TITLE: A Symphony of Miracles Chapter 29 Connections 3/24/14
By Richard McCaw
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Dr. Merlin Edwards was a tall, brown-skinned gentleman, with a warm smile and white hair curled on either side of his bald head. He owned the cottage which we rented from him and held his chiropractic clinic in his large residence on the same premises. His wife was a short, bespectacled white lady, with auburn hair parted down the middle, who walked with a limp. “Doctor,” had nursed her back to health through chiropractic manipulations. He had two daughters from a previous marriage, Lucy, who lived with him and Marla, who lived next door. Lucy’s two children, Alex and Curlena, became our childhood playmates.
Red concrete steps led to the small porch of our cottage, left of the Edwards’ large residence. Our grandmother newly arrived from New York, was then living with us. Our cottage adjoined the maid’s quarters, where Benjy, the old gardener and handyman, lived. Late afternoons, Benjy could often be seen sitting by the back gate of the premises strumming an old guitar and singing ‘pop’ songs through ugly, cigar-stained teeth that smiled through his stubby, unshaven face.
In those days, with my mother’s recipe, I made marshmallows. I also grew marigolds and peanuts in our cottage garden and with a child’s saw, hammer and nails built a toy bed for my sister’s doll.
At home, after school, I buried myself in Hardy Boys’ mysteries and poetry books. I developed a taste for words and the thrill of being transported to other worlds through literature. Soon, I tried to write my own mystery novel. Every day I listened to “The Avengers,” a British mystery series, or “Superman,” and during the summer vacation, to “Doctor Paul,” a midday soap opera on the local radio station.
I often enjoyed swinging from a branch of a large lignum vitae tree near the doctor’s residence and singing ‘Your Kiss of Fire,’ one of the pop songs on the radio in those days.
Many a young man has been lured by his friends, who listen to the rhythm and beat of worthless songs that destroy the moral restraints of his early childhood. I could have taken that route. Or, like the unusual student at school, I could have pursued the fame and glory that follows the more intellectual, complicated music of the classical masters.
At twelve-and-a-half, I had been accepted to attend Wolmers’ Boys’ School, and soon joined the Junior Choir. One day with my classmates we wrote a drama which we later performed at the Ward theatre in downtown Kingston. Costumed for the night in a real police uniform, I had only the last line of the play to say. Next day, students called out to me, jokingly, “Corpie Jones!”
Inspired by the adulation of my classmates, I could have pursued a theatrical career. Was there a guiding hand shaping the events of my life, or were we just robots walking around? Was life just a gamble?
I was definitely not more righteous than my schoolmates, but principles of honesty taught by my mother, and the Word of God had become a restraining influence.
Not so for a young adult I met years later. The pressing need for money led to forging checks, and prison which etched its horrible memories. I remember my mother often repeating, “Be sure your sin will find you out!”
In the Hebrew Bible, among the many names and titles given to God to describe Him is the awesome name ‘Jehovah Tsidkenu’, the Lord our Righteousness. Isaiah declares, “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
One day a rich young man asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” He had no idea that he was standing before the Savior of the world, but merely regarded Him as a good and great teacher.
Jesus had to correct him. “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God!”
By the end of the discussion, that young man discovered how sinful and materialistic he was.
Jesus had told him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
Unable to surrender everything in order to work without distraction in the kingdom of God, he turned away with a dark brow, for he had great possessions. What a great challenge Jesus had given him!
Later on, at the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, two other men were hanging on either side of Him as He hung on the cross. Both knew that they were sinners. One rejected Jesus Christ. The other realized that he had messed up his life with wicked ways. Turning to Jesus, he prayed, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
In the midst of his physical pain and agony of soul, Jesus turned to him and promised,“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” That is the hope of every lost soul, who turns away from sin and trusts Christ completely.
I had failed God’s perfect standard of right living. Jesus by his life had clearly demonstrated honesty, integrity and purity of heart. I was nowhere near that! I was lost, like the thief on the cross, like all humanity and desperately needed a deliverer! But did I know just how sinful I really was?
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