Time for Jenny

My disgust has gone from simmering to boiling the past few months. I am referring to our civil overlords who believe their role and title is Over Lord. Some believe they suffer from narcissism. That may be. But I believe the better diagnosis is demi-god. Their arrogance, hubris, and condescending self-importance busted the scale months ago.

Now here we are. No end in sight. People losing their jobs. More restrictions on the way. When will this deep blue and minimally churched state have enough of this nonsense? I look out and see sheep everywhere. Not the Jesus-follower kind of sheep the Bible talks about; the kind of sheep that follows, head-down, their Over Lord shepherd living in Olympia.

I heard the name Jenny Geddes before but I never took the time to know her story. I recently came across an article about her. Instead of the “Let’s Go, Brandon” chants going on these days, I propose we start chanting for Jenny.

Here is why. A little over 100 years after Luther nailed his “95 Theses” to the Wittenberg church door, King Charles I ascended the throne of England, Scotland, and Ireland. He thought he was ascending more than the throne in London, he had demi-god issues as well. Dismissing Parliament (similar to our Over Lord living in the governor’s mansion declaring a state of emergency nearly two years ago and counting), Charles determined he could rule by “divine right” by himself.

One of his first decisions was appointing William Laud as head of the Church of England. Laud was anything but Protestant and Reformed. He loved the pomp and papal of Rome. Charles and Laud declared there would be uniformity of liturgy and worship throughout the Commonwealth. The problem (praise God it was a problem), the Scots still had the reformer John Knox resonating in their theological bones.

On July 23, 1637, Charles and Laud’s church reforms debuted at a Scot Reformed church in Gileskirk. When the clergyman went behind the pulpit and started chanting the papist liturgy, Jenny Geddes, an uneducated and poor street vendor, stood up and cried, “Wilt thou say mass at my lugs, thou popish-puling fool?” She then took her three-legged stool she had been sitting on and hurled it at the pulpit. That’s all it took. The rest of the congregation joined in and started pelting the “popish-puling fool”.

As word got out, similar acts of courage took place throughout the sanctuaries of Scotland. No archbishop and king were going to replace King Jesus.

Our Over Lords may not be lobbying for our Savior’s job, but they sure seem to be enjoying their new-found power and self-proclaimed authority.

A few centuries after Jenny hurled her stool, a 19th century Scot named John Stuart Blackie put pen to paper and produced a poetic ode to the old lady who had enough and ignited an uprising. The following two stanzas say it well:

As when a mountain wildcat springs upon a rabbit small, So Jenny on the Dean springs, with gush of holy gall; Wilt thou say mass at my lugs, thou popish-puling fool? No! No! She said, and at his head she flung the three-legged stool.

A bump, a thump! A smash, a crash! Now gentle folks beware! Stool after stool, like rattling hail, came twirling though the air, With, well done, Jenny! Bravo, Jenny! That’s the proper tool! When the Devil will out, and shows his snout, just meet him with a stool!

Time for another Jenny? I think so. I hope so. And certainly soon.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
October 28, 2021

*The entire ode by John Stuart Blackie here.

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