Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"Page 23 in the Hymnal......................."

Why our pastor called a three day “revival” with church school basketball games scheduled for both Monday and Tuesday is beyond me, but last night I rode with the youngest daughter and her family over to Cincinnati to watch the grandson and his team play hoops. There was a drizzly rain falling and darkness had not yet claimed the inner city when we drove up Linn Street looking for the YMCA. That area is just two blocks west of the tenements and all the racial unrest the last few days (nothing too serious here other than some protesters having flooded the expressway, shutting it down temporarily one evening) had me a bit apprehensive about the event. I’ve walked here on several occasion in earlier years, passing out tracts and talking with individuals, even going up into the upper levels of that government housing to knock on doors. People are people; but, then, that’s my point: when emotions are stirred, a little wisdom on the other side of the coin doesn’t hurt. As things turned out, it was an enjoyable experience. Their team had all the height, but our boys took the lead and never looked back. The score stayed close until the final quarter, a sort of seesaw back and forth that kept one wondering about the final result; and we, though definitely a minority there in the bleachers, just one with the crowd in rooting for our individual team. The gymnasium was old and run down. The building held a couple of swimming pools, but overall it was obvious that this was the ghetto. These kids live in the middle of drugs and violence. Their future holds little hope of escaping such surroundings. It’s a lifestyle we, ourselves, have created as a nation; and one in which, it seems to me, that racial tension has only reproduced itself, the hatred now as strong on both sides of the equation. The answer is, and never was, in government, but in hearts that are willing to sit down together and talk, to listen and accept each other’s failures while acknowledging our need of His reality in our midst. Culture doesn’t have to separate us. It just takes three, not a village; and a little competition between the kids on a hardwood floor doesn’t have to mean war. Last night was fellowship with some other good folk, Gospel without a sermon, a couple of hours of fun……


  1. Yes, that would be where the rubber hits the road, right? Good for you guys! I'm glad it all worked out.

    Hmmm, what is on page 23 of the Hymnal, I wonder...?

    1. As it turns out, page 23 in our old hymnal is "Land of Perfect Day", one I don't remember us ever singing. We did, however, quite often charge into "Everybody Will Be Happy Over There", always with an attempt at humor beforehand noting that heaven is probably the only place where everybody might FINALLY be happy. We had a home game last night in spite of the pastor with his last night of revival taking place up in the sanctuary. His wife is principle of the school and was laughing as we went into the gym, telling my wife that she "told Him we had these two events already scheduled and I could not change them just because he decides at the last minute to insert his own agenda into it all,"...