A Testimony for CHRISTMAS

There are those who view mankind as just another mammal species in God’s handiwork. I don’t.

Holden Beach

He walked the shore, the sandy shore,
The breakers crashing with a roar,
And wondered as he searched the sea
Why Heaven, hell, or earth must be.
And as he waded through the surf,
His toes engaging miry turf,
He wondered still of Heaven, hell,
And if, indeed, they did indwell
The cosmic scene ordained by God -
Or, if, indeed, there was a God.
He mused aloud, “The earth I see,
Its plants, its creatures, soil and sea,
But even these give no clear sign
That God exists - His form define.”
And then he thought, “But, what of me?
I can control some things I see,
Yet, since I cannot these create,
I must defer to higher state.
And since that higher state at will
Can create things...and life instill,
That higher state is God, of course -
Of all the universe, the force.
But Heaven, hell, or end of time,
To these three things, no reason, rhyme,
Since none of these is known to me,
Since none of these is seen to be,
Since none of these is smelled or heard,
Since each of these seems quite absurd.”
But, as he walked, he spied a bird
Upon the sand…no longer heard,

And later saw a fish long dead
Where it had washed from clear sea-bed.
He then remarked, “Yes, all things die,
The creature, vine, the leaf, and I.
Each has beginning…certainly -
Each has an ending…plain to see.”
He ambled farther down the beach
On toward the end he soon would reach
And asked himself, “Do fish know love,
Or birds feel fear of clouds above?
Do trees know pity, leaves know care,
Or creatures have the grace to share?
Did the beginner have a plan
For merely woman, merely man,
Were all things else designed to be
Sustainer of humanity?”

At beach’s end, he turned around
And started back on solid ground
And pondered, “Since all things must die,
There must not be a reason why
The death of me is different
From any death that God has meant.”
But, then he pondered yet some more,
Not death this time, not as before;
No, this time life was his concern
As he endeavored to discern
If his life might be different
From other lives that God has meant.
He looked at flora, fauna, too,
And deemed that neither one could do
The things that could be done by him -
Indeed, existed just for him.

“If this be true,” he then inferred,
“That creatures all...the fish, the bird,
Exist for succor of mankind,
Then, I am special in God’s mind.”
With that in mind, he then took note
Of distant, distant, sea-borne boat,
And saw the mast by gaff-beam crossed
As it made way, though tempest-tossed,
And then recalled what sailors know,
That cross thus made, though gale winds blow,
Supports the sturdy sail required
To bring the crew to berth desired,
Where, though the sail be cast aside,
Once shore is made...and warm fireside,
Its work has been completely done,
With boat and crew in harbor won.
He walked the shore, the sandy shore,
The breakers crashing with a roar,
Remembered gaff-beam, mast, and sail -
The cross and cloth that would not fail.
He pondered all that God conceived -
The earth, the creatures, seas that heaved,
Beginnings, endings, Heaven, hell -
In vain, of course, he knew quite well…

He could not know Creator’s mind,
Few answers could he hope to find,
But sensed that only for mankind
Were gaff-beam, mast, and sail designed.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark