Monday, October 27, 2008

A Parable

The following is a parable I wrote years ago as the introduction to a chapter I contributed to a text on children in the church. The editors chose to not include it with the chapter. I have posted it before on my other blog. I post it here as a contribution to the current political debate.


Jackie David Johns

The stranger stumbled into the camp of pilgrims only half alive. Her journey had been long and perilous. Crossing through the great barrier, she had survived but had lost everything in the process. Only the shadow of a memory of being cuddled in a blanket of love remained, and all she knew was that she wanted to live. Every ounce of her energy was focused on this one thing, nourishment, and she didn't care from whence it came. She had nothing and now she was in this land of traveling giants who spoke a foreign tongue. She was helpless, unable to protect or provide for herself.

The giants rejoiced at her arrival. For them it was a marvelous event. They had hopefully awaited her presence, having watched her journey from afar. A celebration was planned. She would be cared for as an honored guest. But these giants were different than most. Some tribes seemed to fear these little people, often sending warriors with sharpened spears to destroy them on their journey. Other's simply abandoned them to the wolves, while others made pets or slaves out of them.

This stranger was a chosen one. It was not her will, nor chance, that had swept her through the wilderness to this tribe of God-fearers. These so-journers saw every new arrival as a gift from God, a promise of their own destiny. Serving the strangers was at once a sacred privilege and honored duty, an opportunity to share in what their God was doing in the world. This helpless individual was a gateway into their own future. She would keep their hope alive. It was their joy and responsibility to nurture her to strength and to pass on to her the sacred promise.

She was also a reminder of their past. Each of them had made the journey. One by one they had traveled from nothingness to existence, from despair to hope. They had been strangers themselves but now they shared an identity and a purpose. Now, they belonged. They were one people with a common future, a family traveling to the city of God. The stranger was no stranger at all. She was their daughter, an heir of the promise. She belonged with them just as they belonged with God.

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