1. Rug of Faith!

    HEY, look what I got in the mail!

    I was obviously pretty surprised and excited to receive this. Ordinarily, I would have thought, “Oh, just another piece of junk mail!”  But it was the writing on the front that caught my eye – as you might well imagine.  A very old church loans something to me, something that will bless me! Key words have been underlined, as though by a red felt-tip pen. Indeed, the most important words and phrases among them have been underlined twice. And by the way…?

    It was not me who underlined this!

    It arrived this way!

    The bald eagle by the postmark, too, seemed to underscore this missive’s importance. How very unpatriotic, how un-American it would be for me to just toss into the trash something bearing our national symbol! Besides, by now, this envelope was shaping up to be more mysterious and intriguing than a Dan Brown thriller. Frankly, I was hooked.

    Now, studying that photo above as you are wont to do, you’re probably thinking “This is very unusual. It arrived at Ted’s house sans any address at all; just the simple and perhaps apropos designation ‘TO A FRIEND.'” I need to be honest with you:  I digitally removed my address from that photo. What’s fair is fair, folks: If I’m no longer legally allowed to stalk others, I see no reason why anyone – and I love you all, you know this – why anyone should be allowed to stalk me. So, no, this arrived at the Parsnips home with my street address below that.

    Anyway, I eagerly opened it up and discovered a wealth of papers inside!

    Shuffling through them, I found a letter.

    A most interesting letter, indeed!

    “Dear…Someone Connected with This Address,” it begins – quite accurately, I might add. After all, there I was, reading the letter, and I am in fact someone connected with this address. Anyway, since it was written to me, and I am at my core a private person, I won’t share the details with you – you understand. But I will say that it sheds some light on that mystery of the “very old church.” It turns out that it is the benign St. Matthew’s Church, and indeed is very old! Sixty years old this year! Can you imagine a church any older than that?

    As to the other items inside: There was a double-page of testimonials from those who St. Matthew’s have helped. There was a postage-paid business reply mail envelope (More on that later!). “God Is Watching OUR VERY THOUGHTS” was the somewhat conflicting message at the top of a provocative Jesus pin-up, also enclosed.

    But most exciting was the prayer rug. Yes! A prayer rug! Now, you’re thinking “How did they enclose an actual prayer rug in a standard business-size envelope?” Well, I don’t need to tell you this, but as it says in Matthew 19:26, “With God, all things are possible.”

    But in this case, the prayer rug measures 11″ x 17″ and is printed on thin paper. Which was folded up.

    To fit in the envelope.

    The thing about the prayer rug is that it’s not mine to keep. At first I was a bit put off by this, but I came to understand: According to the directions, I need only kneel on it – no reason to bother with praying, curiously! – then, like so many five-for-a-dollar Archie comic books on an order form in a 1970s “Pals ‘n’ Gals,” merely check off my needs on that letter I mentioned and send the letter and the prayer rug back to the church. (This is where that return envelope comes in.) There, the folks at the church, they’ll pray on my behalf, and then they’ll send the prayer rug on to another home that needs a blessing. (I can only image all the hundreds or even thousands of houses this prayer rug has been to already.)

    Oh, also I think they’d like it if I sent them money as well.

    And the most astounding thing about the prayer rug is that you’ll notice – at first, anyway – you’ll notice that Jesus’ eyes are closed. Here, take a look – He won’t bite.

    Along the bottom, it reads, “Look into Jesus’ Eyes you will see they are closed. But as you continue to look you will see His eyes opening and looking back into your eyes.”

    My faith is not as strong as it once was, and I’ll admit – I was a bit skeptical to put it mildly. But I figured I’d give it a try. What did I have to lose? And so, yes, I looked into Jesus’ eyes and I continued to look…

    Holy crap, it works!

    And I’ll let you know if both your and my prayers are answered for some sort of editor to reign me in from pounding out these never-ending shaggy dog story-type posts.

    Posted by on March 28, 2011, 2:53 AM.

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