A Sermon for Those Who Need to be Preached To

Flip Wilson as the Reverend Leroy

Mock sermons were popular in the 19th century. American comedian Flip Wilson often delivered mock sermons on his television show as the Reverend Leroy.

Dear brethren, we are come together today to speak about the dreadful things that have caused all manner of grief and disharmony among our beloved and beloving family.

A family, as we all well know, is the whole of a plant, from its seeds to its flowers, to its roots and its stems. A family, as we all well know, is like a grape on the vine that longeth for the sweet warmness of the sun in the cloudiest of days, and for the cool shade of the grey skies in a parched and dissolate landscape.

Now, there are families and families, and some families are brought together by Happiness and some families are brought together by Happenstance. Woe unto those who seek to separate the families of the Wheat from the families of the Chaff, for there is no Wheat among us, nor any Chaff. A family, whether it live in harmony or dissonance, is a whole plant, and being wholly planted completes itself from the Spring unto the Fall.

That is, when one part of the family speaks ill of another part of the family, the whole family in its entirety trembles from the tip of the highest flower to the base of the deepest root. As the Book of the Gracious Words says in Chapter 12 Verse 8: “There shall be none amongst ye who speak darkly, that light shall not reach through those of whom thou darkly speakest.”

It is a terrible revelation upon us all that we in our family find whisperings and mutterings intended for the benefit of some and the harm of others, for a family cannot both attack and defend its own. Even if a family is a family of Happenstance rather than a family of Happiness, borne out of Need rather than out of Desire — even if our family represents only the unwilling cooperation of stem and branch — still, we are a family, a plant wholly unto ourselves, and we needs must be one and united, and not speak evil of those whom Happenstance has made our companions and members of the same family.

It is a sore and miserious thing that some shall speak harshly behind the turned backs of others, not out of righteous condemnation but out of pettiness and coldness, and all small and narrow-mindedness, as like are to be found in the hearts of small communities where all manner of gossip and turmoil are the bitterest of daily graciousness. For in these small and pettile communities, where each neighbor knows the other, and where all comings and goings forth are gathered and mentioned for comment upon, it is understood that he who strikes first strikes hardest.

Even so, as the Book of the Roots tells us in the third verse of the second chapter: “Let those cry out who seek to draw the first blood, for blood shall be given to them, and they shall find it to be bitter and unsatisfying.”

The victim of the first drawer of blood is the petal of the flower that crests our plant, and it is both gentle and sweet as the nectar sought out by the humble bee. The root of the plant is neither humble nor humbled, but seeks to raise itself up with pride, though it stand with bendeth back and weakened knee. The root lives in darkness and fears the light, but the flower revels in the glory of the day and sleeps soundly in the cool arms of the night, awaking in the glistening fingers of the bedewelled dawn.

It is saddening to hear of a family that trembles with the anger of miserly gossip and unrighteous plotting, for these connivances are contrived solely for the pleasure of the stooped and bended root, rather than for the good of the flower or the whole of the plant. Shall a family be deemed whole and healthy if there is a bitterness which seeps through its roots like a devilish poison?

And woe unto they who wallow in the bitterness, who heap fresh leaves upon the poisoned root, for they stand with evil and shame the whole plant, which is a family, though it may only be a family of Happenstance rather than of Happiness. It is a guileful thing to speak as though one is happy for another, but secretly wishes in one’s heart for the hateful bitterness of the other’s downfall. Those who speak evil of others in plain sight of all shall find themselves mocked and preached to by the righteous, as the Book of Stern Warnings doth say.

For the unrighteous, who steep themselves in pettiness and shameful connivances, produce an odorous mixture that is both unsightly and distasteful, whereas those who are but the unwilling tasters of the poison espoused by the root shall, when bathed in warm waters, produce a gentle tea that is both refreshing and healing.

I leave you, dear brethren, with this word of caution: seek not to plot against thy brethren and sistren with devious, hateful, or petty connivances, for all things are marked, and shall be remembered by the righteous. And there shall be no charity for the hungry on the day of famine, when they who have sought to bring all harvest to their hearts find their hands are empty, and the workers whom they believed would feed them have moved on with both the harvest and the seed for the following crop.

There is a constant yearning which can never be satisfied, for it is a craving for light fed by darkness, and the darkness is ever unfulfilling.