And the winner is …. And you guessed it…. Andrea. And so she got up and went to the platform to get her prize.
‘And what else do I get,’ she said.
‘And nothing,’ said the presenter, giving her the prize. And disappointed, Andrea took the prize, turned around, and returned to her seat. And as she did so, she grumbled, ‘And this is all I get.’
And, of course, no-one was surprised that she wanted more, for this wasn’t the first time she’d said it. ‘And’ was her favourite word, for she always wanted more. And everyone knew what she was like.
And so the week continued. And come the following Sunday she could be seen sitting in church
‘And my reference today, is from Deuteronomy chapter four verse two,’ the preacher declared from the pulpit. ‘And I am speaking on the topic of “not adding or taking away from the Gospel.”’ And the reason I’m doing this, is because certain members of this congregation do not seem happy to simply accept the Gospel as God has given it. And so they have changed it. And as they have done so, they have changed its meaning.’
And all the time, Andrea sat there listening while the preacher preached his sermon. And I say listening, except she was only half listening, for she was off in a world of her own. And what she was thinking about, was how her faith had helped her. And of course, how reading her horoscope had helped her. And how those exercises and other beliefs that she had adopted had helped her too.
‘And there is nothing wrong with that,’ she said to herself. ‘And there’s nothing wrong with all those other things that I believe in either.’
And she would have been quite happy, being carried away, persuading herself that all her ‘additions’ were quite acceptable, when the sermon came to an end. And that meant it was time for the service to move on. And Andrea didn’t mind, because she had convinced herself she had got it right. And if she had added anything to the gospel . . . Well she could manage that. And if she had added anything . . . ‘Well, it would be quite compatible, wouldn’t it?’ she said to herself.
And she would have happy to continue to think in those sorts of terms for some time, except that in no time the service was over, and Andrea was at the door shaking the preacher’s hand.
‘And what are you planning this week?’ asked the minister. And he asked, because he knew that Andrea was always adding things, and he was concerned for her spiritual welfare.
‘And I don’t know,’ said Andrea. And then she said, ‘And I’m so pleased about your sermon, because there are so many people in our church who have added to the gospel. And if you hadn’t said something, I probably would. And …. if only they could be like me.’ And then she went home.
And that’s how it was. And she was the same the next week, and the week after that, and the week after that. And never once did she stop and seriously address the issue of her adding to the Gospel.
And I guess in many ways that’s the end of her story. (And it’s not easy writing a story with every sentence beginning with the word ‘and’.)
And the reason I have written it, is because it’s so easy to change God’s message by adding things and taking things away. And why we do it, is because we like to make things more comfortable for ourselves and for others. And Andrea is a good example of how easy that trap is to fall in. And not just fall in ourselves but for others to fall in too.
And that really is the end of her story but is only the start of our own. And that’s because it’s far easier to see how others have added or taken away from the Gospel message, than it is to note how we have done it ourselves. And what we do with that, is a challenge we all really need to face.
Posted 22nd August 2019
© 2019, Brian A Curtis