Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: IMPOSSIBLE (09/05/19)
- TITLE: One Song
By Caryn Jacobs
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â€œUnder no circumstances does this company accept any staff member inflicting any form of harm on another employee. How can we move forward from this incident?â€
Pens tapped and paper shuffled.
â€œYusuf, I think this is more than behavioural,â€ Barry ventured. â€œHuang feels he would not be true to himself if he were silent on anti-communism remarks. Amber is engaging in risky political demonstrations fighting for Hong Kongâ€™s democracy. They clashed because of who they believe they are.â€
â€¨Yusuf could lean on Barryâ€™s seasoned judgement. But Barry was also intolerant of the self-assured attitudes of the millennials in the team.
â€œDo you think this needs a counselling pathway?â€ asked Yusuf.
â€œItâ€™s worth a try. Amberâ€™s activism in particular has alienated her from a number of the other staff - sheâ€™s too hot-headed to work with,â€ Barry replied.
â€œBoth Amber and Huang are out of line allowing their political agendas to interfere with their work. But they are people too, and valuable employees. How can we foster a culture change here to respecting differences and agreeing to disagree?â€
The managers shifted in their chairs. Yusuf sighed. The lines around his eyes bore the wisdom of life experience. This would be an uphill battle. People are people, he thought. It doesnâ€™t matter what country, age, beliefs or skin colour - people always find something to fight about. He looked forward to lunch time.
At noon, guitar case in hand, Yusuf left his office block through polished glass doors and stepped into the crisp winter air of Sydneyâ€™s business district. Crossing the traffic-heavy street, he reached the carved wooden doors of the old church visible from his office window. Welcomed by the aroma of beef and vegetable soup he crossed the hall, greeting people in shabby clothing seated around trestle tables, hugging bowls of steaming soup.
Yusuf pulled a chair over to his usual space at the corner of the room. Kim spotted him from behind the serving counter where she ladled soup and sent her two young children out bearing a flask of soup and fresh bread for Yusuf. To the girlsâ€™ delight, he produced ribbon wands for them in exchange.
Feeling at home as he always did in this place, Yusuf closed his eyes and began to pick at the guitar strings. As the sounds wove together, tension lifted from his shoulders. He was reminded that God was near, so very near and that He had been present with Yusuf all morning. Resting his soul in that place, words rose into song. What a friend I have â€¦ Jesus, Jesus, faithful friend.
Singing to the Creator evoked a sense of invitation. Others in the room felt it too. Those who had eaten their fill were reluctant to leave, and a few brought their chairs over to where Yusuf was playing, singing with him when they knew the words. Some watched from a distance. Pastor Frank saw Kiri draw near, and brought the cajon out. Her gentle percussion on the drum brought a connectedness to the symphony of worship converging with more and more voices.
As Yusufâ€™s heart conversed with God, the Holy Spirit highlighted to him the nationalities present. Kiriâ€™s Maori rhythm resonated with Jarrahâ€™s aboriginal roots. Azim was a refugee from Iraq sitting next to Sam who was Chinese. Sam, had invited his Malaysian neighbour to this place to find help. Many were born and bred here in Sydney. Yusuf himself was Australian, but from Lebanese descent. A Holy Voice whispered to Yusuf, â€œDo you see?â€
Yusufâ€™s gaze rested on Old Sanskrit. Alongside this wrinkled man with weather-beaten face, the two young girls twirled ribbons. Yusuf became aware of his designer suit and the smell of a well-worn jacket next to him; the olive skin of his hands and the rainbow of skin colours around him. He was seeing what they were singing in that moment: unconditional love, the saints joined as one. One unified song rising to sing of Jesus, the One who holds all things together.
Yusuf was overcome as Godâ€™s heart pressed on the centre of his being. Tears wet his cheeks - tears of revelation and joy. As Yusuf played on, love poured into every strum.
â€œYes I see, Lord. It is possible in You.â€
Revelation 7:9 (NLT)
After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.
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