THE UPS AND DOWNS OF HORSE RIDING

A circuit-riding pastor was galloping down a road to get to church on time. Suddenly his horse stumbled and pitched him to the ground. In the dirt with a broken leg, the pastor called out, “All you saints in heaven, help me get up on my horse!”

Then with superhuman effort, he leaped onto the horse’s back and fell off the other side. Once again, he called to heaven, “All right, just half of you this time.”

Source | David M. Varner, Sunday Funnies to Tickle the Soul
(Xulon Press, 2010) page 44

 

CONSIDER THIS

Would you consider the pastor a faithful person, well-seasoned in the art of prayer? After all, here’s a guy who in the middle of great adversity doesn’t fade, but with confidence calls out. And keeps calling out … with a sense of humour!

Imagine you found yourself in the same situation, what would you have done?

ALL ALONE OUTSIDE THE CAPITAL

Once upon a time there was a man who was against war.  He got many people excited about his mission and built a large organization to speak out against the war.  Eventually people got tired and gave up on him and the mission.  He ended up standing outside the capital with an anti-war poster all alone.

One day, a passerby, noticing the lone protestor,  walked up to him and asked him in a chiding voice: “Do you really think you’re going to change the world?”

The man replied: “No, but I hope by showing up, the world will not change me.” 

Source | Unknown

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • Is it always good not to let the world change one or is it perhaps sometimes more courageous and even essential that we be changed by the world?

THE LITTLE NAIL

As the story goes, a new church was built and people came from far and wide to see it, and admire its beauty. Up on the roof of the church, a little nail heard the people praising everything about the lovely new structure, except the nail. No one even knew he was there and he became very angry and jealous.

‘If I am that insignificant, nobody will miss me if I quit!’

So the nail released its hold of the roof shingle it had been holding in place, then slid down the roof and fell into a muddy patch of ground.

That night it rained and rained, and the wind blew hard. Soon, the shingle that had no nail holding it in place blew away and the roof began to leak. The water streaked the walls and the beautiful murals. The plaster began to fall off the walls, the carpet was stained and the pulpit was badly damaged. All this because a little nail decided to quit.

Source | Unknown

PONDER AND CONSIDER

Reflect on the little  nail for a while.  While holding the shingle, it was obscure, but it was also very useful. Buried in the mud it was just as obscure, but now it was of no use and would soon by eaten up by rust.

Remember that like the nail, no matter how small you think you are, you have an important role to play in society.

THE STORY OF BAMBOO

Once upon a time in the heart of the Western Kingdom lay a beautiful garden. And there in the cool of the day the Master of the garden liked to walk. Of all the creatures of the garden, the most beautiful and most beloved was a gracious and noble bamboo tree. Year after year Bamboo grew yet more noble and beautiful, conscious of her Master’s love and watchful delight, but always modest and gentle.

And often, when the wind came to revel in the garden, Bamboo would cast aside her grave stateliness to dance and play merrily, tossing and swaying and leaping and bowing in joyous abandon, leading the Great Dance  of the Garden,  which delighted the Master’s heart.

Now one day the Master sat down to contemplate his Bamboo with eyes of curious expectancy, Bamboo, in a passion of adoration,  bowed her great head to the ground in loving greeting. The Master spoke: “Bamboo,  I would use you.”

Bamboo flung her head to the sky in utter delight. The day of days had come, the day for which she had been made, the day to which she had been growing, hour by hour, the day in which she would find her completion and her destiny. Her voice came softly:  “Master, I am ready. Use me as you will!”

“Bamboo,”  – the Master’s voice was grave, “I would like take you and cut you down.”

“Cut … me … down! Me, whom you, Master, have made the most beautiful in all your garden … cut me down! Not that, not that. Use me for your joy, O Master, but cut me not down!”

“Beloved Bamboo,” – the Master’s voice grew graver still –  “if I do not cut you down, I cannot use you. 

The garden grew still … Wind held his breath. Bamboo slowly bent her proud and glorious head. There came a whisper: “Master, if you cannot use me unless you cut me down … then … do your will and cut!”

“Bamboo, beloved Bamboo, I need to cut your leaves and your branches from you also.”

“Master, Master, please spare me. Cut me down and lay my beauty in the dust, but would you  also take from me my leaves and branches?”

“Bamboo, if I do not cut them away, I cannot use you.”

The Sun hid his face. A listening butterfly glided fearfully away. And Bamboo shivered in terrible expectancy, whispering low, “Master, cut away.”

“Bamboo, Bamboo, I would also split you in two and cut out your heart, for if I don’t  I cannot use you.”

Then was Bamboo bowed to the ground: “Master, Master … then cut me and split me.”

So did the Master of the garden took Bamboo and cut her down and hacked off her branches and stripped off her leaves and cleaved her in two and cut out her heart. And lifting her gently, he carried her to where there was a spring of fresh, sparkling water in the midst of his dry fields. Then putting one end of broken Bamboo into the spring and the other end into the water channel in his field, the Master laid down gently his beloved Bamboo. The clear sparkling water raced joyously down the channel of Bamboo’s torn body into the waiting fields. Then the rice was planted and the days went by, and the shoots grew, and the harvest came.

In that day was Bamboo, once so glorious in her stately beauty, yet more glorious in her brokenness and humility. For in her beauty she was life abundant, but in her brokenness she became a channel of abundant life to her Master’s world!

Source | Daniel O’Leary, Year of the Heart: A Spirituality for Lovers, (Paulist Press 1989), pages 85-87

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • Amidst brokenness, how do we become channels of abundant life?
  • Contemplate the story through two different frames: First, be the bamboo. In a second reading, imagine yourself the master. How do you respond to the two readings? 
  • “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. | Mark 8:34,35
  • “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24

 

 

SOCKS AND SHOES

A little boy about 10 years old was standing before a shoe store on the roadway, barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering with cold. A lady approached the boy and said, “My little fellow, why are you looking so earnestly in that window?”

“I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes,” was the boy’s reply.

The lady took him by the hand and went into the store and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. He quickly brought them to her. She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried them with a towel.

By this time the clerk had returned with the socks. Placing a pair upon the boy’s feet, she purchased him a pair of shoes. She tied up the remaining pairs of socks and gave them to him. She patted him on the head and said, “No doubt, my little fellow, you feel more comfortable now?”

As she turned to go, the astonished lad caught her by the hand, and looking up in her face, with tears his eyes, answered the question with these words: “Are you God’s Wife?”

Source | Unknown

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me. | Matthew 25:40 NRSV
  • Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me. | Matthew 25:40 the message