When I was a child I lived just a mile away from my aunt. In many ways, she seemed like the big sister I never had instead of an aunt. She would always talk with me as if my answers were important. Later she moved away. When I was a teenager, I often spent a week in Joplin, MO staying in her big white home, going to church, out to eat and to the movies. I do not think any of my aunts would take it as much of a surprise to know that she was my favorite aunt. Ok, one of my favorite aunts. She was the baby of the large Catholic family which meant she was closest to my age. She was fun. She even had a pet house bunny. She was cool. I think we must have listened to the Simon and Garfunkel tape for a full 13 hours on the way home one year. She has since died from cancer complications. May she Rest In Peace.
Well one year when visiting I decided to go for a walk by myself. As I walked, I ran across this glass door display of a church. Just on the other side of the locked doors was dead lamb on a pillar, with a bowl of real blood dripping into it. The lamb was dead. No one was around. It looked like a perfect cute little Easter lamb. At first the sight scared me and I wanted to enter the church and save the poor lamb. Then I thought it must not be real. Who would do such animal cruelty in such a public place. It had to be a hoax. The whole thing struck me as quite odd. I thought, what is next in their extreme exhibit? Abraham’s son? I thought it to be such a terrible coaxing way to get people to come to their service. Yet, at the same time it greatly intrigued me. I stood there for quite some time just staring at the dead lamb. This particular part of town seemed like a ghost town at that time. So, no one was in sight on Sunday evening. No one was there to explain it to me.
I went back to my aunt’s home and told her of what I had seen expecting that what they had done to be some illegal activity or some like very weird religion like witchcraft I thought they may need to be reported to the city authorities for animal cruelty. She informed me that it was a new age christian center. Christian? Wait, what? Why were they killing one of God’s creatures at service? Was the lamb suppose to be Jesus? It was not even near Good Friday.
She did tell me that the lamb was likely a representation of the “Lamb of God”. I was like oh ok…are. they. going. to. eat. the. lamb? Cause that would be quite gross and cause sickness. The animal would be diseased by the time they got back to it. Do they have a fire pit too in their church? It makes no sense. What are they going to do with the lamb or that bowl of blood? Drink it like vampires? What does their service look like? It actually sounds perhaps scary. That all sounds so strange. Maybe they were probably collecting the blood cause they didn’t want their floor to get dirty. Why else would they bother with that detail?
I spent all night trying to recite the Bible verses about a lamb and the Eucharistic words that I had heard so many times before at Mass but never more fully got. I couldn’t remember but for the first time I more fully understood. I know I was told that before and it was explained, but seeing the dead, cute lamb was so real and sad.
Since than I have come to learn more and put together God’s amazing plan…Behold the Lamb of God
The next morning while my aunt went to work, I had gotten up and rode her bike straight down pearl street to Church. To Catholic Mass. I do not recall anything more spectacular than a miracle happening at Mass during the Eucharist prayers. I do recall being committed during my vacation to attend daily Mass. That was a big deal because as a teenager I thought daily Mass was for the 80 and up. Something the old ladies did with blue hair because they had nothing better to do. Now it was for anyone who wanted to see a true miracle and humble sacrifice. It brought deeper clarity and understanding to a belief I had already had. May you behold the Lamb of God in all his splendid divinity.