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The Birdcage By Paul Taylor
The Elderly Pastor slowly walked up to the pulpit carrying in his right hand an old rusted birdcage that had seen its better days. Without explaining himself, or the birdcage he sat the cage on the podium, bowed his head and in a very reverent and humble manner uttered the following prayer.
“Lord ---you have seen reason for me to be here in the presence of your flock and to allow me one more opportunity to relay your message.---- Give me wisdom that I may convey the meaning of Heavenly Love from our Savior Jesus Christ,------ Amen.”
As he reached for his tattered and worn Bible, he encouraged the congregation to turn to the book of Matthew, chapter 27 beginning at verse 27 and reading through verse 31 He slowly and methodically began reading, putting his heart and soul into every word of the text.
27 “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. 28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. 29. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! 30. And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. 31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away ------------------ to be crucified.”
As the Old Pastor wiped a tear from his eye, he closed his bible and with a solemn look on his face, gazed out over the congregation, and began to speak.
”What if that were you, would you protest?Would you fight back or plead for mercy, knowing this was only a sample of what was to come; the crucifixion being the most brutal, wrenching painful ordeal ever dispensed against a human body? Yet Jesus spoke not a word in defense of himself, rather he showed only restraint, compassion, and love for his torturers. This was the ransom of Love which had to be paid.”
The Pastor paused briefly as though in deep thought then began speaking. ” Yesterday”, he began, in a thoughtful manner, “I was strolling through town in the late afternoon and I noticed this small lad of about 10 years old, walking towards me swinging this old rusted birdcage.” “Inside were 3 frightened and cold field birds.” “This lad was swinging the cage and skipping right along. I stopped him and asked, What you got there son?”
He looked up with squinted eyes and said, “OH just some old field birds I caught.”
“Well what are you going to do with them?”
“Oh I’m gonna have some fun with’em. I’m gonna tease’em, pull out their feathers and make um mean.”
I gazed down at the lad and asked,“Then what are you going to do with them?”
“Oh, I have some cats at home. They love birds. They’ll play with’em for little bit and them eat’em.”
I then asked the lad,”How much you want for them birds?”
He glanced up at me with a startled look and surprise on his face and exclaimed. “Mister, you don’t want them there birds, why they can’t sing and they ain’t even pretty. They ain’t no good for nothing.”
“How much?” I asked again The lad stood there looking up and probably thinking,” boy is he dumb or what? He wants to pay me for these old birds.”
“Ten dollars.” The lad shouted. “I reached in my pocket , retrieved a ten dollar bill and handed it to the lad as he uttered a quick “thanks!”, and was gone in a flash.”
“I picked up the rusted old bird cage and walked down through an alley to a large clearing where a few trees were standing.” “I sat the cage on the ground ,opened the rusted door ,tapped on the bars and the birds flew out; singing ,chirping and flying in and out of the trees.” “They were free at last. Freed from a certain cruel death, had I not intervened to rescue them.”
The old Pastor paused a moment as if to gather his thoughts, and as he looked out over the congregation seeing the apprehensive faces waiting for a slam dunk of the story. He began speaking with a deep forward voice,” Now you know the significance of the birdcage, and as Paul Harvey would say, Now the rest of the story.”
The congregation sat up at this point and all eyes and ears were on the old Pastor as be began to speak again in a serious tone of voice. “One day Satan came across Jesus . Satan was laughing, gloating, just jubilant over his accomplishment.” He had just come from the Garden of Eden.
“Yes, sir, I just caught the world full of people down there.” “ Set me trap, used bait I knew they couldn’t resist.” “Got’em all!!” Satan couldn’t contain himself from gloating and boasting, he was swelling with pride.
“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked
“Oh”, declared Satan, “ I’m gonna teach’em how to marry and divorce”. “How to hate how to cheat, steal, and lie.“ “How to gossip and spread rumors. How to create strife” “How to invent guns, bombs, and other deadly weapons to kill and maim each other; How to drink, smoke, and curse!” “Boy I’m gonna have fun with these people. I’ll have ‘em so confused and immoral, they’ll think Good is evil and Evil is good.”
Satan was bursting with pride.
“What are you going to do with them when you finish having your fun? “ Jesus asked.
“I’ll just kill’em” answered Satan.
“How much do you want for them?” asked Jesus?
Satan laughed. “Ha, you don’t want those people!! They ain’t no good. Why you’ll, take ’em and they’ll just hate you. They’ll spit on you, beat you, curse you. They’ll mock you, make fun of you and they’ll kill you.”
“How much? “ Jesus asked, again.
Satan looked at Jesus and sneered. “ALL YOUR BLOOD, ---------TEARS------ AND YOUR LIFE.”
Jesus looked at Satan and said, “DONE! Then he paid the price.
The old Pastor bowed his head; as tears ran down his cheek and with a crackling voice he offered this closing prayer; “O lord I thank you for taking my place on Calvary, I know I am not man enough to face the trials you faced for me;, Now I pray for strength and wisdom to face the trials that pale in comparison to the trials and sufferings you endured for me on CALVARY. Amen”
He picked up his birdcage as the pianist began softly playing “The Old Rugged Cross”, and slowly left the pulpit. With tears careening down his cheek he began making his way to the exit.
The congregation stood and began singing with conviction and tear stained faces .
Jesus endured the terrible torture which the Romans exerted on his body, without a wimper, so you and I could be freed from the grasp of sin, and receive the gift of eternal salvation offered to those willing to accept it and turn from their worldy sinful ways.
Today is the day of salvation.
Rev.11/19/12- 1/12/13 Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved PAUL L. TAYLOR -- NOTE: This story is based on a short anecdote from an unknown author.
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