Recently I wrote about our newest church visitor, John Wesley Shipp. On Sunday, John shared his musical gifts during the 11 am service with a beautifully stirring rendition of “There Was Jesus By the Water” which he played on the piano as he sang.
After the service, I thanked him for being a part of worship and asked him if he could come by office for a moment to talk in private. I explained, somewhat nervously, that I knew about his acting career and grew up fondly with the TV shows The Flash and Dawson’s Creek.
I then made a gesture toward a book shelf that holds some of the comic book graphic novels I’ve collected over the past few years (mostly Marvel and DC titles all with spiritual and religious themes) saying, “I’m a comic book geek as you can see.” His eyes widened and his jaw dropped slightly. “Wow!” he responded.
I reached for a comic book I had bought a few days ago, a 1991 copy of The Flash No. 53, which had a tiny circular advertisement on the cover for The Flash TV series that he was the star of for one season. “Pardon my geekness, but would you do me the honor of signing this for me?” I said as I handed him the comic and a Sharpie.
John flashed a grin and said “Nothing to pardon, nothing to pardon” before putting his signature along with the Flash’s symbol on the book. The senior pastor came in the office a second later and the three of us engaged in some brief chit chat before John and the senior pastor left. I couldn’t have been more thrilled, and I immediately grabbed the comic and bounded into my next door office of one of the other staff members. She laughed and shook her head as I showed her the signature. It was a wonderfully sacred God moment–a bit of fun, excitement and much needed levity for the day and a weekend that started off with devastating news. Thank you John for a flash of brightness.