I was the little 'punk-kid' of our family growing up: the youngest of six, skinny arms, knobby knees, known as "little Chrissy" to my three older sisters.
I had to always sit at the kid's table when relatives came over. I wore my brother's, (and sister's), hand me down clothes. I went to bed early while the rest of my siblings got to play outside in the yard with my cousins from Louisiana.
I usually was picked last for capture the flag.
When grandparents, aunts and uncles came over, they liked to pat me on the head, smile, and then send me off to play while they sat around the big kitchen table staring seriously at their "Pinochle" cards.
Back in the 70's, it seemed like only the grown-ups played cards, while the "punk kids" played kickball out in the backyard; never the twain shall meet!
But then there was Mr. Hurlihy. He often came over to our house during holiday get-togethers. At first I thought he was another one of my many uncles. However, over time I learned he was one my dad's best college buddies who loved to come over because he really enjoyed our family. Mr. Hurlihy liked to play cards too, but I suspect the grumpy faces of the adults at the card table were too much for him to take -- so he would often come outside to play kick ball, basketball and "Lawn Jarts" with us kids! (Remember "Lawn Jarts?" I cannot understand why they were taken off the department store shelves? Maybe the sharp steel point at the end of fast flying missile had something to do with it? Oh, those where the days!)
I couldn't believe it...he dared to cross the unspoken, forbidden boundary line that separated grown-ups from the kids. He also smiled a lot. And the biggest shocker of all, he actually knew me by my first name and not just as the youngest cousin of the crazy Weeks, Roeten and Weber clans. "Hey Chris," he would say, "how is it going buddy? Your dad tells me you are playing flag football this year? Are you excited?"
Was this allowed? A grown-up entering the world of a little "punk kid?"
All I can say is that it didn't matter if he came from the untouchable adult world - - when he came down to my world I knew he liked me and really cared about me. I often wondered, "Why didn't the other aunts and uncles venture down to our world? Why didn't they ask me about flag-football?" I remember when I would sometimes sneak up to the card table and ask how to play "Pinochle," the usual response was, "It's too complicated for you, go back to playing Lawn Jarts - - just don't throw them at your cousin Becky." (How did the grown-ups know we sailed a few of them past her head now and again?)
But if my dad or Mr. Hurlihy was there at the table, they would sit me up on their lap and say, "Here, let me show you my hand...Spades is trump, those are the black shovel looking cards, and you need to try get a run with them....etc., etc., etc."
I often wondered if Jesus was like Mr. Hurlihy? Or was he like my grumpy old aunts and uncles who sat confidently & solidly in place where only the adults belonged as they quietly stared at their cards? You know asking them to play kick-ball would be out of the question. Heck, they wouldn't even budge for an exciting game of "Lawn Jarts!"
So, after wondering about it for awhile, I think Jesus was just like Mr. Hurlihy. Unlike the unspoken superiority my aunts and uncles had; Jesus came down humbly to our world, he left the adult realm of heaven and allowed himself to get involved in our silly little games here on earth. He went so far in his humility that he even wrapped a towel around his waist and washed the feet of his "punk disciples." He knew them all, just as they were. John himself got to sit next to him and lean up against him at the most important dinner table ever, the last supper; and listened while Jesus tried explaining the complicated truth about the the cross and the cruel death he was about to undergo to for the sake of inferior mankind.
Jesus was just like Mr. Hurlihy, and I can't wait to one day play him over a game of heavenly "Lawn Jarts!" And you know what, I'll bet you can throw them as high and fast as you want, and they won't even kill you?