Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 27 November 2022
When I was a youth leader (he says, halfway through his 8th decade on earth), I was famed – or infamous – for bad jokes and bad French. What’s changed, you might ask? These two traits came together when a few of us took one of our young members to Jeunesse pour Christ, the French arm of Youth for Christ, near Mulhouse in the Rhône Valley. She volunteered there for a year. Over dinner in JpC’s lovely courtyard, I thought I’d have a stab at regaling our Gallic sisters and brothers with Doctor Doctor jokes. Another youth leader, in the bunch who drove Gail to JpC, reminded me of this when she noticed a bad Dad joke on my Facebook page a couple of days ago. Wow, fancy remembering that from 45 years or more ago. One of the jokes went like this: ‘Un homme est allé chez un médecin. Le médecin a dit: “Salut, je ne vous ai pas vu depuis longtemps.” L’homme a dit, “Non, j’ai été malade.”’ Which being interpreted, as the KJV has it, is ‘A man went to a doctor. The doctor said, “Hello, I haven’t see you for a long time.” The man replied, “No, I’ve been ill.”
Nonsense as it is, there are folk who won’t go to see the doctor, because they’re ill. I’m like it when I know that he’s going to remark that I have high blood pressure, or I’m overweight, or my blood sugar is high. So I put off the appointment until I’m healthier. Except that also puts off getting healthier. A Jesuit acquaintance told me a similar story, not a joke, about greeting a parishioner at Confession. “Hello”, he said, “I haven’t see you for a while.” “No, I haven’t been as good as I should.” He didn’t want to admit it, and so he hadn’t been able to hear that he is forgiven. And when he asked another parishioner if they could pray about an issue, the parishioner responded that perhaps God only listened to good people.
When Jesus was challenged for eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners (Mark 2), He told the Pharisees “It isn’t the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I haven’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Jolly good job too, says I.