A modern day parable;
There was an elder, and a child, who went into house church to pray...
The elder took notice that his entrance was likewise...noticed. The child though flamboyant as a child may be, was yet shy against his mother's thigh, holding tight as they walked behind the elder's train of friends.
The elder wore a clever suit with many trinkets, his tie was brightly coloured, his priestly mantle bold with prints and designs, his hat full of fluffed dyed feathers that caressed the wind as he walked with his heart's head held high, but his eyes bowed low as to make a false show of reverence, his carefully pressed clothes not straying even an inch least wise as his fellows flocked about him like cherubim before the very throne of God.
The elder was an elder indeed, respected by his peers, and the pastor was fond of him, he did well to support the church's endeavours, gave alms to the poor, and sat in the cushioned chair - the honoured seat, beloved by all in the congregation, considered a lofty student of the scriptures, an authority on the written word.
"Good morning! Good morning, Top of the morning, Welcome by good sir, How fares your morning, may I take your hat sir, I love the new suit, you're such a wise man, how reverent you are, oh my how prayerful, thank you so much for your good word last Wednesday, God must be so proud of you! Never has any man been so righteous as you! Peter himself must be jealous!"
Such adulation was common, and offered up to the man nearly every Wednesday and Sunday, every meeting indeed. Of course, the elder would often reply;
"Naw, naw, now now you're flattering me so! Glory be to God, glory to him alone! Hohoho my...You're too kind Mrs. Nesbit, you make me blush Mr. McKreedy!"
The child was the son of a housewife who had offered little to teaching her son about religion, yet faithfully she reared him with moral dignity, and tried to make him honest. She rarely ever went to church at all. She sat then with her son at the edge of a stool by the wall. Her son was invited to this gathering by the promise of a fulfilling evening by her friend, one Miss Dollot, and the housewife thought to bring her son, and watch for a while...though having little interest herself in religion of any kind, whether in a big church, or a little organic house church.
Ah, but the child, he was a special case indeed. A young little babe barely the age of seven, fresh full of energy, and bright ideas, bright as the elder's clothes, and a bravery as bold as his mantle. He was a child, most certainly. And he got in alot of trouble at home - knocking down vases, biting his older sister, playing ball in the house, wrestling where he ought not, and drawing all over the walls in his room, refusing to eat brussel sprouts and then lying about it when he said he'd eaten them...but had actually thrown them on the floor..."Out of sight, out of mind" after all. A rascal if you ever saw one!
Mrs. Nesbit walking in attempted to introduce herself to the young man;
"Well how do you do little boy?"
The child being less mannerly than he should, snapped a childish snarl;
"I'm not little! I'm BIG! But not as big as you!"
"Hush now!" The good mother said, caring so little of religion, but caring a great deal about manners.
The boy hushed, but not without giving the woman a stiff glare.
The elder of course, being fond of visitors, and hoping to make a friend also introduced himself to the child;
"Hohoho! Welcome, welcome, I am glad to meet a young face, Ever glad! So GLAD AM I! How do you do, How do you do little man, hahahaha! My what hair you have, how do you do?"
The boy didn't much care for the man;
"Your suit is funny looking...You look like a big fat clown! And you laugh like one too!"
The elder glared down at the insolence of such a child...for but a moment, before letting his face appear soft, and kindly. But his heart was wounded, this boy had made fun of his admittedly ridiculous get-up. Through his teeth he said as kindly as he could hide it;
"Well, at least I don't look like a little brat on the inside of my heart...hehehe...I'm a servant of God, you'd do well to reverence to God by showing respect to your elders."
The mother was not amused, not only by her child, of whom with a touch on the shoulder quieted him, and restrained him...but likewise with the elder who had insulted her beautiful born, and dearly loved "little brat", and worst yet, degraded the goodness and innocence in the heart of her child right before her very eyes.
But being patient, and long suffering with the faults of others - and hoping to be a good example, a wise mother before her son - she restrained herself and did not return comment; turning the other cheek. The elder walked away, back to his business of fellowshipping with the crowd.
Time passed, a few minutes perhaps and so it was time to begin the service. A few songs were sung, a few psalms recited, and a poem said by a sweet and wise person named Holly, of whom was nicknamed "Holy" by many, and after some time given to tongues and prayer, the word was opened, and the elder gave his interpretation.
The child, having some sense of things...disagreed, and voiced it. Though hushed again by the mother...The elder took notice, and asked the mother to restrain her ward. The mother did not answer, but merely held her hand upon the child's shoulder, firmly but with a gentle sort of chastisement. She began to grow weary of the elder's show of authority anyhow, especially over her own way of raising her very own son.
The elder's turn with the passing of the word continued, and he began to give a small sermon on how mother's should behave...
"A mother's will is absolute! If she says jump, the child must jump! If not she is a weak mother! The child must have complete obedience, for it is written that he is a shame to her if he is not perfect! Such a child is irreverent, and such a mother is a weak and pitiful mother...Hohoho! Glory to God for the word, for it speaks the truth! And if none see it, that is their fault! Hohoho! Glory to God for his wisdom in all things, and motherhood especially! Hahaha!HA!"
"But woe to a child...who is the shame of his mother...irreverent brats, who don't bridle their tongue...their religion is vain, and their hearts are full of deceit, and they are blind to their own fault! HOhoho! Glory to God for their blindness as it is written it is done they are blinded HOHOHOHO! Haha! Glory to Yahweh! But if the child be a brat, it is the mother's work!"
The child became very angry, knowing the sermon was directed at him, and subtly he was insulted in front of the congregation, but worse his mother was insulted and as any good son knows...
"No one insults my mother and gets away with it! Just because my mommy doesn't need to be like that! How dare you! If my mommy was like that I'd hate her!"
The boy uttered under his breath...
The mother stood silent, knowing full well the errors in the elder, having already learned what was in his heart; mother's have such keen eyes after all, they see in the hearts...a mother knows after all. She restrained her child as he tried to get up to hit the elder, but she being stronger than his rebellious will, kept him in check - not by force...but...by that motherly strength, that gentle touch, that unspoken, but still plainly heard whisper;
"No my son...No...Don't rise up to strike for my honour, just be calm my beautiful child, I love you dearly, you are my very own."
And so the elder stood up to pray...
"I thank you God! That you my father have been as a mother to me, like the mother in your word! The truth! The undeniable scriptures!"
"I thank you that I know them, that I may share them with the congregation and be a blessing! Even be a blessing to this brat in the corner!"
"I thank you God that I am not like this brat, that I have grown in the word, and my studies over all these years, that my knowledge is superior to the child, and superior to the mother who raised him..HOHOHO!"
"I thank you God that my mother is not like this mother! I thank you that I have a true mother, a virtuous mother, a wise mother! Bless her soul! HOHOHO!! Haha, Bless you God, bless you and glory to your name! Hoho!"
"I thank you that I am more reverent, wiser, and more worshipful of you than this spoiled child, and his brazen, disrespectful mouth, that my religion is not in vain, that I can bridle my tongue, and that I am blessed with so many wonderful gifts, and talents, and friends, and HOHOHO! I am so blessed to be able to see the truth, that this child is blind and arrogant to!"
"I thank you that I have the decency to be humble before you! And not insult people, and talk so boldly before your presence with such a proud and haughty attitude!"
"I thank you God that I am right, and you have made me right!"
"I thank you God that I am nothing like this brat, this devil! in the corner..."
The boy...took this with great grief, and clung to his mother's belly, holding tight to her waist, and letting all of his silent tears fall hidden onto her simple white dress...fighting back all the little baby drops he could, but all of his brazen will, and all of his rebellious heart could not hold back a single stream of this innocent fountain - true humility, the humility of a child...brat though he may be.
Through the little sobs, that the mother helped to muffle so as not to draw attention to her babe, he said a little prayer of his own;
"Thank you mommy, that you love me for who I am, even though I am not as good as that elder says I should be."
"Thank you mommy, that you don't punish me like I should be."
"Thank you so much God, for giving me such a wonderful mom!"
"I love you too God, and mommy!"
The boy looked up red-stained eyes, tears still streaming down to look upon the face of his mother who cried too at such a beautiful little heart in such a beautiful little rascal, and to him that little humble man his mother looked so queenly in her simple white, nothing about her appearance at all to make her seem any better than anyone else's parent...but to him, in that moment he saw her love for him shine forth in her being like the glory of the sun, the moon, and the stars, and his favourite chocolate desert, his favourite smells, and a warm comfort like a comfort out of his favourite movie engulfed the little rebel.
The mother took the child in his arms, and holding him fast to her bosom walked away home from that place shaking the dust from her feet, away from the presence of the elder. The child in The Mother's eyes far more than justified...he is loved...Brazen brat and all - by a true mother - and he absolutely knew it.