Tags

, , , ,

The Rev. Machamer Gasparovitz sat alone at a table near the counter of the coffee club. I could hear him saying, “How could they not know? How could they not know?” Better go see what’s going on with him, I thought. We’re not busy. I took two cups of coffee and sat down.

“Rev, you need another cup. I got time so let’s talk. Something the matter?”

“I gave people at church a short quiz the other day. Some questions about the Gospels and nobody knew the answers. The people I talked to weren’t new to church. They’ve been involved 20 or 30 years. Maybe more. Where have they been all this time?”

“You probably shot over their heads with the questions. After all, you’re the one who went to preacher school or seminary. Whatever it’s called. They didn’t.”

“I didn’t ask anything complicated. What if I asked you those questions?”

“Rev, you know I don’t go to your church. Haven’t been to church in a few years. Got too busy with work and other matters.”

“Going to my church has nothing to do with it. I know you used to be a regular at St. Timothy by the Gas Station so you probably learned some basics. Let me ask you the first question. Which Gospel was written first?”

“That’s a trick question, Rev! Most people probably say Matthew because it’s the one that starts the New Testament. I don’t know, but I’m going to guess the one in the middle—Mark. It’s hidden by the others and it’s short.”

“OK. Let’s play on. Which Gospel has the Sermon on the Mount?”

“I know that one is Matthew. Ms. Anne quotes it too much. What’s the next question?”

“Number three: Which Gospel has the Sermon on the Plain?”

“I don’t know. I never heard anybody talk about the Sermon on the Plain. How am I doing, Rev?”

“Two more questions. Which Gospel refers to Jesus’ first miracle? Bonus if you can tell me what it was.”

“I went to a wedding last week and heard the priest talk about the first miracle at a wedding in Cana. Water turned into wine.”

“That’s the bonus. Which Gospel tells about it?”

“I’ll guess Luke. Am I right, Rev?”

“Last question: Which Gospel was the last one written?”

“How about John? I haven’t mentioned him yet.”

“Low passing grade, but you passed! You missed the Sermon on the Plain in Luke and the wedding at Cana in the Gospel of John. But you must have paid attention when you went to church.”

“Rev, I try. I just don’t want anyone to know about it. But what’s the point?”

“The questions really don’t matter as much as what they point toward. For me Christianity has always concerned integrating head and heart, loving God with heart and mind and body and spirit, and most people want to speak only of the heart—and even there, they want to reduce heart to excitement or enthusiasm. If we don’t understand, how will we know what to do? So I try to be an educator and try to stir up a passion in people for what they claim. Based on last night’s test, I’m not doing very well, but I’ll keep trying. Thanks for the coffee and conversation. Somehow I don’t feel as bad as I did. It’s good to talk.”

Advertisements