Thursday, February 07, 2013

All For Good

This is a story that comes out of India--one of my favorites and in my talks through the years, it has always been my most requested to be re-told.
During the times of the Maharishis, when India was ruled as small feudal land principalities-there was a certain Maharishi who ruled his kingdom fairly and treated his servants quite well.
His palace was known far and wide. And his most trusted man-servant was a Christian. In fact, he was the only Christian in the whole palace, and the only one the  Maharishi knew.
That in itself was a bit of an irritation, and had it not been for the work-ethic and the trust and integrity that was such a part of his life, the Maharishi would have gotten rid of him many times over.

The irritation was not the fact that the servant was Christian, but the way in which this belief affected his every thought and deed.  You see because he was most trusted servant, he had access to every area of the Maharishis life which meant that there was no escape. On days that he was worried, the servant would be there with his gentle encouragement-"All for Good, Master, All for Good."
When he was sad, here would come an unsolicited, "All for Good, Master, All for Good."
When he did not feel well, along with all the excellent ministration to his needs came another, "All for Good, Master, All for Good."

As much as he protested, scolded, pouted, and even outright forbid him from expressing this opinion, the servant kept on unfazed and unrelenting with his very unsolicited opinion-"All for Good, Master, All for Good." And as I said, as much as it irritated the Maharishi, his many assets and talents outweighed the irritation.

And then a particularly unrelenting Bad Spell came upon the principality:
Longer than usual Monsoon-"All for Good, Master, All for Good."
A following Drought that would not end-"All for Good, Master, All for Good."
Cattle dying-"All for Good, Master, All for Good."
Crop failure-"All for Good, Master, All for Good."
Rampant disease-"All for Good, Master, All for Good."
And then-the Maharishi is out on the Veranda taking in all this devastating and destruction and he can find no peace.  He decides to whittle and try to calm his mind--put effort into his hobby and distract himself from his Woes.  But, as so often happens when one is distracted and upset with knife in hand--as his mind tumbles on every thought, he misses the mark on the wood, his hand slips, and he cuts off his Index finger on this left hand.  Blood pouring, his finger laying on the ground, and such immense pain-and here is the trusted servant, applying pressure and a bandage and spouting, "All for Good, Master, All for Good."

Enough, enough--how can this be--perhaps that is some truth to all the other events and happenings, but how can he possibly spouting such drivel at a time and during an injury like this?
Guards-Guards-the Maharishi calls and he has the faithful servant carried away to the dungeon. He must be punished, he must be taught a lesson.

Out of sight, out of mind.  And as the well to do know much better than those who work paycheck to paycheck--there is a blessing in a change of scenery--sometimes one needs nothing more than to see life through the Rear View Mirror for awhile so to speak.  Servant in the dungeon being taught a lesson, the Maharishi decides to join the next Caravan and get the perspective of taking time and trip.  In those days and in that region one never traveled alone--it was far to dangerous.  There was safety in numbers. In those days there were many bands of marauders. The only safe way to travel was in large groups-Caravan's which offered much more protection.

It so happened that there was a particularly fierce band of marauders who had a specialty of hitting even the Caravan's. And while raping and pillaging this particular Caravan, they noticed the Maharishis tent and decided to take him as a human sacrifice to their goddess, Cali. They bound him, and gaged him, and rolled him up in the fine hand knotted rug in this tent and took him back for sacrifice.  Now the goddess Cali is many armed and very ferocious in appearance-the goddess of Destruction. But, what you may not know is that pagans take their acts of worship to their gods much more serious than the regular Christian.
And in the frenzy of their worship, as they brought the rug into the midst of the bonfire and flung it open at the very feet of Cali, and as they all came towards the Maharishi with knives drawn to offer him as sacrifice-the Maharishi did what any sane and fearful man would do--he help his hands up to face to offer what protection to himself he could--and there in the glow of the fire the pagans began to shriek and tear their robes and pull at their hair--for here was a 9 fingered man-deformed and not worthy of sacrifice to their goddess. In all the wailing and anguish, the Maharishi was able to escape and he ran and ran till he got home, and in his mind he could finally see--an Epiphany--the Christian servant was Right-had he not cut off his finger, he would be dead, and dead from a most vile and horrific death.
He was wrong-he had wronged his servant.  He must make amends.  Before he would even allow himself to be cleaned up from his journey, from his ordeal, from his great escape-he called for his servant.

As the servant was presented to him, dirty and unkempt, lost weight due to privation, the Master is overwhelmed by his Wrongness and beings to profusely cry out over his failing, over his wrongness-and with a sweeping smile, the servant interrupts-"All for Good, Master, All for Good." And with everything that has happened the Maharishi cannot help himself and explodes--"Enough, Stop-I am wrong and you must allow me to make amends, to apologize, and to make right my great wrong--and there is no way you can say that what I have done as a willful wrong against you could be Good-Stop it Now."

With growing wide-faced grin, the Christian servant laughs ever so gently and says, Yes Master--here you see.  If you had not been angry and put me away in the dungeon, and you had gone on the pilgrimage who would be with you? Me, and who would be asleep at the foot of your bed and on the very rug you were rolled up in? Me. and who would have been taken from your tent and flung at the foot of the dread goddess? Me, and when I went to shield my face from my murderers, what would they have seen? Look Master-and holding up ten fingers he says-you see, "All for Good, Master, All for Good."

Let us remember and take to heart and proclaim with full heart and belief in good times and in bad times-when we can See it and in the Darkness of Faith-God is Good All the Time.

Music is and should be an important part of our lives.  In fact I do not trust people who absolutely have no use for music-never listen to it, can live without it-do not trust them.
Something is seriously wrong with a person who is not moved by some kind of music.

Here are three secular songs that are all written and sung as a prayer--maybe some more than others, but still a prayer to God Above with sincere petitions, questions, hopes and dreams.
Take them time to enjoy them.

Susan Boyle singing Hallelujah
Now I've heard there was a secret chord-That David played, and it pleased the Lord 
But you don't really care for music, do you? It goes like this-The fourth, the fifth-The minor fall, the major lift-The baffled king composing Hallelujah 

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof-Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you 
She tied you-To a kitchen chair-She broke your throne, and she cut your hair-And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah 

Baby I have been here before-I know this room, I've walked this floor-I used to live alone before I knew you. 
I've seen your flag on the marble arch-Love is not a victory march-It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah 
Hallelujah, Hallelujah-Hallelujah, Hallelujah 

There was a time you let me know-What's really going on below-But now you never show it to me, do you? 
And remember when I moved in you-The holy dove was moving too-And every breath we drew was Hallelujah 
Hallelujah, Hallelujah-Hallelujah, Hallelujah 

You say I took the name in vain-I don't even know the name-But if I did, well really, what's it to you? 
There's a blaze of light-In every word-It doesn't matter which you heard -The holy or the broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah-Hallelujah, Hallelujah 

I did my best, it wasn't much-I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch 
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you 
And even though-It all went wrong-I'll stand before the Lord of Song-With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah 

Hallelujah, Hallelujah-Hallelujah, Hallelujah 
Hallelujah, Hallelujah-Hallelujah, Hallelujah 
Hallelujah, Hallelujah-Hallelujah, Hallelujah 
Hallelujah, Hallelujah-Hallelujah, Hallelujah 

George Michael and Queen singing Somebody to Love
Can anybody find me somebody to love? 
Each morning I get up I die a little-Can barely stand on my feet 
Take a look in the mirror and cry-Lord what you're doing to me 
I have spent all my years in believing you-But I just can't get no relief, Lord! 
Somebody, somebody-Can anybody find me somebody to love? 

I work hard every day of my life-I work till I ache my bones 
At the end I take home my hard earned pay all on my own - 
I get down on my knees-And I start to pray 
Till the tears run down from my eyes-Lord - somebody - somebody 
Can anybody find me - somebody to love? (He works hard) 
Everyday - I try and I try and I try -But everybody wants to put me down 
They say I'm goin' crazy-They say I got a lot of water in my brain 
Got no common sense-I got nobody left to believe 
Yeah - yeah yeah yeah 
Oh Lord-Somebody - somebody-Can anybody find me somebody to love? 

Got no feel, I got no rhythm-I just keep losing my beat 
I'm ok, I'm alright-Ain't gonna face no defeat-I just gotta get out of this prison cell-Someday I'm gonna be free, Lord! 
Find me somebody to love-Can anybody find me somebody to love? 

Bring Him Home
Jean Valjean:
God on high-Hear my prayer
In my need-You have always been there
He is young-He's afraid
Let him rest-Heaven blessed.
Bring him home-Bring him home-Bring him home.

He's like the son I might have known-If God had granted me a son.
The summers die-One by one
How soon they fly-On and on
And I am old-And will be gone.
Bring him peace-Bring him joy-He is young-He is only a boy

You can take-You can give
Let him be-Let him live
If I die, let me die-Let him live
Bring him home-Bring him home-Bring him home.