22 December 2013

Christmas Tales 2013 Edition

Last year I tried, for the first time, my hand at a sermon in verse.  I had a blast, so I did it again this year.

Judson Sermon 20131222 "Why Lutefisk from Jacqueline Thureson on Vimeo.

Why Lutefisk and Not Squirrel
sermon-in-verse Advent IIII
December 22, 2013
Judson Memorial Baptist Church
Minneapolis, MN
The Rev’d G. Travis Norvell

Before we begin there are a few things you must know
1.     Angels are very heavy sleepers
2.     Angles are terrible at rhyming words
3.   Not every line will rhyme true.  I know y’all know the song The Wichita Lineman by Jimmy Webb, the most popular line,
And I need you more than want you
And I want you for all time
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line.   Did you hear that?  Time and line do not rhyme, it is what songwriters call a faux or lazy rhyme.  Well this morning I have declared faux or lazy rhymes to be fine and dandy.
     4.  I will go in out and between rhymes and regular sentences a few times.
     5.  Finally, this story is pretty all true. 

Kids you probably do not know
But not so long ago
There was a squirrel in our house
A squirrel, not a mouse.
It lived in the walls
And scurried down the halls.
It was a pest
and we wanted to send it out west.
So we called a man
And he came with a plan
To rid our house of the vexation
With a cumbersome conglomeration
Of traps, and cages, and snares
Guaranteeing the squirrel would never haunt our stairs
And he caught the squirrels, there were eight
But one escaped.
A red one that talked
Well more like squawked. 

Now one day this summer I laid on my hammock and napped. After some time transpired I awoke to the awful audio of annoyance, a red squirrel squawking.  I looked around and sure enough there on the lowest branch of the sugar maple was a red squirrel squawking at me and wouldn’t stop.  I tried to shoo it away but she would not move.  So I went back to sleep.  As I slumbered the squawking became softer and softer almost to a whisper.  And in the whispering there was a rhythm and in the rhythm there was a word.  And this is what she said:

Lutefisk, lutefisk, that awful dish
Have you ever wondered why they eat that fish
On Christmastime
And not any other time?

I have, I have pray tell my friend
I will, I will, it is a story I do commend.

Long ago before the cities of the earth were in form
Squirrels for dinner at Christmastime was the norm
We were stewed, fried, sautéed and boiled
And squirrel gravy was worth more than oil.
Until the day Mary the woman and Joseph the man
Journeyed from Nazareth to Bethlehem
They were on the run full of fear
For soon out of the woman a babe would appear.

They were searched for a place to stay
But every innkeeper said go, go, go away.
Until one man offered his grange
Mary said we’ll take it as long as my child wont catch the mange

So they prepared a bed
Right where the animals were fed
And soon the woman a’swoon
The babe wanted out, it was a full moon
In a bit the babe was in her arms
Sadly, no one sounded the alarms
The angels, the angels said they would sing
But there was nary a ring

About that time
Came the squirrel named Clementine
I told you there would be lots of false rhymes
Every night she ate the oats
The were not eaten by the goats
But this night in her path was a block
a mother in babe in afterbirth shock
so she went another way
up and over the fray

Now children there is another thing you must know
Angels were sleeping in the rafters whose snores sounded like a tornado
Up in the rafters of the stable
Were the archangels Michael and Gabriel
They slept through the birth of Jesus
While mary screamed angels cant you hear us?

Clementine while scurrying up and over the winged sleepers
Tickled them so that they opened their peepers
Hearing the mother and seeing the child
They flew to the sky and sang like wild
Glory to God in the highest
And peace on earth
Remember no hard how they try, every time
Angles just cannot…make sentences end with the last syllable of words sounding a like. 
All creation sang that night
And in heavens a new star shone bright
Simply because of a hungry squir-rel
Tickled and woke God’s person-nel

The  next morning the angles found Clementine
Way up high in a sticky tall tree of pine
Squirrel, they said, you’ve done a great deed
So we bring you gifts of  nuts and seed.

God too was filled with gratitude
And wanted to lift up Clementine’s magnitude
Squirrel because of your great feat
At Christmastime no one will eat your meat

But your probably wondering what does this have to do with lutefisk aren’t ya?  Well for that we have to go another place, to the council of the Most High

On the night the angles sang
All of creation rang
Except for one, aint that odd,
It was the stubborn cod!
The cod was the only animal that refused to sing
So God cursed that awful thing
Cod, from now on you shall be the featured fish
On each and every Christmas dish
But that is not enough
You shall also be soaked in that awful stuff
Lye, Lye, Lye
Because you would not comply

And that kiddos is why every Christmastime we eat lutefisk and not squirrel. 

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