Monday, July 2, 2012

The Stranger




There was a child who lived with his grandfather by the side of a busy road. One evening the grandfather and this child were outside listening to the meadowlark singing her clear, sweet song as she perched on the fence post. Suddenly they heard a commotion up the road. A crazy beggar man, with a tilt to his head and a glaze in his eye, was lurching up the lane. All the children of the town were chasing him, throwing sticks and stones. Even the dogs were nipping at his heels. As the beggar man passed the house, the grandfather could see his humiliation beneath a sheen of desperation on the man's face. The child, however, saw a chance to have some fun and joined his friends. Too old to move very fast, the grandfather could only call out to his grandson to come back. Above all the commotion, the meadowlark’s song could be heard sweet and clear. The child broke from the group and ran back to his grandfather. Together they looked at the beggar man lurching and stumbling down the road chased by children and dogs.

The grandfather, eyes glistening with tears, knelt down and wrapped his arms around the child. The child dropped the rock in his hand and touched the tear that rolled down his grandfather's cheek.

"Grandpa", he said, "what's wrong?"

"Ah, laddie," said grandfather, "would you be knowin' who that crazy beggar man was?"

"No, Grandpa," said the child.

"Well I'm not sure as I know either, lad. But did you hear the lark? The lark was singing on the fence post, she was. And do you know what she was singing? There's words to her song lad, and never forget them, for she was singin:

"Often, often, often, walks the Christ in the stranger's clothes.

Often walks the Christ in the stranger's clothes."

Two tears struck the ground, one shed from the face of the grandfather, the other from the eyes of the boy, as together they watched the King of Glory stumble down the road. Often walks the Christ in the stranger's clothes.