David is 9 years old and fearless. He don’t like pink, he don’t like school and he don’t take no lip. During Kid’s With a Future, a tutor brought David to me because he’d hit another boy. I asked Blake, the tutor, to walk David home and explain to his Momma what had happened. Soon Blake was back. He told me that he had walked David home but hadn’t talked to his Mother because the meanest looking dog he’d ever seen was tied up on the front porch and he wasn’t taking a chance with that dog. I decided to walk down to the house because I’d never seen a dog there before. Sure enough the most square-headed and mangiest looking dog I’d ever seen was tied up and lying on the porch.
I used my best dog-wooing voice to tell him what a pretty boy he was and what a good dog he was and then I put my foot on the bottom step. Immediately the dog stood up, lowered his head and let go a low growl. I took a giant step across the sidewalk and moved into the street. The dog started towards the porch steps and I started calling David’s Momma. Soon the front door opened and Susan came out. “Will you please put your dog in the house so we can talk?” I asked. She squinted for a second and then bent over laughing, “Miz Marsha, that dog ain’t gone bite you. He ain’t got no teeth!”
St. Luke UMC is poor, needy, unpredictable and indescribably wonderful. Any illusions we may have had about being in control disappeared a while back but in the busyness I often forget. Sometimes I am jolted by circumstance beyond my control and my impotence paralyzes me with doubt and fear. I am not in control. Susan’s laughter and the words she spoke that day became a rarely experienced and desperately needed moment of transcendence.
Are you afraid to share your gifts with the people who need them the most? Does the thought of worshipping with folks who might need more that you can give fill you with anxiety? Does remembering that you are not in control leave you paralyzed by doubt and fear? Then repeat with me the words of David’s Momma, Susan, “That dog ain’t gone bite you! He ain’t got no teeth.”