Summary: The Fifth Sermon of Lent 2008

Our scene opens with a view of a standard American living room in a standard American house that is within the city limits of a… standard American small town.

A…standard American family is in the … standard American living room watching the current episode of ‘Deal or No Deal’ on their… (expensive) cable network. Everyone is having fun and trying to get someone they don’t know (and who cannot hear them) to win money they will never see.

This… standard American family… has two… standard American children one of whose face turns a vivid shade of red during a commercial as they exclaim, ‘that’s not fair!’ ‘Why does he (or she) get to have the last snack!’

‘You got the last snack, the last time!’ ‘No I did not!’ ‘Yes you did!’ ‘No I didn’t!’ ‘YES YOU DID!’ ‘NO I DIDN’T!!!!’ (Unbeknownst to them, dad slinks down in his seat as a guilty look comes across his face.)

Ah, the lack of justice in the… standard American family.

‘It’s not fair!’ They are words that we hear (and say) from childhood onward when a situation takes place in which someone else (or our self) feels that we have been cheated out of something or from something and our personal standard of justice has been violated.

Now in keeping with the theme of hearing animals tell the Lenten (and thankfully, Easter) Story, I wonder what justice might sound like to them?

Being an election year, I thought ‘What if they decided to organize their own political party because they felt ‘under-represented in government?’ There were rumors about this based on a recent press release from Sesame Street.

In it Big Bird was quoted as saying, "We are not asking for animal rights per se, [w]e are just asserting our responsibility to represent ourselves as equally as we can in a world dominated by human beings."

"I don’t recall who said it initially," Bird said. "But I was having a conversation about global warming with Smokey T. Bear, Barney T. Dinosaur and that little Gecko guy, I can never remember his name… from those TV commercials, when someone said, ’Who speaks for us!? Why don’t we have our own party?’… from there the idea just grew. I mean when you look at those Coca Cola Polar Bears and how cute they are! Who is going to take their issues to Washington D.C.?"

McGruff the Crime Dog said he did not expect it to be easy to get a candidate on the ticket for the upcoming presidential elections but that perhaps with the right campaign push and enough advertising they might pull it off.’

Or what about the story of a real and really angry elephant? It seems that a family from Italy, on vacation in South Africa, visited the famous Kruger National Park and decided to take photographs of a herd of elephants when a huge elephant bull took exception to this.

According to the story I found, ‘the elephant bull rammed their Land Rover smashing the windscreen with his tusks. He then head butted the car repeatedly while the driver frantically tried to put the car into reverse and escape. Eventually the car got away with the elephant bull chasing them for at least a mile.’

The family was later found ‘walking around the Park, having left their vehicle behind which had finally broken down.’ Although none of them were injured there was ‘major structural damage to the Land Rover which had to be later scrapped.’

(I wonder if the elephant felt that his privacy had been violated by another group of paparazzi tourists.)

(Slide 1) So far this Lenten season we have been reminded (and perhaps in some instances, heard for the first time) about Jesus our homeless savior from the fox, Jesus our peaceful savior from the donkey, Jesus our warning savior from the camel, Jesus our angry savior from the dove, and Jesus our grieving savior from the hen.

(Slide 2) This morning a real character named Igor, a vulture, tells us a familiar story of Jesus the coming savior…

(Dramatic reading from Living Lent; the animals tell the story, the vulture reveals a coming savior’ by Creative Communications for the Parish © 2008)

Jesus’ use of the vulture to illustrate an important point about His return comes on the heels of His public grieving over the people of Jerusalem and their refusal (read: rejection) of Him and His desire to protect and care for them as a hen covers her chicks to protect and care for them.

We hear our text for this morning beginning with verse 1 of Matthew 24: ‘As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. But he told them, “Do you see all these buildings? I assure you, they will be so completely demolished that not one stone will be left on top of another!”

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