Two men in their later seventies are not to be trifled with, specifically if they are engaged in war with each other. Let’s suppose they live in a small town, maybe even a village named Ashton, and they both serve as elected officials on the village board; a board whose integrity rivals that of the Supreme Court and the Keystone Cops. They are bitter foes during meetings that often erupt in invectives, expletives, vituperations and general nastiness. What if such adversaries take their contentions to the streets?
One morning village board member Darrin finds his otherwise immaculate lawn filled with assorted garbage. Dutifully Darrin collects the refuse and deposits it in an appropriate receptacle. A few days later more detritus is found in front of the home, again cleaned up. At this point suspicions begin to form; a dog dragging debris from a dustbin? Some local kids disrespecting the property of others? A local gang starting mayhem on a small scale? More misgivings creep in because it is ONLY Darrin’s yard that receives these occasional dumps. After a canvas of the neighborhood no one has seen anything but promise to be wary.
A few days later Mrs. Kravitz from across the street espies Larry, the other village board member, depositing debris on Darrin’s place during the night. Larry is ratted out to Darrin by the aforementioned snitch and the fun continues. Armed under the banner of righteousness, justice and revenge Darrin collects the new leavings and, at night, deposits them in the bed of Larry’s pickup truck, along with a note. The missive reads, “I kept a bottle out of this trash for the fingerprints to give to the coppers if this ever happens again. Sincerely in Christ, Darrin.”
People who learned of the heinous deed and note were shocked, primarily for Darrin’s use of the title “Christ” in a non pejorative manner. The village populace now waits in contemplation for the next engagement for this was only the opening salvo. Anything could be in the offing: short sheetings, the pail of water against the door trick, ringing the doorbell and running away, dueling pierogies at ten paces. All the villagers know for certain, that in a battle of wits, these two are not well armed.
Conflict is a part of life because of sin. Jesus never had conflicts with those that asked for His help and believed in Him. He did have conflicts with the Pharisees, Scribes and Elders, the “powers that be” of His day. They cared more for the law and themselves than they did for the people. The people, the sheep of His flock, are the only reason that ministers exist. If they exist for the law or some legacy they are failing. The people of God are the minister’s sole care and Christ, the minister’s sole legacy.
Now back to Ashton, there are rumors of window soaping and trees being tp’d on the property of a village board member tonight.