The Hope I Find in the Gospel

This morning I wanted to share a children’s story that was shared to me by another pastor, and I would like to share with you:


The book is entitled “Giant, or Waiting for the Thursday Boat”.  It is written by a rather well known theologian who took a break from the great theological texts that were the center point of his career.

His Story is set in Ireland and its about a Giant, named McKeon.  Although McKeon has been happy for a lifetime, overnight he starts to get angry.   He becomes upset when he learns that some church guy is driving out all the elves, snakes, and giants out of Ireland, and replacing them with church bells.

In retaliation, McKeon throws every single church bell he can find into the ocean. And smashes everything in sight…The fighting escalates and eventually the Giant confronts the church goer; St. Patrick.   St. Patrick shakes his head, says oh well, and tells McKeon to take his complaint to God.

“Where is this God, demands the Giant?”

In Patrick’s reply we learn that God, of course, doesn’t fight,…but in case he is not happy with that answer, God always comes on the Thursday boat to visit the land.

So with that information at hand, McKeon sits down to wait. The first boat that arrives is a small craft, manned by a little girl. McKeon decides she can’t be God, and she sits with him as he waits.

Other ships come in, bearing much grander occupants, but none of them turn out to be God.

Sick of waiting, McKeon decides to go look for God himself, and now takes his new best friend, the little girl, and together they leap up into Heaven.

The fighting between McKeon and St. Patrick continues, and they try to find God to set their issues to rest.

It turns out that they finally stumble upon the house of God, and much to their surprise the little girl turns out to be God, and inside her house there is more than enough rooms for giants, elves, snakes, saints, and church bells.

Ultimately this book went out of print for a single reason… the book’s response.

Although the story beautiful, the art incredible, the story has some fundamental flaws….

Those flaws led people to boycott, protest, and even vandalize and destroy library and book store copies..

First, St. Patrick is seen as almost a bad guy…Yet that was not the biggest issue….

Second,…God was portrayed as a small, African American Girl,…although grievous, this too was not the worst of it…

The worst part of the book, was the assertion that in heaven, God has a house.   And that house has rooms for even those who the church viewed as less than worthy,…in this case…  the Giants, the elves, and the snakes.

Many didn’t see the beauty of this story and saw it as a condemnation of St. Patrick, the church, and traditional thought.  

What kind of heaven do we get, if even the least, the sinner, the broken, and the flawed get in?

Heaven is for New England – er… – New Hampshire Methodists – New Hampshire, Progressive Methodists right?

That’s not the heaven that is pictured in this book, and it got a lot of people mad and willing to destroy and burn books.

Me?   I look at that picture of heaven and something in me feels better.

I look at that picture of heaven and I realize that the church may not have all the answers…  and that perhaps there is a place in heaven – a place in the Kingdom for God for everyone – despite their flaws, dents, bruises or brokenness.

Maybe there is a place for them and me too.   For me, that is the message of hope found in the Gospel.

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