Down In The Sandbox

“A voice went out from Eden. All great music was the fallen echo of that voice.”

Charles Williams

Why can’t the child come out to play? His wondering heart has left this world and gone away until the cyclic call comes to bring him around again. Through forest glens and babbling brook, he left for a journey but forgot to look to see who might be counting on his arrival home. Ah, but the lad was already there, divining the path to wonder, that is, to apotheosis. Being a boy, he could not know what it all meant, but he knew treasure when he found it.

This is how the treasure revealed itself (too fresh and new to be understood as a person): Most commonplace occurrences are devalued for what they are – the means of revelation. “Let’s go play with our toys, for the best that could be as been wiped away, and I don’t know what else to do.” Play ensued at the public sandbox and with friends who were also similarly unaware of what was to come.

This is what eventuated: they all became bored, despairing of even any good that might come their way; nothing could restore the value of play now. “What can we do to do?”, a timid soul uttered almost in a whisper. But a strange, yet oddly familiar voice called out to them: “Come and play over here in my sandbox!” “Why not?” they all concurred. “Besides we all need to stretch our legs.” And so they went to the new sandbox inhabited by the voice.

Can you believe what then happened as the children began to play? With every shovel of sand, with every note sung of their wordless tune that only now began to hang in the air as if it had always been there, and with every pail filled with sand, the Voice (now with a capital ‘V’) came into being, and not very different from any of the children. And they all began to know this One, the one they thought had disappeared for good.

Among the gang that day were Rocky and JZ. Their dads were professional fishermen, and so they were the best of pals. Being the more impetuous one, Rocky responded to the Voice first, but JZ – a slightly more lucid young man, the voice’s beloved friend above all friends said what they were all afraid to think, “It’s the One!”

Before anyone could think, Rocky clambered up and out of the sandbox, tearing his pants in the process, and there he stood before the One: barefoot, in his tighty whities, with only his unbuttoned shirt on. Oh, and a huge grin. Well, Rocky’s sudden departure out of the sandbox led to the rest of the gang following . It was like being part of something huge; something you couldn’t explain, but knew you had to be part of.

“Hey you guys want some P,B & J sandwiches?” The One was always a cool customer; he was never put out of place or rushed. Whatever he did was as if it was planned from before anything came into being. He stood there, with all of his closest friends, glowing just like he was some kind of shining star. The rest, by contrast were, well, you know – all looked like they had been playing in a sandbox, which was exactly what they’d been doing.

Rocky knew he just had to say something. “OK, sure Jay; Wow! You sure surprised us by just showing up out of nowhere.” Without missing a beat, Jay said, “Hey, you guys, I see you brought some sandwiches, too, and some drinks ( generic brand fruit drink pouches. JZ was not the only one ashamed of their poor quality. After all his dad was a well-to-do fisherman. What would the others say when they saw what he brought?). So, everyone got comfy in the nearest sandbox, the biggest one in the whole playground.

But Rocky, after initial rush of emotion began feeling his onslaught of guilt and shame. After all, it was only days ago that he – out of the pressure of the moment when the local rival gang of thugs put their hands on Jay, beating him up and leaving him for dead – He denied ever knowing Jay and for 3 times!!! Rocky kept wondering, “Will Jay be mad at me? I’m afraid he’ll kick me out of the group.” And so, it was not long before Jay turned to Rocky and asked:

“Rocky are you my pal?”

Rocky said, “You know it Jay!”

“Then take care of your friends”, said Jay.

After mere moments, Jay asked Rocky: “Are you my pal?”

Flustered by the repeated question, Rocky stammered out: “Of course I am, Jay!”

“Take care of your friends,” was the simple reply.

A couple of minutes later, Jay turned to Rocky, and with the most direct, literal poise repeated, “Rocky, do you love me?”

That last question tore right through Rocky’s young boy’s heart, compelling him to say with no small amount of frustration, “Jay, you know I love you!” The others knew Rocky was being super serious; he even had mustard dripping down his chin so caught up was he with Jay’s intensive questioning

Jay said, “Then lead and care for all our friends. When you are older, there will be a time when you want to do one thing, but you will be prevented from doing so, and others will take you to a place you will not wish to go.” Jay said this so as to make it clear to Rocky how his life will show his love for Jay and for all their friends and soon-to-be friends.

If your imagination is broad enough, you will know the story I’ve told as a simple parable of forgiveness and life. We really can’t have one without the other. No one person can invent truth for themselves; one must experience it as it is known in the person of Jesus Christ, who lives eternally, and waits for us all to find Him before the ‘playground’ is closed eternally.

It was not long afterward that Jay left his band of followers to return to live with His Father. He promised Rocky, JZ, and the rest (us too!) that He would return and take us to be with Him forever in His Dad’s place. I hear it’s something else – room for everyone!

And while we can read the Scriptures His followers wrote years after His disappearance, our own lives have become, in a way, books to be read and savored, as long as He lives within us. Best of all, when we arrive to our Father’s place, we shall be like Him (Jay), for we will see Him as He really is:   Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2)

No books in the Kingdom to come but the ones we, ourselves are writing with the help of God’s grace. After all, He didn’t come to found a publishing house; He came to build a Church , which is the Family of God. As St. Paul ( former Thug) wrote: “That family is the church of the living God, the support and foundation of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15).

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