Friday, March 19, 2010

The Carpenter's Plow

A friend of mine sat across from me in our church’s fellowship hall last Sunday.

“What’s up with communion class?” she asked, a look of disbelief on her face. “Is it always so boring?”

I tried not to choke on hot coffee as I laughed. Children in our church who desire to receive their first communion must attend a class that meets for one hour each Sunday afternoon for six weeks. One of the child’s parents must attend, also. I guess my friend lost the coin toss with her husband. The class is many things, but dynamic is not one of them.

“Yeah, it’s pretty dry,” I observed. “You never read the blog post I wrote that was inspired by one of those classes. I’ll have to show it to you.”

So, for my church friend (and blog reader) and her daughter as she prepares to receive her first communion, allow me to share a flashback from two years ago…

Speaking of “Oy,” I was sitting in General Mayhem’s First Communion class yesterday when our pastor made an interesting observation. He commented that Jesus was a carpenter. This fact I already knew. Then he observed that Joseph and Jesus made plows and yokes.

“And from what I understand, they were pretty good plows, too,” the pastor added.

I almost laughed out loud.

This was news to me. While I knew that Joseph was a carpenter, and assumed that Jesus learned some carpentry skills from Joseph, I never spent much time considering what they manufactured, or the quality of their craftsmanship. This instantly amused me to no end, and I mentally drifted away from the class I was sitting in to a large farmer’s field near a dusty road where two men stood next to a donkey, talking...

“Hyam, what beautiful crops you have.”

“Thank you, Hershel,” Hyam replied. “I have been blessed many times over.”

Imagine Mel Brooks talking to Jackie Mason.

“Your rows! They are so straight and even! How do you do such magnificent work?” Hershel asked.

“I’ll tell you a little secret,” Hyam replied, leaning towards his friend and whispering conspiratorially. “The secret is in my plow, and my yoke.”

“Your plow and your yoke?!” Hershel shouted, in surprise.

“SSHHH! Yes, my plow and my yoke,” Hyam assured him. “They are my father’s father’s, father’s plow and yoke. They are very old.”

“No!” Hershel whispered. “But, how can this be so?”

“It was the Jewish carpenter, Joseph, and his son,” Hyam explained. “They made them for great grandfather Ephraim. For three generations our fields have grown straight and true. You put the yoke on your ass and he walks a straight line all by himself! The plants, they are healthy and bountiful. Our family has been blessed. And another thing, the plow and the yoke, they have never broken!”

“How can that be?” exclaimed Hershel.

“It is true,” Hyam assured his friend. “When the son of God makes a plow, he really makes a plow! And I know for a fact that he never got a sliver while making them. Not one! Not even a teeny bit”

I don’t know how long I mentally checked out of the class, but when I returned General Mayhem was answering a question about the Lord’s Supper and the forgiveness of sins and my farmer’s conversation drifted away. Things like this happen to me all the time.


Teacher Mommy said...


Gotta love the "authority" of those kinds of statements.

Brownie said...

I was instantly hearing a Yiddish accent when I read that :)

Oklahoma Granny said...

The next time our minister references Joseph's occupation you can imagine where my mind will go.

Brownie said...

regarding your comment on my blog - I'd actually like to write a story on Sir's K/P transplant - you have no idea how this story evolves. But I have no idea how to go about writing it!

The_Kid said...

I went to a Catholic grade school run by and schooled by nuns...
Anyway, in 2nd grade, there was a big production about First Communion. Big Big Big. A rehearsal before the event.

When it happened, the girls were on the left side of the church as you stood in the back looking at the alter and the boys on the right. This is the church and a photo gallery
Quite beautiful inside actually.

I was 6. My communion partner was Patty D' A....
She was gorgeous, and dressed in a white something or other that looked like a wedding dress to me. Keep in mind I'm 6. So, we walk sideways out of the pews towards the center, and as each pair of us reaches the center, our hands are put together in the prayer configuration, and as we face each other, we touch fingertips then turn toward the front of the church and walk side by side towards the alter, and receive our first communion, then the girl turns left, the boy right and we head back to our assigned pew position.

Well, we fell in ,over with each other with the drama of this event. We went 'steady' for 6 months, me walking a mile to her house to see her. One day, as we were in the woods near the back of her back yard I kissed her as that was all we could figure out to do and her older sister yelled at us. I didn't go to see her anymore and we broke up silently.

The_Kid said...

Meant to say we 'fell in love'.

PPS. I scratched "I love Patty" in the quarter round my dad nailed around the window in the kitchen door he replaced as a result of Delta Darts flying out of Pittsburgh airport at Mach 1 Plus to see what effect sonic booms would have on my dad (not good) and he kicked my butt over it. Another reason I guess love didn't seem like a great idea to me.

Linda said...

Kid, you almost had me in tears. :) Very sweet.

Arby, Can I use this story in my class? LOVE IT!

The_Kid said...

Linda, All true. :)