Today is the anniversary of the massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD which destroyed the Roman City of Pompeii. It was one of the worst natural disasters in the ancient world.
Ongoing archaeological excavations in Pompeii have uncovered fragments of a document (in Latin) from an early Christian Church in Pompeii. Though to be the final prayer of the “First Century First Evangelical Pentecostal Holier than Thou Methodist Church of Pompeii”, it is translated from the Latin and published here in English for the first time:
We just want to thank you for finally hearing our prayer and causing this volcano to erupt. We have been praying for years than you would burp from the Earth below to smite the sexual immorality and pagan religious practices surrounding us. It is so good to know you’ve actually heard our prayers. We are grateful that you are about to rain fire, death, and brimstone on the evil fornicators, idol worshipers, and Caesar lovers who are our neighbors. Thank you for finally hearing our calls for death and destruction. Perhaps now, we can get back to being the disciples you called us to be; those with love, unity, and peace in our hearts.
At this point, the prayer breaks off. The manuscript notes that, “a certain Gaius Marcus Vitleus raised his hand to tell the pastor that the church was seconds away from being destroyed by flaming ash and lava.”
Thus ended the final prayer of the “First Century First Evangelical Pentecostal Holier than Thou Methodist Church of Pompeii” and their early Christian community. It’s amazing how far we’ve as Christians. I doubt anything like that would happen today.
I never got Jerry Lewis. I don’t think he was funny. So what? My kids don’t get Jerry Seinfeld. Since when do we have to share a collective sense of comedic taste? My daughters don’t see why I laugh at a show “about nothing”. Certain kinds of humor are generational. I laughed at Hee Haw because it was ridiculous, not because it was funny.
If a joke transcends generations it’s still funny when it is delivered well, long after it was first conceived. That’s when we’re talking genius level comedy. Shakespeare wrote funny stuff; really funny jokes. If the material is delivered right, what was funny in 1600 can make an audience laugh in 2017. Neither Jerry Lewis nor Jerry Seinfeld will still be funny in four hundred years. That’s what sets genius apart. Do Jerry Lewis’ jokes age well? No, they do not. Jerry Lewis, for all the good he did to raise billions for children with Muscular Dystrophy, didn’t tell jokes that will stand the test of time. God bless him for his philanthropic work. His comedy won’t be remembered. Now, Dean Martin could sing. Music, like a good balcony scene, will be recited forever.
If I’m not mistaken, wasn’t Shakespeare the first member of the Rat Pack?
1. Switch the Welch’s for Sangria.
2. Attribute everything, from the slightest breeze to the dog’s passing of wind, to the Holy Spirit.
3. Watch the Baptists wait for the liquor store to fix their generator.
4. Tell each other about the time we didn’t have air conditioning when we were growing up.
5. Listen to me yell from the kitchen, “I told you this is how the rapture starts”.
6. Make plans for the church to hold a Blackout Awareness Readiness Blessing Quorum, a BARBQ.
7. Appoint a committee to buy matches and another to count them.
8. Send for a candle making kit from Cokesbury.
9. Attribute the noises you make when taking a cold shower to “speaking in tongues”.
10. Compose a song about the journey from darkness to light to be performed by a children’s choir.
1. Shouldn’t it be larger?
2. Why is everything so fifty shades of grey?
3. Does “Death” really mean death?
4. Why are there no clocks on the walls? Doesn’t evil require better timing?
5. Why is the Methodist Chaplain’s office next to Darth Vader’s pod?
1. The Shroud of Turin
2. That tract someone left in the gas station bathroom
3. The bumper sticker that reads “Follow Me to Church”
4. Works Righteousness
5. Frustration that their Buddhist temple was too liberal
Ponderings from the Pulpit
Musings from the Minister
The Altar Address
The Preach Speaks
Rappin’ with the Rev
Rumination from the Reverend
Words with Friends
From the Pulpit to the Pew
Anything with the word “Epistle” (just don’t do it…I beg you)
Richard Lowell Bryant
1. Work on your next sermon
2. Make a papier-mâché version of your own head to leave in the pew so it looks like you’re actually there when you’ve stepped out for a break (Great VBS Project!)
3. Compile weekly shopping list for trip to Food Lion
4. Raise your hand and ask, “Is this the one where you come out in opposition to sin?”
5. Shout “Amen” at the least inspiring moment in the sermon (works for the preacher or congregation)
6. Slap your neighbor. If they don’t turn the other cheek, raise your hand again and report them to the preacher
7. Walk outside to your golf cart where a bottle of whiskey awaits. Then wait for the conclusion of the service to ask the pastor if you can preach next week.
8. Hold up a sign that reads, “WE ARE PRAYING FOR YOU”
9. Check the ferry schedule
10. Volunteer to work in the nursery