16 March 2016

Between the Living and The Dead – Opening Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

Many years ago and by many I mean decades I was homeless for a short time.  During that time I lived in my car until it was stolen while I was working a day pay job to get off the streets.  The car was not much but in it were books that were precious to me, my first Bible, and my clothes. 

One of the books I lost was a book titled Please Pardon My Poetry by Jack Hyles.   Whilst I did not agree with most of his Theology I did admire his passion for the souls of others.  It was his banner.  In that book was a poem about Moses and Aaron standing between the living and the dead.

I bought my copy of the book in 1976; two years after I decide to follow Christ.  This past October, as I was settling in the solitude of this place I cannot call home I did a search for the book wanting to find a copy.  I did find it online and ordered a used copy for less than five dollars. 

I forgot about it until it arrived.  Then I tore it open longing to read that poem again.  I flipped to the table of contents and then to the poem.  Only after reading through a couple did I flip back to the front to recall others titles I had enjoyed.  I went too far and landed on the fly leaf. 

I am convinced that God has a very mischievous sense of humor.  There in the corner of the fly page in my 1976 writing was my name and date.  A book I bought in 1976 and lost in 1983 had made its way back to me in 2015.  It reminds me daily of my place between the living and the dead.  It reminds me of my place by the door.   It reminds me what I am supposed to be doing.

As I turn my heart and mind toward Holy Week I am thinking of the ONE who stands between the living and the dead.  The bulk of Holy Week is about death.  So on death will dwell for a few days.  I am not going to be morose but Death is there to keep us honest.  We must, therefore, be honest with death.

I have a reason for what I do.  I will take a short detour through the shadow of the valley of death so that when we get to life it will be all the brighter.  We are not strangers here.  Please walk with me Dear Reader.  I need the company.  Feel free to comment on the scenery.

I Stand by the Door - An Apologia for my Life - Samuel Moore Shoemaker

I stand by the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out.
The door is the most important door in the world -
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There is no use my going way inside and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where the door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it.
So I stand by the door.

The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door - the door to God.
The most important thing that any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands
And put it on the latch - the latch that only clicks
And opens to the man's own touch.
Men die outside the door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter.
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live on the other side of it - live because they have not found it.
Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him.
So I stand by the door.

Go in great saints; go all the way in -
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics.
It is a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in.
Sometimes venture in a little farther,
But my place seems closer to the opening.
So I stand by the door.

There is another reason why I stand there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them;
For God is so very great and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia
And want to get out. 'Let me out!' they cry.
And the people way inside only terrify them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled.
For the old life, they have seen too much:
One taste of God and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving - preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door
But would like to run away. So for them too,
I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door.
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply and stay in too long
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there too.
Where? Outside the door -
Thousands of them. Millions of them.
But - more important for me -
One of them, two of them, ten of them.
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.

So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.
'I had rather be a door-keeper
So I stand by the door.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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