“The Reverence Poem”
A Stranger stood by the old Church door,
His clothes were old and worn;
His shoes were scuffed and the soles were loose,
His coat was ragged and torn.
I paused as I saw him standing there,
His hair was thin and gray,
And I wondered, “Should I ask this man
To come with me to pray?”
So I went to his side and softly asked,
“Old man, what is your name?”
Then he answered me and turned around
And I noticed he was lame.
His foot was red and swollen
And I thought of the pain he bore,
But he said not a word of his worry or pain
As together we stepped through the door.
We sat in the back of the old white Church
And bowed our heads to pray,
But he rose after staying less than an hour,
Explaining he could not stay.
I quickly rose to follow my friend,
But when I reached the door
The man gone, He’d vanished from sight,
And I thought I would see him no more.
But there he was on the step of the Church
So I went to him and said,
“Old man, why can you linger not?”
And I watched as he bowed his head.
“This is a house of worship.
It’s God’s own house you say:
You teach that He is with you all,
That He listens while you pray.
“We love Thy House, O Lord,” you sing
In loud and joyous strains,
But His sweet spirit does not dwell
Where such irreverence reigns.
“Folks giggle, whisper, laugh and talk
In God’s own house of prayer,
And when the people act this way
His spirit is not there.”
He rose and left me all alone,
And I watched as he walked the road,
And realized he’d come to Church
To ease his heavy load.
But once again he’d left unhelped
His sorrow even more,
And I thought how right that man had been
As I listened at the door.
The noise and whispers from within
Now reached my opened ears,
And suddenly I realized that
I hadn’t listened in years.
I’ll never forget that way that I felt
As I stood at the door on that day
And listened, while unknown to them
Through irreverence they drove God away.
Since that day forth I’ve asked this prayer
And maybe you should too,
“Dear Father in Heaven, please help us all
To show more reverence to you.”