3/3 amos

Editor’s note: Amos is a church mouse, unable to use the keyboard shift keys and unschooled in the art of punctuation. With Fat Tuesday’s Mardi Gras coming back to life in New Orleans this year, the Lenten season has taken on new prominence. This week, Amos recalls when he first learned about Ash Wednesday.

the big deal about lent

boss a lot of the big
bugs and little mice
around here in the
church pew underworld
are roaming about
with what looks like
smudged plus signs
painted on their foreheads

i don t understand
it at all says me to my
friend freddie the flea

those aren t plus
signs says he to me
they re the sign of the cross
of repentance faith
and humility

boss it seems that last
wednesday was ash
wednesday the start of
the season of lent

and pastor leroy beetle put
those ashen cross signs
on the foreheads of all the
believers who came forward

it was a moving ceremony
boss i kept waiting to see if
anybody s face caught
on fire but nobody s did

you re supposed to give up
something for lent
says freddie to me

like what says me

something that s a sacrifice
something that costs you
something that you want
changed in your life

like a job or your
underwear says me

no no silly says he to me
you change things like bad
habits or give up sins that
multiply like rabbits –

i know says me i ll
give up mousetraps
or cats quite willingly

no no amos that s not
right you ve got to sacrifice
says freddie otherwise it s
fruitless it s no dice

what s the one thing
above every other thing
that makes your heart
sing when you think
of that thing

and boss i couldn t help it
i looked right at my last
crumpled up cheetos bag

no no says me
not my cheetos i
can t live without
those they re better
than doughnut holes

you need to give
them up you see
says freddie to me
they re taking the
place of jesus priority
in your life heart
and memory

you ve set your affection
on cheesy puffs of air
rather than the lord
of hosts so fair

which will it be says he
the cheetos god or
jesus the son of god

the whole point of lent
freddie says to me is to
repent and change your ways
then follow jesus all the rest
of your days

and boss he was right
the purpose of lent is
to model the life of jesus
that s what frees us
he didn t give up things
so much as he gave up
himself to die for me

and all he wants from me
is for me to give up me
repent of my iniquity
receive him in humility
experience his grace
and generosity as well as
his mercy peace and
tranquility
amos