They called him “Bucky” when he was a child. Freddie Mercury, legendary lead singer of the iconic rock and roll band Queen, was born with four extra teeth at the back of his mouth, causing his upper front incisors to protrude in astonishing fashion.
Many have asked why he didn’t get them fixed. Documentarian Rudi Dolezal answers that question: “He was very afraid that if he changed his teeth that his particular sound of [his voice] would go away. So he was more concerned with his voice than his looks, and I think that says a lot about the man.”
And out of that mouth – misshapen by society’s norms – came that unmistakable, multi-octave voice. Out of that mouth came “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Love of my Life,” “We will Rock You,” “Killer Queen,” and “We are the Champions.” And, of course, much, much more.
He sacrificed feeling comfortable with his smile, when in public hiding his mouth with a mustache or his fingers, to give music – and us – his all.
Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the
crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large
sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which
are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them,
“Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who
are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out
of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything
she had, all she had to live on.”
She gave it all. All she had. Whether it conformed with the culture’s view of what it meant to give a proper amount didn’t matter to Jesus. What mattered was that she gave everything she had to God.
Imagine having Jesus sitting nearby as we decide how much to contribute to the church, as we decide what it means for us to give our all. What is he looking for from us?
Financially, yes, but also with the gifts, time and energy with which God has blessed us? Does it have to do with whatever standards society determines, or does it have to do with our own relationship with God?
Recently, the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta had its annual Council, in which clergy and lay representatives gather to hear reports, catch up with each other, elect members to various committees and approve a budget.
A treasured component of Council is the assortment of exhibits that delegates can visit during free time. Some of the displays are professionally assembled – from seminaries, the diocesan communications team, clergy attire companies. To be expected.
But others have, as one friend put it, a more intimate feel.
An array of plants for sale stood on the table. Small plants, one with brown around the edges of a leaf, lined up in a row, waiting to be taken home with those who wanted to support that particular ministry. A fancy exhibit? No. Professional, glossy, slick? No.
But powerful, moving in its humility and in its intimacy. God placed this ministry in the hearts of those who work to support it, and they gave to their exhibit what they had, what they could create themselves.
When we give our all, we risk vulnerability. The nickname Bucky. Criticism from others that what we give is not enough or doesn’t fit the culture’s expectations. Judgement.
But when we give our all, we can remember the little leaf with the brown edges, we can remember Jesus’ commendation of the widow with two copper coins and we can take heart.
And listen with joy as rhapsodies break loose and fill the air.
There is a new addition to the KAE Writes Library! Check out Last Season in “The Nature of All Things” section.