Pounding the Pulpit: Hero’s Aren’t Selfish.
“Friends, I’m not an athlete,” Chambers smirked. “But that doesn’t surprise any of you.”
“There once was a spectacular physical specimen named Astylos from the southern Italian city of Croton. A celebrated champion — the distinguished athlete took home six total victories in three successive Olympiads. He proudly represented his country of Croton and the city reciprocated those good vibes with a hero’s welcome upon his return. Minstrels wrote songs and ladies danced in the streets … it was the type of parade that would make the best of teams jealous! Legend says that even statues were erected in his honor. A fitting triumphal bash for an Olympic wreath wearer.”
“However, the following four years — he switched teams. No longer clothed in the scarlet red of the Italian city that had glorified him as king. He would instead don the Royal purple of Syracuse — a political rival of Croton. The great runner would wave the flag of his people’s bitter enemies in the winner’s circle for the following two Olympiads.”
“Completely and utterly spitting in the face of the same ones who carried him upon their shoulders just a few years before. The memorials were demolished. His former childhood home converted to a prison. Do you know what that tells me, family?”
A collective “what” rings out from the congregation.
“Olympians, specifically those who choose the art of hand-to-hand combat, are selfish. When push comes to shove … they’re only looking out for themselves! They’ll do anything to get to the top — and they don’t give a flying hootenanny about the people they have step on to get themselves there. It’s almost pathetic the way that they cheat their way to the top and play the political game with an endless amount of people eating out of the palms of their hands! When things don’t go their way – they take the cowards way out. You should be ashamed of yourself!”
A group of older ladies sit in the front row exchanging waved fingers at one another mocking Chambers’ previous statement … ‘ashamed’ they exclaim in the process.
“People become selfish for a number of reasons. They’re insecure. They don’t believe they have enough resources to meet their needs so they turn inward and shut off the rest of the world. They don’t have such a lovely church to stand behind them and prod them forward. But our Holy Words are true, my friend. Pride goeth before a fall. And you’re headed straight for destruction, you selfish bastards.”
D’von covers his mouth with his right hand as a sign he may have crossed a boundary in this week’s sermon … fortunately for him, his flock continues to wait with baited breath.
“The difference between the two of us is that I’m a leader in it’s truest form. An entire congregation at my disposal. But you? You’re nothing more than an Alter Boy waiting spread eagle for the false prophets to reap whatever self-respect you might have had left!”
A large majority of the church knee-slaps and chuckles at the thought of a bent-over alter boy. You’ve heard the rumors.
“The church of D’von Chambers is real and it’s forever. I don’t surround myself with people merely for a sense of belonging like you do. I don’t change my stripes like the fear-bitten tiger because I’m fearful of the possibility of being hunted. I don’t wave a new flag in the midst of chaos and potential to use them for my own personal advantage. I welcome the opportunity to lead a group of followers to the promise land … and will do so when I’m not only your Bishop or your pastor but I will also do so as your champion.”
Chambers casually draws his hand across his waist symbolizing his desire to be their champion as well as their vicar.
“I will rewind any thoughts of individualism that may have crossed your mind, congregation. I will take us back to a time where church was the center of our world. We’ll once again create a world where the church bells ring on Sunday mornings’ and the world packs in to a tiny little pew … and shares with each other the things that they have. Your selfishness will die, Gable … one way or another.”
“Now … pass that offerin’ plate on’ mo’ gain, youngin’ because the only antidote to selfishness is to give what you got and I’m gonna give’ ol’ Gable a beatin’ that his daddy should have given ’em years ago!”
Chambers’ closes his big right fist as he motions towards a father casually elbowing his son a few rows back. The organ plays and the offering plates get passed as D’von smiles a mischievous smile from the pulpit.