Day One Thousand Two Hundred Thirty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Mei writes:

Today was beyond dark. To me. The sunny blue skies open to everyone else were closed behind the shutters of my denial.

I can still hear the sounds of celebration around the city – voices raised in laughter and exultation. Happy throngs weaved about the streets calling to their fellows, congratulating one another for their triumph over their foes.

Then they began to lavish gifts on one another, declaring their independence from any and all restrictions.

I kept well away from them all.

I would almost despair if I did not have faith in the promises. There was a time before when these feelings would have crushed the very life from me.

I tell myself it will all be over soon.

Faith That Fragile Herb

Faith That Fragile Herb

With joy
For You we wait
Knowing
What pleases You
Is faith.

Faith, that fragile herb
Springs forth at Your Word
Bowing its head down
Straining to hear the sound
Of Your glory under Heaven

And round
The rock of truth
It clings
And midst the clods
Blooms and sings
Your praises under Heaven

Though as neat
As a mustard seed
By it You meet
Our mountain of need
And make our joy
Complete
Under
Heaven.

RWOz2

Moony and the Baptists

photo

I do know who invited me to the Baptist church in Salem – one of my best friends did – Steve, or Moony as he liked to be called. I guess to say that he wore his hair in a crewcut would be an oxymoron, for there was no hair to wear. From the back his head looked like Charlie Brown’s noggin, a full moon rising. I remember thinking it odd that he would choose Moony as a moniker what with the practice then of mooning someone had a wholly pejorative meaning. But then again there is a certain coolness in having a nickname, and being known among the guys by a name of your own choosing.

The church had a good size sanctuary, but the prominent feature at the front, and center stage, obviously was the baptism.  It looked to only accommodate one person at a time, so it would have been a slow process, but I am sure buckets of sin were washed away over the years of its use.

Anyway, Moony invited me to his church by way of his Boy Scout troop that met there. I joined the troop, starting as a Tenderfoot, eventually reaching First Class.  Scouting appealed to my spirit of adventure, especially in the activities to earn my hiking merit badge. We covered the county north of Salem.  Our routes were never on trails, only streets, roads and in some cases railroad tracks (I know, visions of Stand By Me may be conjured up, but that would be anachronistic, from my viewpoint it was more like Follow Me Boys). One time we hiked to a lot in the country with the whole troop and prepared a meal, I think stew.  We didn’t camp out for the night, at least I don’t think so. It would not have been an optimum site for that.  It was set in a ravine in a grove of tall pines; the ground was not level anywhere, so pitching a tent would have been problematical at best.

I did spend the night at another time somewhere up in this area. Moony had invited me to a retreat that was sponsored by his church. I only remember the large common room, which probably doubled for other functions, dining area, activities, etc. There were pillars everywhere, so some activities were restricted. This is where we heard our speaker. He was from Brooklyn, a former gang member, in fact the warlord of the infamous Mau Maus – Nicky Cruz. He told us about a young pastor who had confronted him with the love of Christ. When Nicky threatened him in return, the pastor held firm in declaring the love of the Lord. He thought he was tough, but God was tougher still, His love overwhelmed him. His story was striking, noncontestable.

Another seed. But the soil of my heart was still unprepared. Providentially in the past I had been kept from an association that would have led me astray. And here I was being invited into the only way, and only I could make the choice, but couldn’t. Not yet.