Today I am in prayer for the United Methodist Church and I am reminded of a story referenced in last weekend’s Doctor Who episode. In that episode, the Doctor speaks with his companion Bill about a cautionary tale called “The Magic Haddock.”
In the story of the Magic Haddock, a fisherman catches a fish which offers the fisherman three wishes in exchange for freedom. The fisherman wishes for his son to be home from war and for 100 pieces of gold. The Magic Haddock grants his wishes, but not as expected. The man’s son is slain in battle and returns home in a coffin. The man is offered 100 pieces of gold in gratitude for his son’s service. Heartbroken, the third wish the man makes is that his first two wishes would be undone.
It is a story that reminds me of the Tale of the Monkey’s Paw that was a part of one of the Simpsons Treehouses of Horror when I was a child. The moral of the two stories is the same: You never know what you will get when you make a wish, so you’d better be careful of what wishes you make in your life. It is a common tale that relates back to many tales of genies, d’jinn, devils, and other mythical figures.
A lot of people are making “wishes” about what will come out of this Judicial Council meeting or out of the special meeting of General Conference in 2019. I am someone who is sitting on the sidelines and wondering if the wishes we are making might have disastrous consequences, especially as we have folks praying in extreme opposite directions. We need the Holy Spirit to be at work in these events for the future to have hope. We need the Holy Spirit to be at work in us for the future to have hope. We need the Holy Spirit for our wishes are often to our own detriment.
May God bless us and give us wisdom. May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. May God help us to be the church.