Flea Markets

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)

Garage sales, yard Sales, I never understood those terms. No one was selling their garage or their yard. Then there was the flea market. Fleas? For sale? Couldn’t be! No one would buy someone else’s mangy fleas. Where did they collect them? From their dogs? Cats? Hamsters? None of it made sense. But, they were popular as I was growing up.

I’m an adult now. Sometimes, my wife says I still act like a child. Gray hair helps with the illusion that I’m an adult. At least I now understand what a flea market is. I can be taught. I can even be cajoled into visiting a flea market, garage sale, yard sale or whatever the local population wants to name it. Sometimes I even buy a odd object.

The other day some friends took us to a large flea market in Ohio. Rows and rows of outdoor booths displayed their junk hoping it’d become our treasure. Inside, yes there were permanent indoor booths, the smorgasbord of old and new could keep a bargain hunter drooling for hours. I didn’t buy anything.

My interested drops after the first twenty or more booths but Beth can dig through stuff for hours. Strolling along the hallway I came across a food court. That might be an overstatement for two hot dog stands and a few tables. In the corner a band was forming.

arm34Folks brought their instruments, opened their cases on the tables and floor and tuned up. It didn’t appear to have any organizer, just talented country folk gathering to share music with one another. As a passerby I was treated to a musical delight. Good, simple, gospel and bluegrass music filled the room. This could make a flea market worth visiting.

Eleven musicians, mostly gray haired, played a combination of three banjos, a slide dobro guitar, a fiddle (country name for violin) and a host of guitars. They sang, they played, they had fun and so did I. One older couple put on their tap shoes and danced between the tables to the foot stomping music.

People couldn’t help but smile, tap their foot and enjoy. It was freely given and gratefully accepted. No one complained. Some songs were known by all, others by just a few. I kept watching the guitar players to see what chords were being used. There were three, with the occasional, unexpected, fourth derivation.

I suppose that is what I like about folk music and bluegrass. It’s simple. It pulls you in with natural melody and harmony. If you’re a musician the limited chord structure makes it easy to join in and enjoy.

A little girl, about three or four, stood, watched, bounced, smiled and delighted herself with the music. Musicians came and went as time and energy allowed. The band waned and swelled as the morning wore on. Eventually the musicians wandered off, a couple at a time until the room was left with the murmuring of shoppers discussing their discoveries.

God’s message of salvation is as comfortable as a good gospel song or bluegrass melody to those who are being saved. But to those lost it’s as grating as a praise song to a hard rock enthusiast. It’s as simple as three chords, Christ died, Christ was buried, Christ arose to bear the cost of our sins and break the bonds of death. But some can’t see this, they are blinded to God’s love and grace.

The flea market band didn’t know who would love their music and who would walk on by but, they played on. Sharing the Gospel message we don’t know who will love the melody or whose ears will be closed tight. Still, we need to play on, to keep presenting the message. We need to be sure those who are ready can hear and tap their foot to the heavenly melody.


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