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Acts 9:1-19: An Allegory

by The Rev. Ross Putnam

Ross  PutnamMr. McGonakunelink lived in the most unusual house.  It was solid beyond measure – made with extra heavy and thick timbers.  One could have mistaken it for a fortress.  That was an odd thing, because Mr. McGonakunelink’s house was on a regular street.  Its presence was un-nerving.

Un-nerving is one thing.  Foreboding is another matter.  The general gossip suggested three factors added to its fearsome nature.

First was that the house was unusually dark and cast strange shadows all day long.

The second unusual factor is that house appeared to be upside down.  It wasn’t, of course, but it looked as though it were.  Word had it that the upside look caused the strange shadows.

The third factor is that this large, sturdy, shadow-casting, upside-down-looking house on top of a hill had no windows.   Not even a peep hole on the door.

Mr. McGonakunelink liked that.  He was not interested in what happened on the outside. He did not like people anyway.  All he was interested in were his top-secret job and keeping an eye on the timbers that held his house together.

Having a strong, reliable structure was important to Mr. McGonakunelink.  What passersby felt or said was no concern to him.  Structure allowed him to make sense of the world.

One day there came an unexpected knock on the front door.  “How strange,” Mr. McGonakunelink said to himself.  He spoke to himself because there was no one around.  He knew he was alone, but Mr. McGonakunelink whispered just in case someone overheard him as he worked.  His motto was, “the less said and the more done, the less resistance and the more results.”

“How odd,” he said – again to himself.  “Whoever is knocking has to have figured out how to get beyond the upside down illusion.  “Hmmm…”

Whispering, he asked who was there.  No answer came.  He tried again, asking – louder this time – who was knocking.  And right then, much to his surprise, a child’s voice beside him said, “Hello, Mr. McGonakunelink.  We’re the Red Button patrol.”

Before Mr. McGonakunelink had time to draw a breath or ask “what is that?” there were two – not one, but two – children beside him.  In the very heart of the house where he imagined himself to be safe!  He wondered how the children got through the still shut door.

He asked their names.  “I’m Sam,” said one. “I’m Sam, too,” said the other.  Mr. McGonakunelink thought “Sam2” was an odd name, but he was not one to comment on such.

Much to his horror, the children took his hands and led him down the hallway.  He thought about tightening his grip, throwing the children into a cell (yes, his fortress had a cell!) and handing them over to the authorities.  But, he discovered, he could neither grip tightly nor let go.  Very odd.

The children stopped so fast Mr. McGonakunelink nearly tripped over them.  Suddenly they were facing a wall.  On it, though he had never seen it before, was a red button which they pushed.  Quickly the house began twisting and turning.  It rose way up into the sky and sank back down so rapidly Mr. McGonakunelink became dizzy.  His heart stopped altogether in the next instant when the whole house – every timber, plank, board, screw bracket, hinge, latch, lock and nail came apart.  It didn’t fall apart, it came apart.  As it spun he could see daylight between the pieces.  The children seemed remarkably unaffected.  Perhaps they had done this before.  Mr. McGonakunelink didn’t care.  He just wanted to be on solid ground again.

Thud!  Crunch! Shudder and shake.  Mr. McGonakunelink fell in a heap.  Without asking, the children guided him back to and out the front door.

His job had been to make the world safe but so much time had passed since he had seen the real world that he’d forgotten what he’d been protecting.  He was fascinated by what he saw and began to wonder why he had spent all that time concerned with the strength and durability of his house.

The children turned him around.

His house seemed to be gone.  Panicking, he gasped as he tried to catch his breath.  Doubling over, he saw what looked like his house but on a much smaller scale.

“How peculiar,” Mr. McGonakunelink said.  Something happened as he spoke.  The house was shrinking.  Even as he spoke, he realized he had not spoken only to himself.  He had not whispered.  He had actually spoken out loud so the children could hear him.  He smiled.  He realized the children were speaking and he actually wanted to listen!

“You are going to be living differently,” they were saying.  “You are needed for a job we cannot do alone.”

It was then he saw in the distance other houses like the one he had so recently left; forts so sealed off those inside could not see the world.  He knew the job Sam and Sam2 were talking about.  He began imagining dismantling his house and using its material to shelter many people.

With a sense of pride he marked the occasion by saying, “Ahem!  From now on, I will be known not as Mr. McGonakunelink.”  He thought a moment and asked, “How about Mr. McLink?”

Sam and Sam2 said together, “how about your first name, George?” A cheer went up and the work began.

O God, maker of all of us, keep reminding us to open the doors of our houses so we can always find a path to a new life.  Amen

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