Little reminders from Stuart Little

Mondays are my usual day off so I spent the day catching-up on things around the farm and raking lots of leaves. I curled up this evening with our four year old and got about six chapters into E. B. White’s classic Stuart Little. At the end of chapter two, entitled “Home Problems,” there is a little episode where the Little family discusses how they would hate to offend Stuart, their small mouse/son. They are sensitive to the fact that he is just a mouse and might be sensitive to his lowly place in life. Therefore the Little family seeks to rid themselves of any reference that might offend poor Stuart. They care for him deeply, which is never doubted, but they do him a disservice when they attempt to avoid any reference to his true nature (as a mouse). It all starts when Mrs. Little tears out the page from the nursery rhyme book and its reference to “Three Blind Mice.” She reasons that it would be terrible for Stuart to grow up in fear and run the risk of bad dreams. The family even conspires to rewrite the classic “Twas the night before Christmas” because of its not-so-veiled reference to a lazy mouse (“not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”). However we all know that the truth of the matter is Stuart’s a mouse and making his environment more user-friendly won’t change that. This is just a child’s story but it’s one many preachers would do well to heed. Changing the surroundings, tearing pages from the book or skipping over difficult words in the text might make them feel better in the temporal but it might also be robbing your congregation of what they really need to hear. Preach the Word. . . all of it!

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