A Paul Harvey Christmas Message – The Man and the Birds

 

A Brilliant Modern Day Parable

Do you remember Paul Harvey?
Have you even ever heard of him?
He was an American radio broadcaster for nearly six decades.
His soft-spoken telling of current events and
“the rest of the story” with that gentle voice of his
kept me company over many a lonely lunchtime sandwich.
This next brings back floods of good memories.

This whole broadcast is good,
but if you want to skip ahead to the story,
it begins at about 5:10.
May you and yours have a joyous Christmas!



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It’s Hard To Dance When You Don’t Hear The Music

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To my friend who does not yet hear The Music,
Who does not yet believe it exists.
Who cannot fathom dancing with our Creator:


I used to be deaf to The Music,
the special kind of music between The Creator and His creation.

It is said that those who dance are considered insane by someone who doesn’t hear the music. 

Like many older men and women who thought they had heard it all and were comfortable in their ignorance, unaware of their deafness, I began to hear The Music. I had joined the community of the blessed.
At first a faint melody, but with time it became clearer, enjoyably compelling, and then it began to move my limbs, one at a time; then, my soul. At first a happy flute solo, and with time, a rich, full symphony.

It was a lot like not being able to hear it when a person blows a dog whistle, but you can clearly see that a dog hears it, because you can see the dog’s reaction when it is blown. Thus, you begin to understand the “insane” people. They obviously hear something you don’t and are reacting naturally to it. They are not insane. Their confident dancing arises out of the irresistible music that moves them, and they beckon you to join them.

To those who are perishing, it is foolishness, but for those who hear it, it is life.

Knowing God, and having a relationship with Him is like that. It is a music that only believers in Him can hear and understand. What complete and utter joy there is in dancing to that incomparable Music!

It is not beyond you to hear it.
I believe our Maker places the ability to hear Himself in every person. And not only the ability, but an innate inner longing to hear it. Many ignore it. In many it has been buried deep under the rubble of hurt.  Many deny it, or shun it, or slander it, but His Music persists all around us and it is definitely there to be heard.

My hope; my prayer, is that sooner or later you will listen for it, and will hear it, whether it begins faintly or thunders suddenly. Better sooner than later, better later than never, because dancing for Him; with Him, is nothing less than life itself; it is everlasting life!

I implore you, listen for it! Take a leap of faith. Begin to trust. Let yourself hear and believe.
You might begin to hear The Music in a voice, a birdsong, a waterfall, an orchestra, in wind chimes, or simply as a compelling inner tune that your soul cannot deny. You might hear it surrounded by the silence following a heavy snowfall, or alone in a meadow, or on a mountaintop.  If you be still and listen past your own noise, you will hear it just as I did.
Just as I still do, and will always.
I like being one of the “insane dancers”. I have never been so grateful for anything, as I have for the gift of hearing His Music and following it to Him Who has an unconditional love for me. I would like it much better if everyone would tune their ear, and turn their ear, to that incredible 
Music, and begin The Dance of Life.

O Lord, let me always be ready with a megaphone, a personal sound system,  an instrument, a singing voice. Let me always be an amplifier” hearing-aid” for Your song! 

My friend, once you’ve heard the purity; the truth, in its melody; the love and peace in its harmony, you will know what I mean, you will join us, and your heart will begin its own joyful dance.

Love to you.
Always,
Gloryteller

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The Expense of Safety – A Reprise – And The Rest Of The Story

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A Good Friday Story;
A Good Anytime Story –


The Expense of Safety

The Ferry to Safety was ready to depart.
Freedom, so close!

Special admission only???
Hope fading.
Whoever missed the boat was lost.
Completely lost and without hope.
One solitary, stringent ticket stand.
A waiting line far too long.

Serious guards watching.
Last chance.
Distress.

But I had not the standing,
Not the requirements,
Not the paperwork,

Nor the price of admission.
I stood forlorn in fear that
I would always wear these chains,

Or be, (oh, so slowly) tortured and killed;
Despair.

Then a man stepped up,
Radiating such undisguised love,
Unveiled compassion.

He gave me his own precious ticket with a smile.
No hesitation.
He paid my price.
Dooming himself with the selfless gesture.
Bewildered, I caught hold of it.

And just in time.
I stood astonished,
Forgetting even to thank him.
“Hurry, it departs;
It’s your one chance,”
He cried over his shoulder

As they cruelly restrained him,
Beat him to the ground,

Roughly dragged him,
Torn, and bleeding,
Yet miraculously silent as
They pinned him brutally against the ticket stand.

His fate I couldn’t know,
Couldn’t imagine.

Didn’t want to guess . . .
In horror and denial,
I watched the scene as I walked backward,

And stepped,
Not nearly grateful enough,
Onto the departing boat.



The Rest of the Story

I was in shock.
And I was safe.
My chains had dropped from me,
into the water,

as I stepped onto the ferry.
Relief overwhelmed me.

Was this how true freedom felt?
After a time, I noticed many others were there.
Some were kneeling, some looking upward
with bowed heads and raised hands.
A woman saw that I was alone.
“You are the last.”
“Yes . . . . . ,
I . . .
It’s incredible!

A man paid my price!”
I was still astonished.
“Mine too!” she exclaimed.
A man looked up . . . “Mine too!”
A child waved; in her hand a ticket:
“Me too!”
“Me too!” cried a young boy.”
A group of teenagers:
“Me too!” “Me too!” “And me!”
“He paid my fare!”
“He gave me his own ticket!”
All of us!
People were gathering into one group,
listening to each other.
“I threw my pass away years ago,
but he gave me another today!” said several.
“I lost mine and he gave me a replacement as well.”
“I didn’t deserve one.”
“I was in prison.”
“My neck was in the noose; I was good as dead.”
“He let me off the hook for the terrible things I said about him.”
“He forgave me too!”
“He gave me another chance.”
“He gave me another, and another, and another.”
“He told me it was ‘never too late’,
when he handed me his boarding pass.”
“He looked at me with love.
Nobody ever did that!”

“I know he saved my life, and not just once!”
“He told me God loves me!”
“I heard him forgive those guards.”
Yes, even while they did detestable things to Him.
I . . . I think . . . they killed him.

“Because of us,” I thought, in sorrow.
“Because we couldn’t get our own passes.”
“We could never qualify.”
“He deserved his ticket more than anyone,
yet he gave it to all of us and forfeited his life.”
 “He loved his life as much as we love ours.”
“Who was that poor man?”
An elderly lady approached on unsteady legs,
holding her ticket toward me in an outstretched hand.
Her eyes were filled with tears.
“He gave me this. I tried to refuse, but he insisted.
It was all . . . he . . . had.

What love he radiated. What love!” she sighed.
Her pass was identical to mine.
They all were.
I looked up at the wheelhouse,
and, to my delight, noticed that the huge watercraft
was named JOY.

As the day passed, people began telling their stories.
Everyone had a story involving the man we called
our hero, our rescuer, our deliverer.
We praised the man with our stories and with singing.
We fasted, partaking only of sweet, cool, water   –
The purest we have ever tasted.
In the evening we ate bread and grapes.
All these things were provided from coolers on the deck.
We became conscious of God’s presence and provision.
Those of us who were new to the faith experience were welcomed
into the family of believers and followers of that one man.
Because of what he did for us, we all worshiped him;
Because he showed us compassionate love,
We adored him;
Longed to see him again,
If only . . .

The boat seemed to expand in size while more people
came up from below.

So many breathing freedom!
Our ongoing rescue continued through the second day,

through which we repeated the fast, the worship,
the stories, and the evening meal.
When would we finally reach the Land of Promised Safety?
We wondered, but with faith and confident hope.
The massive boat churned a wake and plowed its way forward,
persevering steadily on course 
through a third day,
 as our faith and hope grew.
Then, in the cool of the evening of the third day,
we saw land . . .

And I, the undeserving;
I, the ingrate;
I, the impatient;

I, the selfish;
I, the forgiven;
and I, the thankful-rescued,

stood on the foredeck and saw The Man
standing with a grin,
and with open arms,
on the pristine sand of freedom’s shore.

α ∞ Ω
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He Follows Patiently. Your Turn.

 

 

 

In the book of your life,
Jesus follows you closely, quietly,
As you walk your path,
As you lay down new lines,
And lines become paragraphs,
As you turn your pages, He walks with you.
Lie down, and He lies down close by.
If you run, He runs.
If you try to outrun Him,
Or lose Him,
He effortlessly stays close behind.
Veer right or left,
He is faithful in the turning.
Stop, and He stops.
Continue in your way,
He continues with you.
But if you turn around and look back,
He does not turn around.
Not ever.
He looks into your questioning eyes.
Always.
He speaks softly to your heart.

Turning to Him is all He wants.
Asking Him to take the lead
Is all you need.
To write your new page.
To fill out your whole, true story,
To complete the never-ending
Book of Your Life.

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music: Ian Post
“Genesis-The Light”
on Sound Cloud

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A Paul Harvey Christmas Message – The Man and the Birds

 

A Brilliant Modern Day Parable
This whole broadcast is good, but if you want to skip ahead to the story, it begins at about 5:10.

May you and yours have a joyous Christmas!



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One Last Mountain

 

 painting by John McNaughton

painting by John McNaughton

I only recent conquered one
Not so distant past
But each peak now seems harder than
Was climbing up the last

I’m walking so much older now
Much slower than before
It’s time to lay some burdens down
And shoulder them no more

Perhaps I’m almost finished
My climber says I’m not
My will is not diminished
My body not quite shot

But one can hardly ever tell
When one’s nice trail will end
What waits beyond horizon’s hill
Or ’round next river bend

And there will be that one higher
More fright’ning to attempt
Looming there one last hard climb
Where no one is exempt

Daunting doubts I reckon
Uncertain and unknown
Cold airless shadows beckon
To scale it all alone

You fool you will not be alone
The trail well-marked and lit
The crags will have beginner’s holds
You surely will not slip

Up toward my final peak
The one on which I’ll stay
I’ll wait until He finally speaks
Then lifts my soul away

Thus will it be that in the end
I’ll rest there where He Is
In the beauty of the Endless Land
With Him and all of His
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Labyrinth

In the Heart of My Mind I often go walking
through lush, open meadows where the colorful, wildly beautiful,
gardens of my existence meander extravagantly. It is there
where I am complete, and full, and joyous in my Creator.
But . . .

Off to the far side, down on one end in the rocks, there is a hole. Sometimes, on the night of the Dark Moon, I declare – no, more like endure – a Fool’s Night. I go to that enticingly repulsive hole and slip in. Not always by intention. Oh no, hardly ever by my own design or volition, but I am tricked into it; goaded, prodded, pushed, even within the gardens in the Heart of My Own Mind. I’m tricked in my dreams, or in moments of weak daylight musing.
Slip in, I meant, for there is a slick, muddy, slope leading down; down into the labyrinth. The mud stinks, and now I, having fallen on my back, stink. This is The Labyrinth of Darkness Past.
As I move, trembling, through the rock-walled passageways, I pass rooms. Some rooms contain pits filled with waste, others have manacles and chains fasted to the walls, or nooses hanging from the ceilings. There are rooms housing dark, ghostly, disembodied memories. There are toothed error-worms seething in writhing masses, gnawing at the tranquility of the flora rooted in the gardens above. There are whip-words lashing out, eager to scourge innocent flesh. There are specters of sadness howling, weeping apparitions of disappointment lurking, wraiths of heartbreak groaning.
Sharp, cold, gusts of regret add to the bitter ambiance as I trudge along the main hallway. Self loathing blows me toward abysmal chasms of despair. I want out, but I am caught in a bizarre, self-destructive ritual.
Once again I realize that the despair here is all my fault; that this cruel dungeon is of my own making.
As usual, I only enter one of the hellish rooms. This Fool’s Night, in the dark of the moon, I visit a ghastly memory of heartbreak. One I caused, I inflicted. Watching it all happen again, the broken heart of another becomes my own. I was selfish, and foolish, and deserve this painful self-recrimination, this self-flagellation, this self-loathing.
I don’t know why I made this unconscionable mistake. It was careless and stupid. I would personally express sorrow, ask forgiveness of my victim, offer restitution, but it is too late. The fateful incident, like so many others, is fettered and imprisoned in this horrid labyrinth forever. I flounder painfully in the putrid mire of them all.
But why? Why do I allow the trickery of a Fool’s Night during the Dark Moon?
Why do I remember so vividly the dark side of my former self? The good outweighs the bad by far. I remember some of it now. Times I did the right thing. Times I made someone happy. When I sacrificed and gave instead of taking. Even before I became the new man. But those are not as vivid. Perhaps it is humility. Perhaps darkness is vivid and good is muted because of chicanery!
The enemy! That accuser! I see now! I am not a criminal – have never been in jail. I’ve broken no major human laws  (exceeding the limit of speed – yes, that is bad enough). I’m an ordinary sinner. My despair can only serve that ravenous beast! By the larceny of dreams. By the murder of memory, it deceives. I picture the liar laughing. No, that beast shall not steal my joy. The enemy of my soul will not! Begone! I have turned away from that life which was more death than life. I have received grace undeserved, mercy in my guilt. Forgiveness. Freedom. My redeemer has redeemed me, taken my sin upon his own shoulders, and, I pray, will redeem – has redeemed – my unkind actions and words, somehow – made them right – gave peace to those I hurt. Somehow He has, He does, and He will. The remembered casualties of my negligence, the ones I perceive entrapped in these labyrinthian rooms have perhaps already moved on, forgiven me, found the Redeemer for themselves, been set free. I ask that they have. That is my hope and my faith.
I hold them out to Him. I give the wraiths, apparitions, and specters into His large, open, hands. He gave His all to rectify my sin; to take it upon himself. He said He would remove my sins as far as the east end of the labyrinth is from the west end, if I would only turn and believe. And He did say He came to heal the brokenhearted.
As I let them go, I find I have traveled full circle and am back at the entrance. An ornate, polished, wooden ladder has been placed to aid my exit. I but touch the ladder and am snatched out of The Labyrinth of Darkness Past fully awake and aware. Aware of His presence in the Garden of My Existence. I don’t look back. The labyrinth should be destroyed. I don’t know if I can blast it by myself, but when the time is right, I’m sure He can, or else He will give me the strength. He also gives me a shield against the trickery of the enemy. I should remember to wield that on the next night of the Dark Moon.
       
I think of people like me who occasionally endure chronic remorse – especially those people who’ve been born anew.  I pray for your encouragement. Be lifted up! We all fall short of His glory. I have to wonder if anyone doesn’t carry the shame of hidden past guilt. Forgiveness is key. We must forgive the one who has trespassed against us – even if that one is our self, I think.
       We also, as I said, must place it into God’s open hands; place it at the foot of His cross; or employ any other imagery that helps you give it over to Him. A burden such as this is too big, too heavy, for a mortal to hold. Dear Reader, you are not alone in your Labyrinth of Past Regret. You have me and my prayer for you, but most importantly you have Him who cares about you. He will help you grapple with your labyrinth. He will seal the entrance for all time. He will protect, preserve, and help you to inhabit the wildly beautiful, the joy-filled gardens of your existence at the Heart of Your Mind. Thanks be to God.
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Book of Your Life

 

 

 

Open the unexamined Book of Your Life.


From Chapter One,
Jesus follows you closely, quietly,
As you walk your path.
Turn the pages of your journal,
He walks with you.
If you run, He runs.
If you fall, He waits.
Lie down, and He lies down nearby.
If you weep, He quietly cries.
If you try to outrun Him,
Or get away,
He effortlessly stays right behind.
Veer right or left,
Into the hollow, the empty,

He is faithful in the turning.
Stop, and He stops.
Continue in your barren, winding way,
He continues with you.
But turn around and look back,
He does not turn His back.
Not ever.
He engages your pleading eyes.
Always.
You turning to Him is all He wants.
Asking Him to come alongside,
To take the lead,
Is all you need.
To begin a better path.
To write your new page.
To fill the complete Book of Your Life.


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A Paul Harvey Christmas Message – The Man and the Birds

 

A Brilliant Modern Day Parable
This whole broadcast is good, but if you want to skip ahead to the story, it begins at about 5:10.

May you and yours have a joyous Christmas!



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The Wheat and the Grape – Sacred Harvest




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 Our Daily Bread said today that “our Savior hung between Heaven and earth
to bear every sin of every generation on His shoulders.”
He hung between Heaven and me . . .
What pain it gives me to see that scene . . .
But the above statement led me to think deeply about
what He had told his disciples
and us,
only the night before He hung there,
what we must do to remember Him;
to remember who He was,
to remember what He did,
how He did it,
and why.

“The Lord’s Supper is absolute genius”
is what I concluded.
(not that I think I’m the first, nor the only, one to think that)
He broke the bread and compared it to His body
which would imminently be broken for us.
He poured the wine out and compared it to His blood
which would soon be poured out for us.

“He hung between Heaven and earth.”
He was, and is now, intermediary between us and The Father.
Not as a wall, but as a bridge.
He made a way to raise us to His shoulders,
thus standing between us and the evil one “in the earth”.

As for myself, there is more here than “meets the eye”.
Have you ever thought about how grains
like corn, barley, rye, and wheat are all separated
from the earth by a woody stem?
The seed head of the wheat plant is the “fruit”, in a sense,
that we use to make our bread.

The same applies to “the fruit of the vine”;
tomatoes, cucumbers, kiwi, guava, and, get this – passion fruit –
and predominantly, grapes.
All grow above the ground on woody or semi-woody vines.
They all contain juice, but grape juice makes wine.
(side note: there is great debate whether Jesus’ “fruit of the vine” was unfermented juice, or wine)
I’m in the wine camp because wine stores better.
I won’t even dwell on apple, orange, peach, plum trees, or berry bushes,
each of which produce juicy fruit on woody stems;

but I’m getting off track.

The point is that grapevines, like wheat plants,
produce their fruit between Heaven and earth on woody stems,
and the final product of both were used at the Lord’s Supper.
The Last Supper of our Lord!

By now you are making the connection I’m getting at.
Lord Jesus compared His body to a broken loaf of bread,
and His covenantal blood to the poured-out juice of the grape,
in order that:
“as often as you
eat this bread
and drink this cup,
you will do so in remembrance of Me.”
Connecting His spiritual Self to the physical act of
eating and drinking something specific,
is brilliant.

It makes the act sacred, and simultaneously
makes our remembrance of Him sacred.
But for me, it doesn’t end there.
Jesus was always using agricultural metaphors because,
I assume, most everyone in His day knew something of the subject.
Is it a great leap to make that He also connected Himself
with the fruit of the earth?

With harvest?
With life-giving, life sustaining, food and drink?
With saving us from spiritual starvation?
If that connection is only for me to make
in order to strengthen my faith in Him,
to take me deeper into our relationship,
to tell me more of a story I long to know more of,
or to give me insight into something so sacred
that I scarcely can digest it,
Then so be it.
You, dear reader, can make of it what you will.
If it doesn’t do anything for you, leave it.

Here’s the thing:
I maintain that Jesus not only connected Himself to
The Bread and The Cup,
But also to the wheat and the grape.
Rich and ripe,
He stood like a sturdy stalk of wheat
before a terrible threshing,
and He hung like a beautiful cluster of grapes
before a horrible crushing.
He stood and He hung there between Heaven and earth,
between us and oblivion,
between us and eternity.
The first and best fruits of the earth,
until the harvest was finished.
He made Himself our everything,
even our spiritual food and drink.
Essential, lifesaving, sacred, and beautiful.

The Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Harvest.
Absolute Genius!

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A Paul Harvey Christmas Message – The Man and the Birds

 

A Brilliant Modern Day Parable
This whole broadcast is good, but if you want to skip ahead to the story, it begins at about 5:10.

May you and yours have a joyous Christmas!



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Witnessing A Shark Attack

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Along with millions of other people,
I saw a shark try to attack a surfer on a live television broadcast.

It was so much like life, so much a metaphor for this worldly existence:

From my vantage point, I can see the stealthy
approach of the spiritual enemy when the victim cannot.

I feel the escalating danger of the situation.
I watch in dismay as the predator circles,
quickly judging the unsuspecting prey and planning its attack.
sizing him up,
figuring him out,
taking his measure,
(the English language is so full of idioms like those)

It all happens very quickly. IT has done this countless times before,
with countless victims.
I’m tempted to say it is “second nature”, but it is not;
it is the assailant’s primary nature, to kill and destroy,
That is ITs base and core nature.
I watch ITs final turn and am outraged at the savagery of ITs lunge.
I feel helpless.
I want to shout a warning.
I want to give him eyes to see the beast.
I want to somehow jump into the space between him and the killer.
I want to arm him and give him ammunition.

I want to pull him out of the scene –
somehow snatch him away from imminent death.
What I end up doing is saying a hasty prayer.

In the real-life television story,
the surfer punched the shark and escaped shaken but unharmed.
Psychologically damaged, maybe –
he said he might not ever go into the ocean again.

But in real, real-life, the victim never escapes the wiles
of the spiritual enemy through their own power,

their own intellect,
their own knowledge,
their own skill,
nor their own efforts.
They always must be saved from the predatory beast.

What can I do to save them?
Nothing.
I can only tell them about the enemy of their soul and spirit,
about ITs nature, and tactics,
and strategy of deception.
I can illustrate how their imminent destruction will take place.
I can point to the danger, and shout warning;
try to give them eyes to see the hideous beast.
I can try to arm them with the truth about IT.
I can stand in the gap in front of them in prayer,
which is more useful,
but most useful of all, I can tell them of the one who can save them –
the only one.
He is the one who can do all of the above,
all that no-one else can do –
effortlessly.
He has defeated death and defeated IT – the enemy –
for all who believe in Him.
All.
That includes you, dear reader, if you desire it.

It is His nature. He has done it countless times.
I know, because He did it all for me when I first believed;
when I just believed Him!

So, all I can do is pray that they find Him,
and I can plant the seeds of His truth
and of His love for them.

If He could save me from the stealthy,
deceptive,
fatal attacks

of that bestial,
predatory,
killer of my soul,

He. Can. Save. Anybody!

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The Glory of God In Disc Golf



WHO, Disc Golfers ?

Who established the laws of aerodynamics,
of angular momentum,
of inertia,
and of lift,
that allow a disc to soar?

Whose immense wisdom governs the spin of everything in the universe
from sub-atomic particles,
to atoms,
to whirlpools,
to worlds,
to suns,
to galaxies,
to black holes,
to Star* plastic?

Who controls the wind and wraps it in chains?

Whose Son holds everything in His perfect grip,
can easily ace Hole 18,
and yet, only wants to be your personal caddie,
carry your overloaded golf bag,
and wade through the nastiest muck to retrieve your lost favorite driver?
I know.
How about you?
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The Wheat and the Grape – Sacred Harvest




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 Our Daily Bread said today that “our Savior hung between Heaven and earth
to bear every sin of every generation on His shoulders.”
He hung between Heaven and me . . .
What pain it gives me to see that scene . . .
But the above statement led me to think deeply about
what He had told his disciples
and us,
only the night before He hung there,
what we must do to remember Him;
to remember who He was,
to remember what He did,
how He did it,
and why.

“The Lord’s Supper is absolute genius”
is what I concluded.
(not that I think I’m the first, nor the only, one to think that)
He broke the bread and compared it to His body
which would imminently be broken for us.
He poured the wine out and compared it to His blood
which would soon be poured out for us.

“He hung between Heaven and earth.”
He was, and is now, intermediary between us and The Father.
Not as a wall, but as a bridge.
He made a way to raise us to His shoulders,
thus standing between us and the evil one “in the earth”.

As for myself, there is more here than “meets the eye”.
Have you ever thought about how grains
like corn, barley, rye, and wheat are all separated
from the earth by a woody stem?
The seed head of the wheat plant is the “fruit”, in a sense,
that we use to make our bread.

The same applies to “the fruit of the vine”;
tomatoes, cucumbers, kiwi, guava, and, get this – passion fruit –
and predominantly, grapes.
All grow above the ground on woody or semi-woody vines.
They all contain juice, but grape juice makes wine.
(side note: there is great debate whether Jesus’ “fruit of the vine” was unfermented juice, or wine)
I’m in the wine camp because wine stores better.
I won’t even dwell on apple, orange, peach, plum trees, or berry bushes,
each of which produce juicy fruit on woody stems;

but I’m getting off track.

The point is that grapevines, like wheat plants,
produce their fruit between Heaven and earth on woody stems,
and the final product of both were used at the Lord’s Supper.
The Last Supper of our Lord!

By now you are making the connection I’m getting at.
Lord Jesus compared His body to a broken loaf of bread,
and His covenantal blood to the poured-out juice of the grape,
in order that “as often as you
eat this bread
and drink this cup,
you will do so in remembrance of Me.”
Connecting His spiritual Self to the physical act of
eating and drinking something specific,
is brilliant.

It makes the act sacred, and simultaneously
makes our remembrance of Him sacred.
But for me, it doesn’t end there.
Jesus was always using agricultural metaphors because,
I assume, most everyone in His day knew something of the subject.
Is it a great leap to make that He also connected Himself
with the fruit of the earth?

With harvest?
With life-giving, life sustaining, food and drink?
With saving us from spiritual starvation?
If that connection is only for me to make
in order to strengthen my faith in Him,
to take me deeper into our relationship,
to tell me more of a story I long to know more of,
or to give me insight into something so sacred
that I scarcely can digest it,
Then so be it.
You, dear reader, can make of it what you will.
If it doesn’t do anything for you, leave it.

Here’s the thing:
I maintain that Jesus not only connected Himself to
The Bread and The Cup,
But also to the wheat and the grape.
Rich and ripe,
He stood like a sturdy stalk of wheat
before a terrible threshing,
and He hung like a beautiful cluster of grapes
before a horrible crushing.
He stood and He hung there between Heaven and earth,
between us and oblivion,
between us and eternity.
The first and best fruits of the earth,
until the harvest was finished.
He made Himself our everything,
even our spiritual food and drink.
Essential, lifesaving, sacred, and beautiful.

The Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Harvest.
Absolute Genius!

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Good Friday – The Expense of Safety

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A Good Friday Story –
The Expense of Safety

The ferry to safety was ready to depart.
Special admission only.
One stringent ticket stand
With a long line.
I had not the standing,
Nor the price of admission.
I stood forlorn in fear that
I would be tortured and killed.
Then a Man stepped up.
He gave me His ticket with a smile.
And just in time!
He paid my price!
I stood astonished,
Forgetting even to thank Him,
As they cruelly restrained Him,
Beat Him down,
Dragged Him away
To what fate I couldn’t know,
Didn’t want to guess. . .
In horror, I watched
As I walked backward
And stepped onto the departing boat.
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Mirror-Man

The writer watches himself from above the action, unseen, from the vantage point of memory.

The scene plays out in the shabby, one-room hovel which was the former condition of his heart.  One wall of the small room has a door, the other three are covered with large, old, worn mirrors. The watcher sees himself standing in that poor space, staring into the mirrors, admiring his own beauteous image. He occasionally hears an annoying, distracting, tapping sound but he tunes it out.
In time, in the rows of endless images of his gorgeous self, a shadow begins to appear on the tenth face back. In that particular face, desolation emerges, the image turns grotesque, and it disappears as do all the faces behind it. He tries to bring them back. Self-worship should not require this much concentration. He fails as, one by one, the shadow overtakes the regal visages of nine, eight, seven, and six, turns them hideous, and obliterates them over time.  In distress and fear, he begins to notice the empty poverty of the room in the background – his room. The dark shadow begotten of the fallen faces, remains in the space behind him, congealing in an evil swirl. In the mirrors, he begins to see shades of death and he is appalled.
The tapping continues, becoming slightly louder and more urgent. It is ignore-able but harder to disregard than before.

At the same time, the watching-man above the scene sees another man waiting at the door. He has been standing on that stoop for a long time and has not just been waiting, but knocking softly at short intervals. His bare feet are aching, his legs tired, and his knuckles are bruised and sore, but he perseveres. He will not ever give up seeking the answer of the man inside, whom he cares about. They have a history, although the man inside may be unaware of it, or in denial of it.
The man at the door remembers grappling with the other man’s personal sin.
Clutching it to him, the horrible thing had clawed and ripped at his chest and its fangs tore desperately at his throat as it tried to escape his powerful strangling grasp. His love for mirror-man drove him to vanquish his monster rather than let it destroy the poor man. He would kill it even if he had to die with it.
He remembered that he had been successful – he had held on – but at the high cost of all his own blood. He remembered that he had defeated the enemy and he had been restored, but the memory of that painful battle still gnaws at him and he hopes with his whole being that the man inside will simply answer his knock and let him inside.

Meanwhile, the mirror-man is transfixed by what is happening in his mirrors. Images five and four are dissolving into ugliness, but he still can’t turn around and see his barren cubicle the way it really is. He can only see it backwards in the darkening glass.  He becomes more and more aware of the insistent tapping and he looks at the mirror image of his sagging door. The door seems to be outlined by a warm light that originates outside. “Could that be the news man bringing word that I have won the lottery?”, he wonders. “Could it, perhaps, be the delivery man delivering a belated birthday gift?” “Or pizza, did someone at least send me pizza?”

Now, the “impartial” observer above can hardly keep from getting involved. “You’ve become gnarled and hunched over in front of your delusive mirrors”, he thinks. “You are losing yourself in them even as you worship yourself. Stand up! Turn away! See who is at the door!”

Image three is resisting the dreaded change. It says, “Stand up!”
Image two is wide-eyed as it urges, “Turn away, you fool!”
Image one smiles, raises a hand, touches his hand, and orders, “In the name of God, answer the door!”
Astonished, mirror-man cocks his head, listening. Slowly, he tears his gaze from the three remaining faces and turns from them to see the hovel he has made for himself. “What have I done?”
Neglect,
Disrepair,
Starvation,
Emptiness,
Despair.
Not a bed, nor a comfortable chair,
and between him and the miserable door,
is a choking, smoky, dark fog, which, after much flailing and batting with his hands, finally moves behind him. It is as though the darkness is actively trying to keep him from the door, yet the thought of getting something for himself impels him toward the latch. The brightness makes him shield his eyes, even though he only, hesitatingly, opens the door a crack. Pulling it wider, he says, “Yes? Who’s there?”

He looks into the kindest eyes he has ever seen, certainly much nicer than those in the mirror.
“I’m so happy that you answered my tapping. I was hoping beyond hope that you would not leave me standing here forever”, he states pleasantly. “May I come in?”

“Well, um, yes, come in. Excuse the mess . . . do you have something for me?”

“Mess excused. As a matter of fact, I do have something for you.” He steps in.

“But, I see that you have nothing in your hands . . .” He did not notice that the darkness behind him had retreated to one mirrored corner as soon as the man entered and lit up the room.

The man of light points toward all the mirrors. “I don’t think you will be needing these any longer.”
Sensing what was about to happen, mirror-man shouted, “No, don’t, I do need those!”
With a slight wave of his finger the surrounding glass shatters and falls to the floor in small pieces which are immediately swept into the swirls of the dark fog. Spinning violently, the fog and all the reflecting crystals, each containing a single dark image, rise through the ceiling and are gone. The room becomes transformed from a shack into a nicely furnished room. “From a mirror room into a living room,” mirror-man muses to himself, “This must be just a weird dream, wake up, wake up!”

“This is no dream, it is Truth. One Truth, One Way, One Life.”

“Wait, you are not the news man, or the delivery man, but the One I have heard of, the One who my mother told me about as a child. Right? I was hoping for a birthday gift, or for the lucky money which life owes me.”

“Wrong and right. I am indeed your News Man. I bring you the best news you can imagine! And, I am indeed your Delivery Man, for I am here to deliver you from your self. I am indeed here to bring life into this room and into you, yourself. I am The One of your mother – her Lord, in fact, and I do bring you a gift called grace, and a gift called rebirth, so you are close to being right on all counts. Can we sit and talk awhile? Let us speak together, that’s all I’ve wanted for a long, long time. I’m sorry I have no pizza, but I’ll provide some nourishing bread and cool water.”

Looking in wonder at his warm, peaceful new living room, and at the Man’s hands and feet, his heart is softened. “Yes, please sit, my Lord, you’ve been on your feet much too long.”

After an astonishing night in which the Man of Light tells mirror-man everything about his life, and much about Himself, and about His Father, God, morning comes. The transformed man fishes around in his pocket as he asks, “This place needs You, Jesus, I need You, will You please stay?” He offers the intricate key to his newly repaired door.

“I need to think about that . . .”, the Light One pauses, “Only kidding, actually that’s all I ever wanted, of course I’ll stay!” They both laughed heartily.
Mirror-man lives only for his Lord now, and occasionally does get pizza.
They have lived together in that joyful room for a decade – no mirrors – only looking at each other with big, happy grins.

And so it is with the writer who watches himself from above the action, unseen, from the vantage point of happy memory.

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Fattened With Sin – And So It Is

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The sparrow squeezes through the chicken wire
To feast upon the easy chicken feed within . . .

Fattened with illicit lunch,
She can’t squeeze out again.

Then, here he comes
With club in hand,
Oh, fear of death and pain.

Freedom just beyond her reach,
She struggles desperately,
Just like we,
To find any way out – in vain.

Without help,
Against wisdom,
We found our way in.
We trespassed without a thought,
Of ever getting out again,
Now all may come to naught.

So it is with the easy feed,
And so it is with sin.

#  #  #

(I had to knock her down to catch her,
Risking life, and limb, and bone.
– In a moment of merciful grace –
Released and returned her distended self,
Back to her rightful home.)

And so,
And so,
And so it is,

#And so it is with Him#
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Broken Place and Redemption


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I am like
the sealed, plain,
clay jar, that contained
bitter water, which feared
being broken but wished that it
could be broken so that the bad
water would run out, but after it
was inevitably dropped, and when
the inevitable crack opened in its side,
the jar was dismayed that only a part of
the bitters ran out and it sat damaged, thinking
it could never be a whole jar again, and found that
being broken was a far worse thing than it had imagined,
so it wished and wished that it could be an undamaged useful
jar again, even if it had to hold bitter water, when suddenly the
Spirit of Plain Clay heard the longings of the poor jar, found
the crack, entered through it, sealed the crack behind Him,
and changed the bitter water to sweet, clear water, which
He multiplied to fill the jar, after which the jar begged
Him to stay, Spirit said  Forever If You’ll Have Me,
at which point the jar knew brokenness to be a
blessing, for without the crack, the glorious
Spirit of Plain Clay would never have gained
entrance;  I am like that — if clay jars could
fear, could wish, could be dismayed, could
 think, could imagine, could wish, could
beg, and could know, and if there were
a glorious Spirit of Plain Clay —
I AM like that.

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*Cold Without You * A Followup

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One never knows what one will get after posting a piece of work.
I could expect more from a box of chocolates.
I never know what to expect.
I’m often surprised.
Surprised by my disappointment, or maybe by an enjoyable comment,
but not surprised much, any more, by the usual (normal; to be expected?)
plain, every-day apathy.

What I kind-of hoped for was that a reader would notice the
abject hopelessness of the poem and ask if I were okay,
(it sure seems as though someone’s not okay)
ask if I needed prayer, offer an encouraging word,
or a word of wisdom.

(I, personally, don’t like missing
a chance to offer a word
out of compassion, sympathy,
or just empathy when someone
seems in despair.
I do miss chances, but don’t like it,
especially when due to my own neglect)

(I at least thought someone
would comment on the work itself,
for I judge it one of my best works
of lyrical poetry. Ahhh, well . . .)

After all, everyone wants to be

noticed,
attended to,
comforted,
consoled,
cared for,
defended,
liked,
loved,
understood,
commiserated with,
shown concern,
cared about,
soothed,
encouraged,
accepted,
included,
shown sympathy,
stood up for,
identified with,
rescued,
shown kindness,
and/or
shown just a touch of human tenderness.

Everyone – at least at some time during their lives,
whether they admit it or not.

It’s all right!  I’m not in despair!
So how did I write “Cold” as though I were?
I wrote from a place I have been before.
Why did I risk going back to “that place” to possibly get stuck there again?
Why should I want to expose myself to those feelings again?
Because I’ve been saved from them. My despair has been redeemed!
I have no fear of it!
I wrote “Cold” mainly for those who haven’t been saved.
For them, for me, and for all of us.
I wrote it in memoriam for what once was, but is not now.
“Memoriam” = memory of I AM.  (Ha! Yes!)

I write for those who live in despair, and fear, and hopelessness,
and who don’t yet know redemption.

So, you might ask, who is the missing “you”, the metaphoric one
to whom those desperate pleas are addressed?
Is it a lost love? Is it love itself?
It could be.
Is it “the one” who was never found, though constantly dreamed of?
The “one” deemed the answer to all problems, trials, and pain?
Is it a relationship? Is it a soul-mate, a friend, a heroic rescuer?
Is it a long-sought, ever longed-for but unknown lover?
Is it about bad decisions; wrong paths followed;
misplaced trust; looking for answers in the wrong places;
believing in
a false Lord, or none at all?
It could be any or all of those.
The reader must decide.
(I’ll leave it to you to unravel the mystery of the “tapestry
of the Elven loom”.)

From my viewpoint, all the right answers, solutions;
the trust, love, belief, and salvation needed
are embodied in one person.
Jesus Christ, of the manger.
Jesus Christ, of the cross.
Jesus Christ, Lord of all.
Jesus Christ, who fills all the above human needs,
and with whom a relationship gives a joy
which covers sorrow and despair,
and which throws a rope of solid hope to anyone
mired in the quicksand of hopelessness.

~ ~ ~
Thank you, dear reader!
Your reading and sharing of my stuff
means more to me than you might be able to guess.
Thank you!

In closing:
“Just remember, every heart holds its sorrows,
yet every heart which knows The Highest Savior
also knows the hope that brings the upwelling of  joy
that comforts sorrow and brings an exciting kind of peace.”
Gloryteller, 1-21-2014

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Cold Without You – Song of Despair


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φ

Cold Without You

( Vaerse 1 )

What cold, hard stone where I lie,
What bitter womb is this ice,
Bears me down into despair,
The colder that you’re not here,
Don’t seem to be anywhere,
So . . lonely . . . cold.

( Chaurus )

Oh! Have I been a hope-struck fool,
To wait for you,
To make me whole,
Be everything,
To warm my soul,
Thaw my heart –
Make it sing?

2.

How hard the isolation,
I always thought that you’d come,
To take me into the sun,
Before my time is undone,
I can’t endure alone,
So . . broken . . . cold.

( Chaurus 2 )

Here I lay naked on this stone,
My tired bones,
Count all the loss,
Dark, empty cold,
Where have I gone?
What have I done?
Why won’t you come?

3.

Oh! Once I thought I had you.
Soul’s Joy! Just knew I had you,
Was close, but not the real you . . .
Left with nothing all too soon,
How I suffer without you.
So . . shattered . . . cold.

(Chaurus 3 )

I dream it’s warmer where you are,
Won’t you come take me there,
The real you,
The depth of you,
The joy of you,
The weight of you,
I’m . . fading . . . ( soon . . . . ).

4.

Where is the place that you are,
How sad I dream it’s not far,
I sometimes feel you are near,
Cry out, but you never hear,
I’m entrapped in frozen tears,
So . . stranded . . . cold.

( Chaurus 4 )

The warm, rich tapestry of you,
From Elven loom,
My grasp eludes,
Cold, mocking moon,
His chill exudes,
What aching doom,
Rescue . . me . . . soon . . . .

5.

How numbing is this north wind,
How cutting through my pale skin,
How sharp, it pierces my heart,
This winter gnaws me apart,
Once was light, all is now dark,
So dim . . .
So . . . cold . . .

( Chaurus )

Oh! Have I been a hope-struck fool,
To wait for you ,
To make me whole,
Be everything,
To warm my soul,
Thaw my heart –
Make it sing?

6.

Oh! Solitary misery,
This hungry wind devours me,
Your loss and lack I mourn,
All else I could have borne,
How thin my fabric has worn,
So . . deathly . . . cold

( Chaurus )

The warm, rich tapestry of you,
From Elven loom,
My grasp eludes,
Cold, mocking moon,
His chill exudes,
What aching doom,
Rescue . .
me . . .
soon . . . .

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© Len Snider, Gloryteller.com, 1-18-2014
All Rights Reserved

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