THE STRANGER

 

 

IMG_0401The town buzzed with excitement. Anticipation fill’d the air.
The church, come Sunday morning, would see folk from everywhere.
For, a well-known t.v. preacher would be coming into town,
And, according to the radio, there’d be blessings pass’d around.
Well, Friday turned to Saturday, and Saturday seem’d long.
Then, finally come the day of rest. You should have seen the throng!
People came from far and wide … all adorned in Sunday best,
Just to hear this famous preacher, and, who knows? … perhaps be bless’d.
The local padre raised his arms and softly cleared his throat;
Then welcomed us with simple words that, for this affair, he wrote.
He had us stand and sing a hymn from the songbook in our pew …
And, then we sat and wondered just what next that man would do.
Well, he introduced us to the preacher that we’d all come to see,
And we clapped and tried to make this man just as welcome as can be.
But, that preacher merely glared at us, as he held his bible high …
Then he thumped it down, and you’d think the sound was thunder from the sky.
He screamed at us, and told us that we’re, each one, bound for hell
With a voice so loud, the rafters rang. My god, that man could yell!
He carried on with this gloom and doom ‘til he had us all in fear.
Soon guilt and shame accompanied the ringing in my ear.
Then a stranger in the middle pew stood up and began to speak.
That preacher stopped and stared at Him. I know MY knees felt weak.
The stranger’s voice was gentle as He quoted from the Book …
And He spoke with such authority that we all turned our heads to look.
Then, He finished off by saying, “Sir, the words you speak are strong.
You are right in what you’re saying, but with due respect, you’re wrong.
I hear you quote the Holy Scripture, but you only go so far …
You are giving the impression that things are worse off than they are.
I have listened very carefully to all the words you’ve said,
And, I think it’s wrong to just go on and fill these hearts with dread.
Hope is everlasting; And, I further say to you
Show kindness to your fellow man in all you say, and think and do.
Share the gifts that God bestow’d from Heaven up above …
And … do this not for earthly gain; Do it all for Love.”
The stranger then walked over to where the preacher stood,
Then, He turned to us and had us pray; somehow, I knew He would.
Then He looked back at the preacher … directly in the eye,
And the preacher knelt and bowed his head; and, I swear I saw him cry.
Then the stranger raised His hands … and I saw a blinding light …
And the stranger’s clothes seem’d to change to a gown of dazzling white.
The church seem’d very quiet then, as we all just stared in awe.
And, all of us would be hard put to relate the things we saw.
For, the stranger with the gentle voice, who tamed the preacher’s feist
And sat with us in church that day, was really JESUS CHRIST.

E.W. SMITH/91

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