Guest blog: The Flow of God by Gwyn Dooley
God’s Perfect Love by Gwyn Dooley
One night in a dream I was kneeling to pray
When I asked the Lord to show me a more perfect way
Lord, I said, I’m hurting; I was forsaken by a friend
And I know I must forgive him, who against me did sin
But it sees almost impossible, an overwhelming task
Show me the way, dear Lord, this I humbly ask
My hope is in you, O’ God, grant me this I pray
Place me on an eagle’s wing and let me fly away
To soar across the sky above in search of your perfect love
So far above this earthly plane, where only a Father’s love can reign
Guide me with your loving hand and take me to the place you stand
Where you gaze upon the hearts of men, who struggle and toil in a world of sin
Grant me a view from your lofty height, where nothing is hid from your keen sight
So the Lord did answer and I went flying through the air
Soaring on that eagle’s wing, not a worry or a care
Up and up I thought we would go but instead we went down, to the earth below
On and on we traveled to a far, distant land
To a place quite ordinary, just desert and sand
What grand thing did I come here to see?
The eagle took me closer and sat me on a tree
In the sky above me was a black, roaring cloud
And on the ground below me was a hissing, angry crowd
I was feeling uneasy and wanted to go home
When somewhere to the left of me I heard a pitiful moan
I saw a man, bloody and beaten, on the ground struggling to rise
When Roman soldiers kicked him and spat into his eyes
“Hail! King of the Jews!” they bowed to him and said
“My, what a splendid crown that rests upon your head!”
The crowd jeered and laughed at a King battered and torn
Upon whose sagging head lay a prickly crown of thorns
I watched as they led him up that steep craggy hill
And I stood up in wonder, for he went of his own free will
“Run!” I cried. “Fight back! What is wrong with you?”
But he said, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”
He looked just like a lamb taken up to slaughter that day
He did not open his mouth. No, not a word did he say
I watched as he was lifted up, to the sky above
There displayed on a cursed cross was God’s own perfect love
I’d found what I was looking for, hanging on a cross
Now everything I had gained in life I count it all as loss
Jesus said, “You can’t love God if you hate your brother
So as I have loved you, then you too should love one another.
Above all things have love, for it covers a multitude of sins
For greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends!”
By: Gwyn Dooley
Guest blog: The Playhouse by Gwyn Warren
Grandma and Dad were deeply religious people with very strict rules about what was and was not acceptable. He was far stricter than she was. We were to remain as quiet as possible on Sundays. We could spend the day reading our Bible story books Daddy had given us the Christmas before he died; but, we could not laugh or play noisy games on Sunday. If we wanted to play like normal children, we had to get far enough away from the house that Dad couldn’t hear us. So we usually went to our cousins’ house to play about 3/10 mile from our grandparents.
Jo and I were convinced that Dad didn’t like us very much. Grandma was always teasing us, laughing with us, etc., while he rarely ever smiled. We usually went to church with our cousins on Sunday morning, came back to Grandma’s to eat dinner, and then went to our cousins’ house to play in the afternoon.
Church was another big shock for us. We had gone to “town” churches all our lives where ministers spoke in a soft even voice, and you could understand every word of the sermon. Country churches were just the opposite. When the preacher (a new word for us) delivered his sermon, he got so carried away, and so loud, it was hard to decipher anything he said. His face also got really red like we used to see Daddy’s become right before he had a heart attack. Country preachers scared us.
One weekend, Mother, Jo and I went to Uncle Jim’s house for the weekend. Uncle Jim was Mother’s brother and they had a son, Richard, who was a year older than I with whom we played. When we got back to our grandparent’s house on Sunday night, it was already dark, so we just went in and went to bed.
Monday morning, while we ate breakfast, Dad told us to come outside after we finished with the dishes because he had something to show us. I doubt we had ever finished the dishes as fast as we did that morning.
When we went outside, Dad showed us a playhouse he had built for us while we were gone. He was a master wood craftsman and our playhouse was a dream. From the outside it looked just like a real house complete with front porch, sized just for two little girls. There was room inside for our doll beds, table and chairs and anything else we could round up to “furnish” our little house. Our cousins, Sue and Edmond, would come up and play with us in our little house.
Toward the end of summer, we had grown tired of playing “house” and wanted to play something different. After much discussion, we decided to play “church”. I was “elected” to be the preacher and Jo, Sue and Edmond were the congregation. We started out by singing songs we had learned in their church. Then came time for the sermon.
I first led my parishioners in prayer. So far, so good. Then I opened my Bible story book to one of my favorite stories. I started out reading in a normal tone, then raised my voice for a few sentences. I repeated this procedure several times while my “congregation” shouted “Amen!” and I even heard one “Preach it, Sister!”, which would never have been said in a country church because women weren’t allowed to speak in the church. If they had something that needed to be said, they conveyed it to their husband, and if he felt it had merit, he would speak to the congregation. I even pounded my pulpit and used a washcloth to “wipe sweat from my brow”.
Just as I was really getting “into the spirit” as they called it, a shadow covered the door. Dad looked at me with as stern a face as I had ever seen and said, “That will be enough, little lady.” With that, he left, no doubt to tell Grandma what a fine sermon I had been delivering. Wrong.
Apparently he walked around to the back of the playhouse where there was no window. After some discussion, we decided to resume our “church service”. Again, I gave it my all. And again, that shadow covered the doorway. This time, he told Sue and Edmond to go home, and for Jo and me to go in the house. When we told Grandma what had happened, she laughed till tears were streaming down her cheeks. Dad didn’t think it was a bit funny.
The next morning, when we went to our playhouse, there was a padlock on the door. Dad told us we were forbidden to play in there again. We protested that all our toys were in there and he said, “No they’re not. They are on the back porch.” Sure enough, we checked and everything that had been in our playhouse was in a big wooden crate on the back porch.
The following weekend, we again went to Uncle Jim’s to spend the weekend, coming home late Sunday night. After finishing the breakfast dishes on Monday morning, we went outside to ask Dad if we could play in our playhouse if we promised not to play church any more. To our total astonishment, while we were gone, he had completely dismantled our playhouse. Except for the fact the ground was bare where it had been, one would never have known a playhouse had ever been there.
In retrospect, I often wondered if Dad worried that he might have thwarted my ambitions to be a minister of the gospel. Nah. Like I told you earlier, women weren’t allowed to speak in the church. I’m sure if one had started to preach the walls would have crumbled.
DISCLAIMER: This little story is not to mock country churches and I hope I haven’t offended anyone. Jo and I were 7 and 8 years old respectively and this was a whole new world to us.