I Choose You.
I saw a puppy the other day.
Not just a young dog. A puppy.
Soft. Eager eyed. Maybe a week or two old.
Fur still had that brand new dog smell.
Such an adorable puppy.
It was a lot of fun to play with, even if it did want to gnaw on my fingers a bit.
She’ll make her forever family a great companion.
As I was playing with her, I remembered this story
That one of my favorite storytelling preacher types, Barbara Bundick
Used to tell. A story about puppies.[i]
Once upon a time,
a farmer in Wisconsin had some puppies he needed to sell.
So he painted a simple sign, advertising the pups
and set about nailing the sign to a post on the edge of his yard.
It wasn’t way way outside of town.
It was a good spot with people passing by.
He hoped it would get noticed quickly.
And as he was driving the LAST nail into that post,
Wouldn’t you know it
he felt a tug on his overalls.
He looked down, straight into the eyes of a little boy.
“Mister,” the boy said, matter-of-factly
“I want to buy one of your puppies.”
“Well,” said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck,
“These puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”
The boy dropped his head for a moment.
But just for a moment,
Then he started reaching deep into his pocket,
And pulled out a handful of change.
He held it up to the farmer with a big hopeful smile.
“Hey, I’ve got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?”
“Sure” said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle,
“Here, Dolly!” he called.
Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly,
followed by four little balls of fur.
They scampered close, kinda jumping on top of each other.
The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence.
His eyes danced with delight.
As the dogs made their way to the fence,
the little boy noticed something else, though
stirring, back there inside the doghouse.
Slowly, another little ball appeared;
this one was noticeably…well, SMALLER.
Down the ramp it slid.
Then in a somewhat awkward manner,
the little pup began hobbling toward the others,
doing its best to catch up.
“I want that one! I want that one!” the little boy squealed, pointing to the runt.
The farmer sighed,
And kindly kneeled down to the boy’s side and said,
“Son, you don’t want that puppy.
He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.
Take a look at the others…”
There was a brief pause.
And then the little boy stepped back from the fence.
He reached down,
and began rolling up one leg of his trousers,
revealing to the farmer a steel brace
running down both sides of his leg
attaching itself to a specially made shoe.
Looking back up at him, the boy said,
“You see, sir, I don’t run too well myself,
and he will need someone who understands….
I think he’ll be perfect…”
A bit sappy, I grant you,
But this story brings into clear relief the best aspects of
the two scripture passages before us this morning.
This Season of Easter,
The period between Easter Sunday and Pentecost
Which comes up in two weeks
Is designed to walk us through how everything has changed
Now that Christ is ALIVE and Death no longer reigns.
One way to do that is to look carefully at the story in the Acts of the Apostles.
After the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ,
these earliest disciples are TRANSFORMED
from FEAR to COURAGE
from DOUBT to HOPE
from CLOSED MINDS to OPEN HEARTS…
and ALL because of the work of the holy spirit in their midst.
The ACTS itself is a narrative of the early church wrestling with
the wild, unpredictable, unsettling movement of God in their midst.