I met Mary for the tenth time last Sunday, but only then did I start to know her more. Mary is not her real name. She exudes an innocence that camouflages a naivete. She speaks with a slightly furrowed brow that tells that her words flow from deep thoughts. She holds views about the world and stands by her own beliefs with a passion. Yet her world is all her own. When she comes out of her shell, she expects utopia, a place with people who are at the very least near perfect. And when they’re not, she crawls back into her shell and languishes there with no one else but a faithful and submissive dog.
I invited Mary to church and she came last Sunday wide-eyed and curious, her first in a Christian worship place. The sanctuary was livened up with eight lavishly lighted Christmas trees, and five big candles standing stalwart in the middle of a wreath with red colored ribbons on the sides. The band played with much gusto that moved the congregation to robust singing. Being the first day of Advent, the first candle of hope was lighted by a family after their testimony about their faith. The sermon was appropriate for the theme of the service — that the Word was with the beginning of the old creation and made flesh in the new creation in the person of Jesus Christ.
Mary didn’t understand that, she said.