Grace and Mayberry

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                      February 5, 2013


My barber’s name is Phil Hanson. I began going to him a few years ago because a distinguished elderly man in our church, Charles Slusser, always had such a nicely-groomed head of white hair. One day I finally asked Charles where he got his hair cut and he pointed me in Phil’s direction. Phil is now 78 years old, but so far he hasn’t cut anything on my head but hair. The reason I have continued to go back to him again and again is because he reminds me of “Floyd” of Mayberry, hometown setting for “The Andy Griffith Show”.  I want my barber to be more like Floyd and less about style.

Phil has a loyal customer base of mostly older gentlemen who come more for the conversation and less about a cut. Floyd was like that, too. He may have been the only barber in Mayberry, but his shop was a place of conversation.

But, like most of the characters on Andy Griffith, Floyd required some grace. He, Goober, Gomer, Howard, Otis, and especially Barney Fife, all had their stumbles and bumbles. Their talent for doing boneheaded things was the basis for most of the 249 episodes of the series. Otis tried and failed to get sober numerous times. Barney carelessly first his pistol more than once. Even Aunt Bee needed grace in a few episodes.

For some reason Mayberry didn’t hold grudges. Forgiveness found a home there. (My favorite is the episode entitled “Citizen’s Arrest! Citizen’s Arrest!”) In a majority of the episodes Andy at some time would shake his head in disbelief and say, “Bar…ney!” By the time the thirty minute show was over, however, all had been forgiven.

Perhaps our world needs a little more Mayberry, and less of “The Real World.” Grace seems to be harder to come by these days as people seek their corner in the ring before they come out swinging.

Jesus was very gracious when it came to his disciples. Kind of like Andy Griffith dealing with his cast of Mayberry characters, Jesus dealt with men who wanted to know who would be greatest in the kingdom of heaven, wondered why they couldn’t cast out demons, doubted the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, and weren’t sure what was going on a lot of the time.

I sometimes have to step back and realize that the picture I have of Jesus is one where he is battling with the Pharisees, or getting perturbed with the teachers of the Law. My picture needs to be updated with the Jesus of grace. He had the first group of trail-and-error followers. There was not a manual for them to follow, so they needed to follow Jesus closely…and sometimes they messed it up.

I think the church needs to be more like Mayberry, a place of grace. There’s a little bit of Floyd, Otis, Barney, and Aunt Bee in each one of us. A bit of waywardness, cluelessness, and falling short in various ways. The church is a cast of characters trying to get it together, but knowing there may be an episode next week that will cause some head-shaking.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christianity, Community, Faith, Grace, Humor, Jesus, Pastor, Story, The Church, Uncategorized

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