Saturday, June 30, 2007

Great old narrations

Last week in our church, Warren used the old story about the man playing cards at the back of the church to remind us of some great Christian truths.

Warren did this well. It was not too long, and it gave some variety to the beginning of the service. It reminded me of my parents' 78 rpm gramophone record of Tex Ritter [I think] reciting The Touch of the Master's Hand on one side and If Jesus Came To Your House on the other.

I don't like the latter. It sounds too much like the green plaque my parents had on the kitchen wall. I know people mean well, but
Christ is the Head of this House
The Unseen Guest at Every Meal
The Silent Listener to Every Conversation

gives me chills. While I believe it to be true, I prefer the more encouraging
Only one earth life
Soon it will pass
Only what's done for Jesus will last

I think other people have "Christ" where I recall this having "Jesus" in the last line.

But I love The Touch of the Master's Hand. I don't think I could recite it myself, because I choke up when I try. The parts that make me cry are the lines about the person who is rejected by other people, and who has walked away from God, and the lines which tell of how God values us differently and can bring hope and new life.
The Touch Of The Master's Hand

'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar. Then two! Only two?
Two dollars, and who'll make it three?"

"Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three..." But no,
From the room, far back, a grey-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loosened strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet,
As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: "What am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?
Two thousand! And who'll make it three?
Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice,
And going and gone," said he.

The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand.
What changed its worth?" Swift came the reply:
"The touch of the Master's hand."
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd
Much like the old violin.

A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine,
A game -- and he travels on.
He is "going" once, and "going" twice,
He's "going" and almost "gone."
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the touch of the Master's hand.

-- Myra Brooks Welch

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