Friday afternoon is the time for me to play games with friends at Greecroft. We play in a unit called Evergreen. I like that name and the company it provides me. One of the players is a former missionary to India. That experience is still a part of his life. He lives alone now, and enjoys making big pots of curry to sustain himself. Today, he gave each player a copy of his annual Christmas poem. This year’s poem began
Syrians are being slaughtered/Egyptians vie with each other/Israelis and Palestinians have little love for each other/Iranians want nuclear bombs/Washingtonians won’t work together/Afghanis seek revenge/Murders are rampant in America/Where are You, God?/Aren’t you in Charge/
With these words the poet describes what The Old Fool considers to be the curse that is found o’er all the earth. Almost everyone thinks that God ought to take charge and make wrongs right. The poet ends his poem with the following lines:
You are our example/But how short we fall/Oh, God, forgive me/Forgive me for expecting You/To take charge of ohers/When I’m the one who needs to change./You give us true hope./Thank you for sending Jesus./To be a pattern for us./Thank you for forgiveness./Thank You for Your presence./Help me as I endeavor to follow YOU!
In this conclusion The Old Fool believes that our poet has caught the essence of the Jesus story. We are to be concerned more with our own behaviors than the behaviors of others. Jesus is our pattern. What pattern? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked. Return good for evil. Overcome evil with good. Bless, and curse not! As our pattern Jesus gives us hope. As soon as, and not before, the world adopts the pattern of Jesus shalom willl fill the earth with joy.
My day concluded with these thoughts after being at the Festival of Carols produced by Goshen College in Sauder Hall, the college’s music center. Sauder Hall was built for music. Choirs and ensembles from the college and community filled the hall with wonderful sounds and words. The body of the man seated next to me shuttered to the rythrem. Me? I became the Old Fool and I cried at times with anticipation if the time when peace and plenty will displace fear far as the curse is found.
“Far as the curse is found” rings in my mind tonight.