The Local Voice

The View From The Balcony: “City Grocery Jesus”

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A few weeks ago I invited Jesus to meet me on The Balcony. I had something to show him. He and I talk up there a lot, but it had been a while. Being the gentleman that he is, Jesus accepted my invitation. He actually sounded quite pleased at the prospect.

When Jesus got to The Balcony I already had the table in the southwest corner prepared with his wineglass of water and a few napkins. He smiled at me affectionately, then we hugged and sat. As is his custom, Jesus stirred the water with his finger, turning it into a red wine. He offered me a sip.

“That tastes like Flam 2018 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Galilee,” I said.

“You’ve got a good palate, there, Weeks,” he replied. “I’m trying to get them to do a Flim version and blend the two. Violia! ‘Flim Flam’ Cabernet.”

We chuckled.

“What is it you wanted to show me?” asked Jesus.

I reached in my backpack where I keep all my accoutrements and pulled out the “City Grocery Jesus” action figure that Father Joseph Tonos made. Jesus took the figure and examined it thoroughly with a skeptical eye, then said, “Well, I’ll be damned. I’ll just be damned.”

A grin crept onto the face of Jesus, then broke into a full smile., “And you’re telling me that ne’er-do-well Father Joseph Tonos made this?”

“That’s what he said,” I replied.

“That explains it,” Jesus said.

“Explains what?” I asked.

“Unaccounted for time,” Jesus said. “We, the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—have noticed large blocks of time missing from Joe’s Jesus People timecards. It seemed that sometimes in the confessional he wasn’t always listening. We couldn’t figure out why. He must have been handing out indulgence gift cards to his flock while he was creating this, this, this…doll. And all those late nights when he had candles lit and was silent? He wasn’t praying or we’d have heard him. He was dilly dallying in dollerie!”

Jesus took a closer look at the packaging of City Grocery Jesus. “I’ll be doggone,” he said. “Father Joe’s referenced you all over the place!”

“Yeah,” I said. “It’s a bit embarrassing but, well, I’m getting a real kick out of it.”

“Oh, yeah,” said Jesus as he turned to the back of the packaging and started to read. “Damn!” he said, beginning to belt out in hysterics, “He’s got a Castro Jesus, Trump Jesus, Martian Jesus, Barrista Jesus, Cowboy Jesus, Churchy Jesus, LGBTQ Jesus, Womyn Jesus, PETA Jesus, Dashboard Jesus—Jesuses EVERYWHERE!

“Then he’s got a Pie-in-the-Sky Heaven, Sweet-by-and-by Heaven, 9-Lives Heaven, Corndog-7 Heaven, A Very-Brady Heaven, All-Dogs-Go-to-Heaven Heaven—Hell, Randy! He’s got a Heaven for everywhere and everything! This reads like a sanctified Bubba Gump menu!

We both laughed until tears rolled down our faces, then Jesus spoke up. “You know what’s funny about this?” I shrugged. “Up in Heaven Heaven we give out spiritual gifts. Father Joe got several from the start. He got the gifts of kindness, compassion, humility, faithfulness, and a few more. When he entered the priesthood he also got the gift of writing exceptional homilies and delivering them with eloquence. He’s one of the finest examples of what it means to be a servant to my Daddy’s sheep.

“But some jackleg up in Glory must have found a toy-making gift laying around in the spiritual gift vault and slipped it into Father Joe’s pocket on his way out. Brilliance is what I’d call that! Pure, unadulterated brilliance!”

“I agree,” I said. “But I’m curious about one thing. The price tag on City Grocery Jesus is only 23¢. Why so cheap?”

“Father Joe must have been using ancient Hebrew math,” said Jesus. “23¢ in 33 AD is equivalent to about $6,141 USD today, so City Grocery Jesus ain’t as cheap as he looks.

“Next time you run into Father Joe, will you do me a favor?” Jesus asked.

“Of course,” I said.

Jesus stood. “Tell him my Daddy is very proud of him.” Moving toward the door Jesus slipped City Grocery Jesus inside his robe. “And tell him to make another one of these for you. This one’s going home with me.”

…and that’s the view from The Balcony.

Randy Weeks is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Certified Shamanic Life Coach, an ordained minister, a singer-songwriter, and an actor. City Grocery Jesus in currently in his possession, on loan from The Master himself. Randy may be adulated or castigated at randallsweeks@gmail.com.

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