The Mirror


There is something about Christians that I can never fully grasp-at least not on this side of heaven. A part of me understands it but this pales in comparison to the other that does not. Some things are foreign to me. A grown man crying is one of them. This is not just crying out of grief but before a crowd like say students in high school. I vividly remember that Sunday morning when this preacher (who was a teacher in the school) was trying to elaborate on God’s love. Whatever got into him must have been immensely powerful. How else can you make sense of a grown man bursting into tears right in the middle of a sermon-his own sermon? My lower jaw dropped to the floor. I was astounded. How could he ever command respect in class again? As I was pondering over the shame that he had wrought upon himself, he, on the other hand, was on different page altogether. He could not care less. Ironically, he was overjoyed that God would choose to use him in such a grand manner. I do not know about you but a man who does not care about what others think of him is mysteriously alluring. He struck a cord- a cord that would later find harmony in an unlikely company. For the time being, my heart wandered.

Nightclubs were a favourite. Spending my energy on the dance floor was never a waste. I took pleasure in every moment. I was good and I knew it. This knowledge mixed with a little bit of charm, melted the hearts of some lasses and hanging out with blokes who could pass for modern-day-Romeos, was a big plus. There was an aura of romance about us and we took advantage of it. I was having the time of my life. “This must be the very summit of human pleasure,” I naively thought to myself, “It cannot get better than this”. However, this was very short-lived. One moment you are at an all time high and the next in pitch-blackness. Somehow, this wears the soul. These roller-coaster rides were not fun anymore. Sure, I wanted to be where all the action was, but it was not on the dance floor any more. A Power from without had opened a gap in my heart and it gnawed me. My soul was restless. It was at this time that a good friend hinted that if I was to dance then at least dance to what I believe in. That very statement was engraved in my mind for some good time to come. From then on, I became unconsciously sensitive to lyrics in a song. Several times, I found myself swaying to the beats but that inner voice would constantly question the moral integrity of the lyrics. I began opting out of very contagious tunes just because my conscious could not allow me to “get jiggy with it”. I believe it was this Power from without that kindled a flickering flame in my heart. Oh, how this flame desired to be fanned into blazing flames. It was then that I became incessantly drawn to church.

The church folk were different. I enjoyed dancing. However, most a times I never had the courage to go at it forthrightly. Hence, I borrowed some from the Dutch. It was a habit to spend a few hours in a local pub before hitting the club. In contrast, the church folk got into song and dance spontaneously. They did not have to pass by “mama pima”. It was as if they were wired to do this sort of thing. They lifted their hands. They clapped. They cried. They laughed. They jumped. They did the merry-go-rounds in perfect unity-none trying to outdo the other because it seemed, they gained nothing in trying to do so. In the club, the last man standing won enviable accolades from the blokes and suggesting glances from the lasses. I did not have to be a rocket scientist to know that these church folks had something that I did not have. To say that they intrigued me is an understatement-I envied them. Whatever it was they were on, I wanted in. It was this longing to be in that drove me to a music concert dubbed “Jesus Festival”. Now, I have had some memorable dancing experiences before, but on that day, I had one that was out of this world. It felt right. It was non-competitive as in the club. It was not out to lure some lass across the dance floor. If my mother had been there, she would pleasantly nod in approval. My feet shuffled; my shoulders swayed; my hands clapped; my hips wiggled and best of all, my smile lingered. The cord that had been struck by that teacher way back in high school, had found harmony in an unlikely company. Indeed St. Augustine was right-our souls are restless until they find rest in the Lord. On that glorious day, it did. I was in. I became a Christian.

Admittedly, I have a long way off from understanding myself. However, I now have the privilege of a mirror that tells me the truth-the Bible. “Mirror mirror on the wall…who is the fairest of them all? No. “Mirror mirror on the wall, who am I?” Most a times I get answers like, “You are but a poor wretched worm in need of God’s grace.” Always I get, “You are my child and I love you very much.” Whatever the answers…

“Now I see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;
then I shall see face to face.
Now I know in part,
then I shall know fully.
Even as I am fully known.”

Reflections

18/08/10 marks 27 years of my existence on this earth. It was then that my mother bore me. 10/07/2010 marked 6 years of my living on this earth. It was then that my Lord met me. In both years, I have a gift that some do not possess-the gift of time. I can choose to spend it wisely or foolishly. In the former, I enjoy the benefits. In the latter, I suffer the consequences. I am no longer a child. The privilege of another cleaning up my mess or that of being coerced to make a beneficial choice is long gone. I believe I have reached that time in a man’s life when he yearns to take his place in the issues that affect humanity. I also believe Ralph Waldo Emerson observed this in every man’s life and penned it so candidly… “There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better for worse as his portion; that though the wise universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried”.

Martin Luther King Jr. experienced this power when the righteous defiance of Rosa Parks gave him a platform that fanned his gift of speaking into flames. It is in pursuing this cause that his life demanded examination for as Plato noted, a life that is unexamined is not worth living. Men examined him and he won much accolade from a majority. However, if he did not take time to examine himself before the Lord, then his life was a waste. As surely as men will examine our lives, we ought to examine ourselves before the Lord. It is a much greater honour to receive praise from the lips of God than from those of men. It is in this regard that we ought to have “pit stops” – times and seasons when we break off from the hustle and bustle, and reflect on our dear lives. Every 10th of July offers me this period of reflection. This year, the most sensible thing I can do is to renew my vows to the Lord…

The true Lover of my soul;
Who picked me from the pit of sin,
A helpless worm in a dark hole,
And crowned me with love and compassion.

The one whose face I long to behold,
Whose embrace I long to relish,
Whom I long to be found in His fold,
And hear those words I cherish,

…”well done good and faithful servant”.

To Him I vow to be humble and to fear,
For therein lie wealth, honour and life.

To Him I vow to serve faithfully with all my heart,
To not turn away after useless Idols,
For they can do me no good nor can they rescue me
Only Christ could rescue me from the clutch of sin
And usher me into the Father’s glorious presence.

Now my life has meaning and purpose.

To Him I commit these vows.
He who calls me is faithful
He will sanctify me through and through
He began this good work in me
He will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Amen.