This story begins with a venial sin,
impatience was my crime.
By acting with gall, it didn’t take long
for God’s messenger to stop on by.
With hopes to mend a broken friend
I thought I’d give God a call.
A prayer was said,
just before bed
But there was no reply at all.
By the next night with no answer in sight,
I thought I’d try again
So, a prayer was said,
just before bed,
then with two claps,
went out the light
A call came in, it was my friend,
I inquired about his plight.
He’d been up all night,
he said with spite,
as my prayers had failed to mend.
So, I bowed my head and asked God again,
to heal his broken heart.
If you’re my friend, he’ll quickly mend,
if you’ll just do your part.
Another day came,
and as I called out his name,
the sound of crickets filled the air.
“You’re not being fair, I don’t think you care,
If he fails,
it’s you I’ll blame.”
God peered down and with a deep frown,
He put a checkmark by my name.
“You’ll hold me to blame?”
“Well, that’s a shame,
when you end, don’t look up
It’s a preacher I need, an Ol’ time preacher indeed,
to gather prayers from across the land.
He’ll raise in his hand, for those who attend,
the Bible for all to see.
Then with a thousand prayers,
God can’t help but hear,
the voice of those in need.
I checked all around and soon was found
a preacher, who just couldn’t wait
to gather his people together,
and then pass the offering plate.
After all were there, the preacher did swear
that God would hear their cry that night.
For a friend in need
is a friend indeed,
though it costs to fight such fights.
So, as the deacons go, from row to row,
“don’t let that plate come back too light.”
An old man was there, who stood by and stared
and then let out an anguished sigh.
He started to sneer as the plate drew near
laden with money, meant to bribe.
As the plate came by, he peered inside
an ancient message he chose to send.
For what was contained within the plate
suddenly changed before his eyes.
He walked to the preacher, his ordained teacher
and put the plate into his hands.
He then turned to the crowd
who were all looking around
and this is what he said:
“You, sir, did mention that your friend needs attention,”
and he pointed his finger at me.
“But if it goes badly,
as you pointed out, sadly,
that I’ll be the one you’ll blame.”
“This cannot be, so I came here to see
how my Trusted were leading their class.”
“You all pray to the sky,
though, I’m not quite sure why,
did someone say prayer works better en masse?”
“Also, I’m trying to understand,
why this educated man,
shouts with anger towards the sky.”
“He speaks of God’s plan,
oddly, told only to him,
which he’ll share
if you’ll just take a seat.”
“The reason I’m late, is I wanted to wait
and let my teachers right these wrongs.”
“But the curse of the plate, left open the gate
and greed came merrily along.”
“So, today I stand, in the flesh of a man,
it’s answers that you seek.”
“With no sleight of hand,
So, you’ll understand,
behind the curtain, I’ll let you peek.”
“While we can’t debate, one’s Heavenly fate.
or the details of the earthly plan,
please know that I hear
every word that you say,
and I answer, best that I can.”
“First, let me say,
it won’t alter one’s fate,
by the amount of prayers I receive.”
“I won’t change the plan
of any living Man,
because it’s a group,
that reached out to me.”
“You’ve gathered this day
hoping Heaven will wait.”
“But in the end, quite sadly,
it just doesn’t work that way.”
“When Heaven calls out and you’re left at the Gate,
your key to admission,
lie in the choices you’ve made.”
“One should not pray,
to change their life’s fate,
but to ask for strength,
when their need
is most great,
and to focus their mind when they fail to see,
the forest, for the trees.”
“The cost of all this, for both you and me? “
“We’ll, it’s free, you see.”
“No plate to pass, no guilt-filled speech.”
“No glaring eyes, when the times are lean.”
He was feeling ignored, so the preacher then snored,
“Sir, you’re putting us to
The old man then turned,
and with a look of concern,
asked the preacher,
“why are you doing this to me?”
Now, everyone was laughing,
for they knew he was acting,
“It’s like watching him on TV”.
The preacher then yawned and stretched out his arms,
to please take a seat.
“Sir, God gave me his church,
nestled here on this earth,
to look out for its every need.”
“Though expenses seem high, the church doesn’t mind,
for that’s the cost of employing me.”
“Sadly, preachers of worth, won’t stay long at a church,
lest they’re paid an acceptable fee,
and by the weight of this plate,
I think I can wait, I feel valued here, indeed.”
The old man felt weary,
he was weakened, quite clearly,
but he’d promised God,
he’d follow this through.
But it seems that the man
that God chose for his plan,
had come down
with the seasonal flu.
“Allow me to rest,
to just catch my breath
and I’ll be as good as new.”
” I’ve just one more request
and if you’ll do as I ask,
I’ll quickly take leave of you.”
The preacher said “fine,
but I’m a bit pressed for time,
as I’ve somewhere else to be.”
So, make your request or
give me your test,
whatever, just finish and leave!”
“That book that you raise, the one that you say
was bestowed from Heaven to thee,
of chapter and verse, you’ve read every word,
on this, can we agree?”
Still holding the plate, the preacher, now late
was angry and ready to leave,
“Of course, I’ve read it, so give me your question,
but quickly now,
if you would, please.”
“For I’m scheduled to be
on everyone’s TV
from noon until just about three.”
“Where I’ll reach out to the masses
with my new book and passes,
inviting them to come see me for free.”
He then smiled at the preacher,
God’s dishonest teacher.
A smile to mask his rage.
He would show the preacher his value,
reflected in a biblical wage.
“So, you’ve read in Zechariah,
his vision of what would soon be.”
“And in the writings of Matthew,
the amount that Judas received,
for his part in the betrayal
of the one from Galilee.”
The preacher just smiled,
“I do know what you mean.”
“But why are you wasting your time
in asking this of me?”
The old man’s heart was broken,
as the preacher had failed to see,
that God was trying to warn him,
that he was risking his eternity.
God had pulled back the curtain,
hoping the preacher would choose to peek,
as he was walking the path of evil
and could change to the one meant to be.
But the preacher, simply ignored him,
“I just don’t have the time,
to worry about matters such as these”
“Well, it’s time for me to leave you,”
said the old man, while floating away,
“I’ve an appointment to see St. Peter,
who waits near the Heavenly Gate.
“He was expecting your arrival
but I will tell him, no need to wait
For it appears that you have chosen,
an entirely different kind of gate.”
The preacher then stood in silence,
annoyed by what the old man said.
“Well, I hate to be late, and the audience won’t wait,
so tell the studio, I’m on my way.”
But with all this talk of heaven,
and life’s perils that await,
he had forgotten, that in his hands,
he still held the offering plate.
The preacher looked down and out came a sound,
his body then shivered.
The flock gathered around as the plate hit the ground
and they all began to quiver.
Then the preacher fell down,
hard, upon the ground;
his eyes were now closed
The fate of the plate
was revealed on that day
as a message for the preacher.
For the money was gone
and left in its place,
Thirty Pieces of Silver.
In the early 1900’s, George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This aphorism is, arguably, one of the most important sentences ever written. It reminds us that history has an ugly habit of repeating itself.
Today, we appear hellbent on removing anything from our history that might be offensive or insulting. Our society has gone to great lengths to either ban or demonize examples of the Civil War, the Swastika, Communism, KKK and the like.
We have also banned “offensive” words and ideas, labeling them as “hate speech.” The media has made sure that every unpopular utterance faces the court of public opinion and then it forms a panel to debate the results.
We are “sanitizing” ourselves to death; literally.
These words, statues, monuments and groups represent our past; good, bad whatever. The emotions that they evoke are different for each viewer, ranging from indifferent to horrified. Whether we like it or not; It’s us.
We need to stop hiding from these “symbols” and embrace the lesson. Yes, I said embrace. We should replace the objects that were taken down and talk about them with our children.
They need to see and hear ALL of the details of the civil war, of slavery and victory; everything. If a Klan rally is nearby, they should see that too. The speakers, the hoods and the protesters.
Show the children the face of evil and what it sounds like. Let them hear the bygone words of those that supported slavery as well as those who stood opposed. Let them see and hear the voices of hate spoken by today’s members of white pride. Let them hear the sounds of wisdom and peace in the soothing words of Martin Luther King.
When we remove a monument, silence a dissenter or sanitize the details of our past, we are depriving our children of history’s crucial lessons. In addition, we are also failing to adequately prepare them for an uncertain future.
Our children must be shown the whole truth, including all of it’s ugliness. History has exacted a high price from humanity in hopes that future generations may benefit from the painful lessons learned.