Stillman, Smith & Joseph (l to r: Smith, Stillman and Joseph) On Sunday evening Rev. John Smith, founder of God's Squad, Christian motor-bikers' association, spoke at Zac's Place. He's always controversial and this was no different.
He was looking at the 'beens' (should-have, has etc) but spoke mainly about Samson, a could-have-been. He could have been a great leader of his people but his human frailty let him down. His passion for Delilah was greater than his passion for God.
I can understand that. It's easy - for some of us - for a physical desire to be more real and powerful than a spiritual one.
John Smith also spoke about another John, the Baptist. He was a has-been, the one who proclaimed the coming of the messiah and who was pushed into the background when Jesus, his cousin, came on the scene.
Just before his life would end by beheading, John sent a message asking Jesus if he really was 'the one who was to come'. In spite of having baptised Jesus and hearing God speaking blessing from heaven upon him, and, no doubt, having seen and heard of the miracles (I like to imagine John and Jesus playing together as boys, John breaking his favourite wooden toy boat and being upset and crying, and Jesus repairing it with a word!) that Jesus was performing, in those last moments, John was seized with doubt. Was Jesus really the messiah or had he, John, got it all wrong and wasted his life?
Jesus replied by saying that the blind were receiving sight, the lame walking, the lepers healed, the dead raised. Heaven had come to earth.
Had John wasted his life? I don't think so.
Before John Smith started speaking, Martyn Joseph sang a few songs, including my heart's prayer, Turn Me Tender Again. A lovely man and a great singer.
The only distraction in the evening was sitting across the aisle from us. Judging by the rich aroma, he was a street-dweller - one of the ugly and unloved that Jesus sought out - and out of the corner of my eye, I could see him scratching. Now, do you know how hard it is not to start scratching when you see someone else doing it? I'm scratching now just thinking about it!
Don't scratch. You don't really need to. No, don't scratch. Listen to what John Smith is saying. Concentrate. No, don't scratch. You're not itching. John the Baptist, yes. No, no, don't scratch. Aaaaaah scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch ...