“The Triumph Of Hope Over Reality”

A simple task, done lots of times,
To read in Church the Gospel lines
For others gathered there that day
Who’d come to worship, sing, and pray.

It caught me quite off guard those tears
Which overwhelmed me – since those years –
Two thousand near had passed since when
That fellow, John, had met his end.

But came they did, and stopped me cold;
I stopped and turned to take a hold
On my emotions strong and clear –
‘From whence these overwhelming tears?’ –

I asked myself – at once I knew –
That book I wrote back year or two
Of those first days of Jesus’ work
With his twelve men and how they broke –

Out from the confines of their group
To share with us – salt for our soup
Of cultures mixed here in this land
Of Canada, where now we stand.

His cousin, John, provoked the king
And for his troubles brought this thing
Upon his head – death without trial –
A despot’s way, with despot’s style.

I’d written ’bout some friends of his
And how in death he’d laughed through this
And in his death affected life –
All life on earth despite his strife.

I told the folks I’d written this
And how a writer’s heart’s not missed
As we’re involved in stories such
As words receive creative touch.

And now, in retrospect, I see
It’s more than story old, for me,
But as I read those words to them
It’s true today as it was then –

The despot’s hand (as one or more),
Subdues its foes, drives out the door
Of fellowship and friendly time
For many I have known – and mine.

It’s hard to rise above such strife
And lay aside revenge’s knife –
Now, life’s affected by our death
Though form it takes is not seen yet.

Christ saw it coming, too, that’s clear
Then oriented work, not fear,
To make a pyramid to spread
The love of God, despite his dread.

When cousin John died ’twas quite clear
His men were left, no one was near
To move them forward in their task
(Some came to Christ – to lead them, asked).

First four, then twelve, then seventy-two,
He mentored his men two-by-two,
Then showed them how to mentor each
Along with how to heal and teach.

Each group discipled (mentored) next
Within a larger crowd context;
So at first Easter’s troubled times
Five hundred, then three thousand minds –

And hearts were touched then they touched more
Till through the years it reached our door.
Gave salt, and light, and leaven too
To cultures, people – me and you.

In story written, I had John
Convincing some to pass it on –
Their new fiound life which rose above
The noise and pain of push and shove.

Those friends of John, or some at least
Joined Jesus’ walk to final feast.
Christ honored John as well as those
He’d touched profoundly in life’s close.

Sam Johnson spoke with wisdom’s words
Of second marriage he’d observed –
How hope in such did triumph here –
Reality no final tear.

Now here, for me in garden mine
An ornament, says ‘Hope’ – that’s fine –
But greater yet, there’s hope in me,
That’s risen o’re life’s tragedy.

So tears there were, now layered thought –
For pulpit they from storage brought
Where I was reading on that day
Was where my Grandpa once held sway.

I have no clue why it was out,
It’s presence there, graced me throughout,
And now I see – a message for
His girl, my mom, ‘Triumph once more’.

His tools I can’t use for most part
His task quite different from my art;
But that cathartic moment there
Helps me to see how we compare:

A teacher and a pastor too
No use for missionary zoo.
He photo-lab in college put
To show how Gospel photos look.

His pulpit’s gone – to drama’s stage;
My life diverges from his ways;
But photo-tools he’d early seen
By me are used, and now they mean –

Far more to me than what he knew
Of words for songs, and stories too.
Communication’s tools today
Reach deep and wide, and let us say –

Our message here and round the world
In flash of net, as cultures swirl
Together, clashing, mixing here
In Canada, a need most clear.

His daughter, mom, with memory gone
Was there through tears and worship’s song
Twas Spirit mainly pulpit used
To speak into that mind confused:

She recollects her child-time world
Where father stood, as little girl;
Now stands her son, back in the fray
As he moves on a different way.

This change for me of way to go
Affirmed it was, tears told me so –
That scripture’s words now brought on tears
From story written back some years –

If novel written brings such life
To scripture’s words, then maybe right
I am to persevere, press through,
And publish them for others too.

Just like my poems, photographs –
To help move those who cry to laugh
Through times of tumult in their strife
So Johnson’s hope triumphs thier life.