ON ONE FOOT

A rather eccentric looking young man wearing an old brown suit and holding a small, worn, stickered suitcase walked into the center of the city, spun around a few times in the middle of one of the main squares and then looked up to the skyline. Fixing his eyes on the closest church steeple, he immediately made his way to the front door of the rectory beside the church. He knocked on the door and asked to speak with the pastor. When the pastor met him in the parlor, the young man rose to his feet and immediately stood on one foot. Wearing a curious expression, the pastor asked how he could help the man. The young man said – I have come very far and wish to settle in this town and join your church; however first I would like you to instruct me in the entire faith as I stand on one foot. Assessing the man to be deranged, the pastor promptly showed him the door.

Returning to the city centre to repeat his spinning ritual, he headed in a new direction to the nearest church steeple. He made his way to the front door of the rectory and repeated his request to speak to the pastor: I have come very far and wish to settle in this town and join your church; however first I would like you to instruct me in the entire faith as I stand on one foot. Determining the young man to be irrational he also showed him the door.

A third time the young man repeated his spinning ritual and headed toward another church steeple and knocked on the door of the rectory. An old, slouched and limping, white-bearded pastor answered the door and showed him into a sitting room. The young man repeated his request saying: I have come very far and wish to settle in this town and join your church; however first I would like you to instruct me in the entire faith as I stand on one foot. The pastor looked at him through timeworn but wise eyes and smiled saying: Love God, love your neighbour, love yourself – the rest is all commentary.

Satisfied with the response, there and then, still standing on one foot,  the young man decided to settle in the city and join the parish church.

Source: Inspired by a story told by the Talmudic sage Hillel

CONSIDER THIS

Saint Augustine said that Scripture “teaches nothing but charity, and we must not leave an interpretation of scripture until we have found a compassionate interpretation of it.” 

LONGING FOR GOD

Kabezya-Mpungu, the highest god, had created the sky and the earth and two human beings, a man and a woman endowed with reason. However, these two human beings did not, as yet, possess Mutima, or Heart.

Kabezya-Mpungu had four children, the Sun, the Moon, Darkness, and Rain. He called them all together and said to them, “I want to withdraw now, so that Man can no longer see me. I will send down Mutima in my place. But before I take my leave I want to know what you, Rain, are going to do.”

“Oh,” replied Rain, “I think I will pour down without cease and put everything under water.”

“No,” answered the god. “Don’t do that. Look at these two.” And he pointed to the man and the woman. “Do you think they can live under water? You’d better take turns with the Sun. After you have sufficiently watered the earth, let the Sun go to work and dry it.”

The god turned then to the Sun. “And how are you going to conduct yourself?” he asked.

“I intend to shine hotly and burn everything under me,” said his second child.

“No,” replied Kabezya-Mpungu. “That cannot be. How do you expect the people whom I created to get food? When you have warmed the earth for a while, give Rain a chance to refresh it and make the fruit grow.”

“And you, Darkness, what are your plans?”

“I intend to rule forever!” was the answer.

“Have pity!” cried the god. “Do you want to condemn my creatures, the lions and the tigers and the serpents, to see nothing of the world I made? Listen to me. Give the Moon time to shine on the earth, and when you see the Moon in its last quarter, you may again rule. But I have lingered too long. Now I must go.” And he disappeared.

Somewhat later, Mutima, Heart, came along, in a small container no bigger than a hand. Heart was crying, and asked Sun, Moon, Darkness, and Rain, “Where is Kabezya-Mpungu, our father?”

“Father is gone,” they said, “and we do not know where.”

“Oh how great is my desire,” said Heart, “to commune with him. But since I cannot find him I will enter into Man, and through him I will seek God from generation to generation.”

And that is what happened. Ever since, all children born of Man contain Mutima, a longing for God.

Source | The Creation of the World: A Myth of Uganda retold by Charlotte and Wolf Leslau

PONDER AND CONSIDER

Our hearts were made for you oh God and they won’t find rest until they rest in you. | St Augustine

  • Are you living your life with heart?

THE OTHER SEVEN WONDERS

A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present “Seven Wonders of the World.”  Though there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes:

  1. Egypt’s Great Pyramids
  2. Taj Mahal
  3. Grand Canyon
  4. Panama Canal
  5. Empire State Building
  6. St. Peter’s Basilica
  7. China’s Great Wall

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student had not finished her paper yet. So she  asked the girl if she was having trouble with her  list. The girl replied, “Yes, a little.  I couldn’t quite make up my mind because  there were so many.”

The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.”  The girl hesitated, then read, “I think the ‘Seven  Wonders of the World’ are:

  1. To See
  2. To Hear
  3. To Touch/to feel
  4. To Taste
  5. To  Smell
  6. To Laugh
  7. To Love.”

The room was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.  The things we overlook as simple and ordinary and that we take for  granted  are truly wondrous!

Source | originally told by Joy Garrison Wasson. She taught English in Muncie, Indiana for over thirty years.  She died on October 15, 2009, after a long illness. She was only 62.

PONDER AND CONSIDER

This is a gentle reminder that the most precious things in life  cannot be built by hand or bought by humans.  Very often we’re so busy looking for the big picture that we sometimes miss the little pictures that make it up.

  • People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains,  at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.  [Variant: Men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty billows of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, and pass themselves by.]  | Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
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