What do you do when you’ve just been caught breaking and entering, not to mention nearly murdering a tarantula? I had to talk to someone. Not my brother, he’d rat me out to Mom and Dad immediately. Friends? It was hard enough trying to fit into Belliacre Junior High. A potential criminal record would only make things worse. Then I had an idea: Jealous Plant.
Jealous Plant belonged to Pastor Susan Basil. When she’d first started at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Belliacre, the congregation had gotten together and bought her one of those potted plants with the trailing vines for her office. And it seemed like a nice gift, but there was something odd about the plant. It looked normal and all, but it never managed to stay in Pastor Basil’s office. The custodian would find it in the garden shed, vines wrapped around a shovel. The quilters kept discovering it in the middle of their different projects, usually with a big pile of dirt rubbed into the fabric. The altar guild was alarmed to find it sitting in the sacristy with a bottle of wine upended in its pot. A motion was even made by the church council to dump the plant in the compost bin while the quilters all signed a petition to have the bishop come to perform an exorcism.
But Pastor Basil put her foot down. The plant, she insisted, wasn’t bad or possessed, as the quilters insisted, just jealous. It didn’t like being left out of anything. So Pastor, in front of the whole congregation, lighting a candle and everything, baptized the plant and named it Jealous Plant. It was the least boring service ever! Then she started taking Jealous Plant with her on visits and including him in different meetings. She even let him sit next to her during worship.
Jealous Plant was a regular at Sunday school, and I had discovered that he (Pastor insisted it was a he) was a good listener. Since Jealous Plant was already known to be jealous and a troublemaker, I never worried about him judging me. He just sat there, as plants do, but I always got the sense that he heard what I had to say and paid attention. Not even grownups always do that! Jealous Plant, I thought, I need to talk to Jealous Plant.
To Be Continued
Then Jesus turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Jealous Plant does little to ingratiate himself to the members of St. Mark’s. How does Pastor Basil’s welcoming of Jealous Plant change his behavior? What is it about Jealous Plant that makes the narrator so ready to trust him? In what ways has forgiveness and hospitality changed how you treat others?
A reading of chapter 4 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.