Heard (Henderson), Josephine D.
|WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?|
WE had gathered for the love-feast on the time appointed
And many came with hearts aflame and swords all burnished
And other heavy laden ones who, toiling on life's road,
Forgot that Christ had promised to bear their heavy load,
Came struggling in the open door and dropped into a seat;
But failed to lay their burdens at the blessed Saviour's feet.
We sang the hymn "Redeeming Love," and then we knelt
Not knowing that one steeped in sin had gathered with
Then we arose and each in turn began of Christ to talk,
And some rejoiced and others moaned o'er life's intricate
And when the Holy Spirit had pervaded every heart,
The weak grew strong, for all their doubts were bidden
We felt that faithful, earnest prayer would unlock heaven's
Lo, in our very midst, there stood a drunkard on the floor;
He'd wandered down the narrow street and stopped and
made his bed
Upon the steps that to the very mercy-seat had led --
Where the thrilling songs of Zion and the atmosphere of
And the host of the invisibles floated on the evening air.
They roused him from his stupor, smote his conscience
and his heart,
For he saw that with "the chosen" even here he had no
And struggling to control himself and decently appear --
He laid aside his tattered hat and to the desk drew near.
The muttered words stuck in his throat as hard he strove
"My friends, I've been a drinking," were uttered low
"Put the man out," they quickly cried, "how dare he
This is no place for drunkards, only the good are here."
And as the men advanced to take the poor intruder out,
He placed his hands behind him and despairing gazed
There rested such a look upon his now quite sobered face
Of hopelessness: it seemed to say they thrust me from this
Where prayers are made for erring ones, Christ says to
"That whosoe'r believing comes shall full salvation find."
Strong hands were laid upon him and they led him to the
And from the church steps down he went perhaps to rise
no more --
Who knows but a hasty step his lasting doom may seal,
Though sense of his unworthiness he yet may keenly feel.
Perhaps we, too, are erring, let us turn our eyes within;
Perhaps we'll have no trouble in discovering secret sin.
If the question were but answered how our cases stood
The echo of the answer would be: no, not one is good.
Let us be like Samaritans, and stoop when passing by,
To raise a fallen brother and to hear the needy's cry.