Saint Peter and Mrs. Saint Peter

Just think. For three years, you’ve been out doing the Lord’s work. “On the job training,” Jesus called it. You come home for a few days rest and relaxation. You’d think the wife would be happy to see you. But here’s what you get.

Mrs. Saint Peter runs out to meet her husband. Hugs him. “I’ve missed you a lot.”

Saint Peter hugs his wife real good. “I’ve missed you too, Agatha. It’s been three years on the road. I sure could use one of your extra special back rubs and a pile of your homecooking. And it’s been three years since I’ve had a good bath.”

“I can tell.” They walk hand in hand back to the two bedroom house Saint calls home. “Well, it’s good to have you back.”

“But you know what? Jesus—”

“You’re home for good?” she interrupts as they walk into the living room.

“He rose from the dead. It was the most amazing—”

“There’s so much work to be done around here,” she says enthusiastically, her voice full of hope.

“thing,” he finishes his sentence. “And He put me in charge. I sure have a lot to do. It’s not—”

“The roof needs mending and there’s the boat to patch. Things have just gone to rot since you left.”

“BUT WOMAN, I CAN’T STAY. I HAVE TO LEAD THE DISCIPLES OF JESUS.”

“Don’t shout. It’s not the Christian thing to do.”

“Well, He put me in charge.” Saint is adamant now.

“Jesus did what?” Hands on her waist, she stares at him with disbelief.

“Jesus left me in charge,” he says with pride, a big grin on his face. “He even called me Rock.”

She laughs. “Rockhead more likely. If Jesus left you in charge, he sure made a big mistake.”

Peter’s face is starting to turn red from anger. “You never did believe in me. And you just don’t understand.”

“Understand? What’s there to understand? All I know is there’s a lot of work around here that needs doing and you’re never around to help.”

“Woman, all you do is—nag, nag, nag. Tar the roof, mend the floor, fix the wall, hinge the door. Catch the fish, sail the boat, paint the house. I’m a joke.”

“Peter, Peter, I wish you could hear yourself. All you do is brag, brag, brag. Walk the sea, heal the blind, change the water into wine. Thousands fed, raise the dead. He chose you, you dumpy head.”

Saint storms out of the house. “I don’t know why I ever came back, Nagatha.”

“Me neither. You never change.” She stands at the door.

“That’s not true. I do change.”

“Peter, you’re a good man, but you’re awfully hard-headed.”

“I’m not going to stay here and listen to this. I’ll go where I’m appreciated. And can be in charge. I’ll see you in three more years.” He stalks off into the darkness. “Women.”

“Men! Hmph!” She slams the door.

The Second Coming, Maybe

Some folks think they know something even Jesus doesn’t know. I’m talking Second Coming here. In May of 2012, some radio preacher predicted it. Second Coming didn’t happen. The Mayans had predicted it for the following December. It didn’t happen then either.

Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind books, gave it the old college try. Nostradamus said it would be Y2K, and we know what a bust that one was. Pat Robertson predicted 2007. He first thought 1982 was to be the big year, but he re-evaluated. Edgar Cayce and Sun Myung Moon both said 2000.

The astrologer Jean Dixon even put in her two cents. Said it was to be 1962 according to the alignment of the planets. The planets forgot to check with her. They didn’t align properly and we didn’t get the fireworks she promised. She checked her charts again, and lo and behold, it’s supposed to be 2020. These are just a few of the ones who have blown it. And when they blow it, they don’t admit they blew it. Doesn’t this sound a lot like politicians?

No, they’re like software. They give us an update. Unless they do a Jim Jones and drink some Kool-Aid.

Guess the reason Radio Preacher Guy and the others blew it was because they were getting a little impatient. And they had not read Hal Lindsey’s book, “The Late Great Planet Earth”. Old Hal thought he had the road to the Second Coming down pat. He put his guesses in a nice, neat package and wrapped it up with a ribbon. He even gave it a name. Called it his stepping-stones to Jesus. First we get a temple, then we get an Armageddon. Then a Pope named Six-six-six.

The Catholics disagree on that one. The pope of the Second Coming is supposed to be Peter. And named Peter 2. The Mormons added their own take on the Second Coming. Jesus is supposed to set down in Missouri. Seems Hal didn’t check with the Mormons or the Catholics. Never did Radio Preacher Guy, Pat Robertson or Tim LaHaye.

Well, I think it is time I cleared it all up and gave you the real skinny. I have spent many years studying the hieroglyphics of the Book of the Dead Folks and the cuneiforms from the Tower of Babel. That last one turned out to be a lot of talk, talk, talk. I studied the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were a little dusty, so you can’t always trust them. The Nag Hammadi Codices were really not that helpful. It was hard to read what they said was the handwriting on the wall. Turned out it was written on a cave wall in a sandy spot in the desert. Them Gnostics were real kidders, you know.

I read the Vedas and the Tao te ching. Meditated on Mount Nanda Devi and Mount Fuji. Talked to a voodoo priestess. She read the entrails of a chicken for me. Smoked some, well I am not saying what we smoked, but just take my word for it. The Rastafarians know where the good stuff is.

Checked my Aztec calendar and it seemed to be running slow. Finally figured it was running on Aztec Savings Time. And the Aztec god of whatever, big Q, wasn’t talking. He is very upset that everybody took him to be Cortez. Well, he wanted me to let all the good Aztecs everywhere know. He wasn’t Cortez and he’s not taking the rap for Montezuma’s boo-boo.

Besides he’s been working the Star Trek gig and he is not about to give that up yet. He likes the money. He doesn’t have to work too hard. It’s only an occasional appearance he has to make after all.

I prayed at Olympus and checked with the Sibyl at Delphi. The Vestal Virgins only wanted to party. What else can you expect from the toga lobby?

I went through the Bible frontwards and backwards. You have to read it backwards if you’re reading it in Hebrew. Read the the Torah and the Talmud and the Kabbalah too. I studied the Old Testament, the New Testament and the In-Between-Testament. Read what Enoch said and what Adam wrote. I interviewed the lion that was going to eat Daniel. I visited Elijah’s cave and sailed to Patmos and hung out with an old guy who actually hung out with John when he was writing the Book of Revelations. I consulted the stars and I consulted the planets. Even checked with my crystals.

Finally, yes finally, I came up with the time. Not an exact date but a specific time. It was amazing but it made sense. And thanks to your patience I am about to reveal the revealable.

Before I do let you in on the secret, I have to tell you that none but none of those other guys and girls were right. They were all way off the mark.

So when is the Second Coming to be? You are not going to believe this. It will be the day, the exact day, when the White Sox beat the Cubs and win the World Series. That is also the day when hell freezes over.

Solly and the Garbage

They say Solomon was the wisest guy who ever lived. But how wise can a guy who marries seven hundred women be? After all, that is seven hundred wives telling him to take out the garbage. Just where was he going to put all that garbage?

The garbage had started filling up the moat around Jerusalem sometime near 950 BCE. In Solly’s daddy’s time, Jerusalem had been a one-horse town. Not enough garbage to shake a stick at. But now Jerusalem was more like the Big Apple of ancient times. It had a dozen or so skyscrapers, and a temple too. The Donald Trump of that time, a Levite named Cohen Cohen, just kept building and building with all the money coming in from his monopoly of the sheep concession.

Why would a monopoly on sheep bring in so much cash? Well, I’m here to tell you that you can’t have a sacrifice to the Lord High God without a sheep. It just wasn’t done. And it couldn’t be just any sheep. It had to be a pure one. That is where Cohen Cohen came in. He had all the unblemished sheep in the land.

Anyway the garbage had been accumulating for quite some time. Solly’s wives were hearing all his bitching and moaning about it since he didn’t seem to have the time. He was too busy splitting hairs, playing the wise guy game. Like who gets the baby? Hannah or Maureen?

All the king’s men and all the king’s horses decided something had to be done about the garbage. So they went to the wives. The wives decided old Solly just wasn’t doing his job, like a good husband should. After all, it’s the husband’s job to take out the garbage. Right then and there they went on strike. Cut him off from his regular harem visits.

Solly was a virile man, a real manly man he was. A Schwarzenegger among kings. So, no harem visits for a couple of months, and he’s a raving lunatic. Called in the local prophet and demanded, yes demanded, some answers.

“You’re the wise guy around here,” prophet said. The prophet’s name was Spot.

“What does that mean?” Solly asked. “I’m the wise guy around here?”

“Just what it says,” Spot smarted back. Anybody else and Solly would have had his head, but it was No-chopping-off -the-head-of-a-prophet month.

Solly was so mad all he could say was, “Out, damned Spot.”

What to do? What to do? Solly wondered. If he was so wise, why couldn’t he figure this one out. Finally he begged one of his favorite wives to come see him. Her name was Betty # 32.

“Betty # 32?” you ask. Yep, Betty #32. Because Solly had a lot of wives. It was like he was Mickey Rooney and Brigham Young with a quite a bit of Errol Flynn all rolled into one guy. And he couldn’t remember their names. So he started calling them Betty and making them wear t-shirts with their number on it. When you’re a wise king, you can make snap decisions like that.

There was a good reason that Betty # 32 was one of his favorites. She had curves down to her toes. Her curves had curves. She could make Mae West look like a bean pole. That’s the kind of curves she had. And she had flair too. Instead of the old drab gray muumuus the other wives wore, she ran around the palace in a hot pink t-shirt, and it showed off those curves. Man, did it ever.

Betty # 32 got the call from her hubby. She wiggled her way into the king’s audience chamber with that come-hither smile on her face that he loved.

“What’s up, Doc?” She always called him Doc. No Sire-ing for her. It was her way of letting him know his place. Her family’s ancestry was a direct lineage all the way back to great-to-the-tenth-great grandpappy Jacob himself. If Solly was royalty, she was a blue blood of blue bloods. Her blue blood trumped his royalty any day.

Besides he was the son of a brigand and a shepherd. His daddy, Little Davie Crewcut, had only one claim to fame. His band beat out Goliath and the Philistines in a Battle of the Bands way back when. Only thing that put him on the throne was his audacious harp playing and his song-writing. Boy, that man sure could write some Psalms. All the Israelites said so.

So here in the audience chamber Solly and Betty # 32 had a little tit-for-tat. Finally Betty came to the point. “Take out the garbage. Darn it.”

As we all know, that was that. He sent that garbage downriver to one of the ‘burbs. Place called Sheol. The folks in Sheol were none too happy about that. It was such a nice neighborhood, and suddenly there’s all this smelly garbage. I mean, you did not want to be downwind to Sheol on a Thursday morning when Sol took out the garbage. Those folks swore they would get even. But they never did. They didn’t have time. They were too busy burning garbage.

The good news was that there was a hot time in the old harem that night. The next morning Solly took his place on his throne with a smile on his face. That was some smile.

Moses

For all those holding Passover.

I remember Moses. He stood there before Old Man Pharaoh, stuttering and telling him, “Let my People go.” That day he was as tall as the day is long as it stretches from dawn to sunset. The Egyptians laughed. How dare Moses insult them with his arrogance. When the Old Man refused to let us go, Moses stretched out the staff of the Lord and gave him ten plagues, each one worse than the last.

Then Moses stood before a crowd of us. We were angry because Pharaoh had added more to our work than we could bear. More straw, more brick, that wicked man demanded from us. Moses stuttered till his brother Aaron spoke his words.

“Pharaoh will let the People go,” Aaron said, but he did not believe. None of us did. When you’re a slave and the Master has used you all up, what hope do you have?

Then the tenth plague bore down on all the households of that accursed land. The Angel of Death roved around that Passing-over night from midnight until dawn, going from house to house, killing Egyptian children. But our babies were spared. The Lord had told us to mark the doors of our houses with the blood of a lamb. This we had done.

That night the Nile ran red with despair. The Papas and the Mamas of Egypt grieved a grief as sad a lamentation as any heard by that River in its long years since the beginning of the world. It was their first-borns that Death snatched from their arms and sent to the grave. There were some fine Egyptians, but the Angel spared none of them.

Next we heard Pharaoh commanded Moses to take his scum and go.

“Go. Leave. I will not see you any more,” Pharaoh’s anger spoke and it spoke hard. “Get thee hence.”

His gods had failed him. Where was Horus when the Lord of the Two Lands, Ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt, needed him? His son, his only child, his heir by the woman whom he loved more than all his kingdom, his only son was dead. While the priests prepared the son of Pharaoh for burial in the Valley of the Kings, we rejoiced and danced in the streets. Our deliverance had finally come.

“We’re free,” my uncle Eleazar shouted. “Our jailers are jailers no more.”

The sun rose early that new day as we gathered in the Land of Goshen. Everywhere there were people, our people. There were so many of us that the streets buckled under the load of our weight. We had not known that our father Jacob had so many children.

Calmly standing above us, and before us, was Moses. He raised his staff of oak and turned toward the sea and led us out from that land of our slavery toward a new home in a Promised Land.

Near 500 words: Enough Is Never Enough

With Jesus, every day was a great day for the Disciples, and always filled with surprises. One day it was miracles, the next blesseds, healings on a third day. And no one could take on the establishment the way Jesus did.

Each day there was a story, and not just one story but story after story after story. The Disciples weren’t sure what a lot of them meant, but the they were excited to hang with Him 24/7.

Things Jesus did were so awesome that Judas wanted to make Him the main attraction of a new theme park. “When we go public, our IPO will be worth billions of denarii.”

Jesus shook his head and laughed. “You poor fellow.” Then He went on His way, the Disciples struggling to keep up.

And talk about cool. Casting out demons was really bad ass. Even the priests were afraid to take on the devil and his minions.

One day–it was a Wednesday I believe–Jesus was teaching away to what most of the Disciples thought of as a multitude. Actually it was five-thousand-and-seventeen men, women and children. We know the exact number because Judas Iscariot was selling tickets.

About three p.m. Jerusalem Standard Time, Jesus was right in the middle of the Lord’s Prayer. Peter sneaked up to Jesus’ ear and whispered, “The folks are famished.”

The Master whispered back at Peter, “Aren’t you listening?”

“Huh?”

“Didn’t I just say, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’?”

Peter was trembling in fear for what Jesus might do to him for being a bearer of bad news. Peter had seen the Lord in the Temple. Man, he’d never seen anyone throw a table the way the Master did. And He barely missed the High Priest. But Peter had gotten this far. He might as well go on. “We ran out of all the baked goods this morning. And all we’ve got is five loaves and two fishes.”

Now there wasn’t a Macdonald’s or a Chick-fil-A to cater the event. So it was going to be up to Jesus to do the catering. The Lord smiled and said, “All right. Bring them here.”

And right there Jesus took care of things. “Have the people form two lines.” And those were some awesome fish sandwiches. Everybody stuffed themselves.

Peter approached the Lord and said, “Where’s the mayonnaise?”

Jesus was the most patient of men. He’d put up with a lot from the Disciples and now this. Jesus gave Peter the kind of look you didn’t want to get from Jesus. “Get thee behind me, Satan,” He said.

As Peter stumbled away, Jesus said under His breath, “Next thing you know they’ll want Me to turn water into wine.”

And so they did.