During my first year in the church (1974) I had a roommate we’ll call John. We shared the rent on a large house in a town that will go nameless. Now John was not the most fastidious guy in the world, but U.L.B was approaching and we knew we had better get busy with the deleavening. So we rolled up our shirtsleeves, did the vacuuming, washing, etc. and got all of our “leaven” into one large trash bag.
Now the question arose as to what to do with the trash bag. We made a few phone calls to some of the brethren and, at that time, the more conservative ones told us we had to get the leaven completely off our property. Leaving it in the trashcan was not good enough. Besides, trash pick up for that week was not until the middle of the feast. And we had better unload that stuff quickly. Passover would begin at sundown.
Of course, if we had just read the scriptures and taken you know who’s advice to, “Don’t believe me, believe what you read in the Bible” (yeah, right) we wouldn’t have even bothered with all of this:
“ON THE FIRST DAY REMOVE THE YEAST FROM YOUR HOUSES, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. DO NO WORK AT ALL ON THESE [two] DAYS, except to prepare food for everyone to eat that is all you may do.” (Ex. 12:15-16, NIV, emphasis mine).
We would have waited until the next day, the first day of U.L.B., grabbed any bread or yeast cakes lying around, flushed them down the garbage disposal and been done with it. We could have deleavened the entire house in about 30 seconds, or less. But that’s another topic for another time. If the ministry had found out we actually followed what the bible said to do instead of following all their added traditions, I might not have been in the church long enough to be telling you this story now. The big guns would have thrown our unleavened butts out of the church pronto.
Anyway, I wasn’t certain what to do at this point, but John opted for the local Burger King dumpster. So I went along with the idea. We pitched the trash bag into John’s trunk and off we drove to the Home of the Whopper. We parked in the lot as close to the dumpster as we could. I was the lookout and kept a wary eye on people that might spot John dumping our illegal cargo. At this point John lost his nerve. He just couldn’t bring himself to do this sneaky and cowardly act. I was going to dump it myself but he talked me out of it. He just didn’t think it was the moral thing to do. So we drove back to the house with our deadly cargo still in the trunk. By now it was becoming spiritually radioactive and I thought John’s car might start glowing at any moment. I could just see the cops following us around, wonder what these two dudes were up to, and what was in that trunk.
After mulling it over for awhile we got what we thought was a bright idea we’ll just bury the trash! We had a very long, wooded lot behind the house and figured that if we went far enough into the woods we could safely bury the sinful stuff. So off we went, the loathsome trash bag slung over John’s shoulder and me in tow with pick and shovel. Down over the hill we secretly tramped to a spot about 50 yards behind the house.
Digging in that clay soil was more work than we had anticipated. After several minutes we still hadn’t made much of a hole in the ground. And sundown was not far off. Not only that, we had to have time to get ready for the service that evening and drive to the meeting hall. I started to get a little panicky.
Meanwhile, the next door neighbor was watching us from his back yard, up on the hill. We hadn’t noticed him until he began calling down to us, “Boys, boys, just what are you doing there?” We tried to ignore him, not wanting him to think we were disposing of a dead body or something. But he started down the hill to further investigate what these two guys were doing out there, digging in the ground in the middle of the woods on a cold March afternoon.
When he finally arrived at the diggings we started to explain to him we were just burying some trash, that’s all. The neighbor got this puzzled look on his face and then asked us why we didn’t just put the stuff in our trash barrel like normal people do. We tried to explain to him in the most diplomatic way we could that that just wouldn’t work. No, we had to get this trash off our property and we had to do it NOW. We could see his look of consternation. The neighbor then told us he did not understand what we were up to or why, but we could not bury anything on his property. Without noticing, we had inadvertently strayed over the property line during our trek and were now on his side of the line!
At this point I’m thinking, “Well, it’s a fine mess you’ve got us in, Ollie.” So I tell John that the neighbor is right. We can’t bury the trash on his property. And it is getting too late to start digging another hole on our side. Sundown is approaching. Let’s pack it up and head back to the house. We’ll figure out something else.
We finally ended up putting the deadly trash bag in our trashcan and prayed for forgiveness. Man, that was a very solemn Passover service that night! I thought God might strike us two unleavened schmucks dead at any moment, but somehow we survived. Hey, I lived to tell the story, didn’t I?
And please do not report me to Burger King.