.
To Be Continued
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
Ms. Mable Monitor made a big impact on the community of St. Mark’s. That impact is still felt even after her death. How did Ms. Monitor make a difference at her church? How do the members of St. Mark’s still feel connected to her? How does her life continue to change the people who knew her?
A reading of Chapter 15 by Amelia Corbett
About the Blog
Journey through the season of Advent with daily updates on the adventures of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Belliacre, MI as they attempt to cobble together a Christmas Pageant with an unlikely cast of characters.
Stephanie is an art educator and a landscape/portrait artist. Her inspirations come from the amazing people she meets and the gorgeous state of Michigan as well as her home state of Florida. She and he husband love nature. They are out in the water during the summer months and on the snow in the winter enjoying the simple pleasures of life.
A church of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
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Christ the King Lutheran Church
600 S. M 18
Gladwin, Mi. 48624
Pastor Emily Olsen