Posts Tagged ‘parable of the prodigal son’

A Friend in Need

Master Josh riding a donkey through the mountainous region was dispirited and downcast. He was in a bandit country. However much as he wanted to take his mind off ‘evil of the age’ he could not. It stuck to him like a piece of chewing gum.
“Evil was in being born with a golden spoon in my mouth,” he recalled his tutor Bombassino. ‘Oh he hated me and envied also because I had everything I wanted.” Suddenly he said,”So when he speaks of evil he means something else.” “Evil is in the world outside!” he recalled his nurse Katrina. “Perhaps she was afraid of leading her own life. So she sought refuge in Sans-Souci. So much for her idea of evil.” He would have gone on thinking thus but some shadowy figures loomed menacingly in front of him. He looked about and saw there were none to help him in case of need. Suddenly their shrouds were dropped revealing their weapons. They were armed to the teeth and they were for a bite! Master Josh came across bandits whom he had only heard about in stories. Now they stood in his path squarely,- and deadly too!
One figure yelled and our hero merely shuddered,” this must be evil of this age out to cut my throat!” In response three ruffians jumped over him and pinned him to the ground. “We have hit the jackpot,” one screamed. Master Josh could only feel hands groping for his purse strings. They had found what they looked for. Gold pieces clanked about and cheery whistle of one bandit as if in signal to the other two. “Where they laughing?” he asked in fright,”because of gold?” Even as he was trussed up he murmured their laughter was soft.”… but it cuts deep like a scream!” Master Josh cried,”Alas my life ends here.” Before he fainted he heard that the bandits had only that morning got another victim. “Was he loaded Oh boy!” he heard another voice,”like this spring chicken!”
When he opened his eyes he saw he was entombed in a cave. There lay another victim in shadows. He was also chained up and he sighed deeply as he had no hope of ever getting out alive. There stood by his side a plate of food untouched. Josh glanced at the black bread and the jug of wine and his stomach revolted. Hearing that the prisoner looked up. Even in that dim light it was unmistakable. The victim was none other than ‘Blunder’ Buss the banker! He muttered,”the chieftain is new on the job but his knife cuts just the same!”Suddenly he saw whom he spoke to. His eyes showed some life and he said with feeling ,”I owe thanks to you. Those physicians took good care of me. But it was for nothing I suppose.”He fell again into gloom.
Soon the robber baron came in. Master Josh was slumped at the spot he was left by his captors. He sighed as if the presence of the banker merely added to his woes. He had kept his head bowed thinking of sad thoughts. He wondered how it fared with his father and Nimrud. His nostalgia even as it like a spark flew up, the scraping of boots sent a sudden chill. He had company!
Before the young prisoner could shudder the voice boomed,”Cheer up!” He added breezily,”I don’t go on cutting heads if I can help it.”Master Josh shuddered. It was uncanny he recognized the voice! It belonged to Gabriel who was once his dear friend. “This was turning out into a reunion of sorts!” he pinched himself. It wasn’t a bad dream!
Meanwhile the bandit realized whom he had in his power. “Oh Josh, I didn’t think of ever doing harm to you!” He himself loosened his ropes. “As to the other his head shall fall before the night is out.” Poor banker! he just fainted. Master Josh explained how he had been lately discharged from a looney house. “OK I shall cut his head just the same!”he said with a laugh looking askance at the banker. He almost slumped in fright. “Think of that poor man, Gabriel!”
“His case is sad. But I shall cut just the same!”Gabriel said with a wink, ”with tears in my eyes. I shall also keen like a banshee.”
“I will pay to the last kopek!”the hapless banker blubbered without daring to look up, ”I own a Bank or two!”
If the banker expected some sympathy he was greeted in response with an abrasive guffaw! The robber baron said, ”In that case I shall hire some musicians to entertain the crowd. You shall have the most wonderful send-off!”, The banker didn’t hear him since he had fainted. The chief clapped hands and two of his goons came. He ordered them to release the fellow and treat him well.
Gabriel took Master Josh by the hand and led him to his own chambers. They sat down to eat and after refreshing themselves they talked things over. He narrated the circumstances that led him to his life in crime. He could understand. Sans- Souci affected him also; and he faced evil of the age in his way. Gabby explained he held no grudge against his father. “For me you come above everything else.” He sighed,”For your sake I shall suffer any loss if that be unavoidable.” Master Josh asked a favor and before he explained what he had in mind the robber baron expansively assured that it would be done. Josh had wanted him to release the banker. He in so many words explained the circumstance in which he got to know him. The bandit reeled in shock but he somehow managed,”Josh, you don’t know what a sacrifice I am making by sparing him?”
“ Please for my sake.” An uneasy pause. ”I shall make it your worthwhile.” The bandit chief thought over it and laughed it away. “That is alright. I ought not be so greedy I suppose. I have a long career ahead.” Then he shrugged off,”Or a rope rudely knotted but very effective.”
Master Josh could see he was really desperate. Before he could broach on the topic any further he changed the subject. Gabby explained what news he had of Sans-Souci. He continued,” The same economic disaster has hit Sans-Souci. Your father had incurred large debts in order to modernize Sans-Souci. Now he finds it difficult to make payments. Old age hasn’t dealt kindly with him.” Master Josh couldn’t help but cry a little. Partly for causing him sorrow. He expressed his desire to see him directly. “I am at your service,” his friend Gabby said with feeling.
Later in the day Master Josh could talk things over with the banker who was now in a cheerful frame of mind,”Yet again Master Joshua,”he leant over and kissed the hand,”you have saved my life once again.” He pressed him to let him help in whatever way. He said he would see Sans-Souci himself so he might lend whatever help that would be necessary. So Gabriel had already talked things over with the banker. ‘Who else but a friend would walk an extra mile for you?’ A bandit, a cut-throat nevertheless. He mused wryly he owed his life to people of all hues and persuasions.
Next morning Master Josh and the banker were on the road towards Sans-Souci. He mused,”Evil of the age is not a cut-throat or some parasites. If they could be sent by providence, evil must be something else.

Evil Of The Age

The banker on the way to Sans-Souci talked freely and treated him as though he was one of the family. He told of his family and of the bank that he had inherited from his father. He asked why he wasn’t married. Master Josh truthfully replied he never had thought of it. “You are young and have a good heart.” The banker averred. He was sure the young man was ready for raising a family. In fact he was sure his daughter would make him happy. Master Josh mulled over the idea and said,”We shall discuss over it when we reach Sans-Souci.”
‘Blunder’ Buss was impressed with the stately mansion that stood still as a swan surrounded by so many jackdaws. “Those hovels are an eye sore.” the banker commented casually. Master Josh winced and said,”Those belong to the tenants.” Master Josh knew Gabriel as a bandit chief was a telling commentary on Sans-Souci. He was also equally involved in keeping such conditions longer. His good deeds didn’t change the situation but thought it was a good time as any to address his responsibility as best as possible.
When they arrived travel weary Nimrud came in haste and called him aside,”How dare you insult us? Your leaving made our father a wreck and made me take the whole yoke myself. Now your coming will upset him and incovenience me…”
“We were riding for days and we would like to rest awhile before we talk further. Once again joining up with the banker who quietly asked who he was he replied,”My elder brother. Never mind. It is my father I want you to meet.”’Blunder’Buss nodded.
Master Josh guided his companion into the wing where he had his own apartments. He called his attendants to look after the needs of his companion. Later the banker came and said how impressed he was. The banker had never seen such luxury.
“Unlimited credit,” he chortled,”the bank can offer.” Josh asked him to talk things over with his father. While they waited for Father Adonai they saw Nimrud leave in a huff.
They also saw his father coming towards him. And they could see he was still sore to complain. His father told him in a firm voice to behave himself. Nimrud came back and waited for his father. He stood a little away from them. He looked away as if was still angry with his younger brother. Both noticed how his father was upset. Master Josh saw he was also much older than he imagined.
You see Father Adonai? He is still forbidding and gargantuan in size. His hairs are all white and as soon as he strides into the room he announces as if to no one in particular,” I have cause for annoyances. Some tenants were supposed to meet me. But they stood me up.”
He looks at his firstborn and his annoyance is still visible. “Nimrud I am sorry you feel so beefed up.” Suddenly he freezes. He apologizes and says,”I didn’t know we had company.” He walks to his younger son and hugs him. “My dear son you made an old man happy!” See how he changes his tone, and speaks warmly to the guest? Also note how elated he is to note his younger son is safe and sound? See pride in his eyes?
Shh He has to be polite to his guest. He tells in so many words he is impressed to have him under his roof. They speak in low tones. Heard what the Lord just said?
He says,”It is for my son to worry about. I have since last week stopped racking my head over trifles.”
“Trifles, father?” Nimrud is incensed. Look how he scowls at his brother and blurts out,” He left you in a lurch when you needed him most.” Nimrud was certain if it weren’t for him Sans-Souci would have been in shambles. “I am not ashamed to tell it to the whole world!” he said with ill-concealed temper. He wants to leave the table but his father shouts him to stop. Before such a thundering voice that Nimrud is shaken.
You understand don’t you, why they sit at their places and eat silently? Yes the family has a problem. See Nimrud doesn’t look up from his plate. Doesn’t that speak volumes?
Father Adonai slowly warms up and chats pleasantly.
He even tells his guest why his son stepped out of his care. He laughs low and says,”It was for him to find out. Evil of the age, it has stopped worrying me.”
Master Josh perks up. See how his youthful face brightens up? “It has stopped worrying me also.”His father looks perplexed. His son says in a measured tone,” Evil is in the way we are connected. Even whom we condemn as bad has in him the means to add something to us. Those whom we look up as good have in them meanness, cruelty and so many other vices. Only time and circumstances will tell.”
See how the old Adonai looks pleased. “That’s my boy!” his eyes seem to tell. The banker looks impressed. See how Nimrud receives it? He dares not look up. He still is furious. That makes it difficult for him to eat. Let us leave him with his problems.
Let us leave a happy family to deal with their problems in their own manner.
The End

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Sowing Wild Oats

The City had a strange name. Master Joshua vaguely understood what it meant in Armenian. When translated it went thus: ’Anything Goes’ City. It stood by a river and promenades that led along its banks were full of people. What strange dresses they wore! Stranger still was their dialect, peculiar to those who lived long in a city, and who lived especially without any known occupation. Obviously they lived by their wits, Joshua thought.
As he drove through the city in a handsome carriage drawn by four horses he knew he had never set foot in a city as strange as Anything Goes City. While passing through the commercial part of the city the people were out in the open. Like ants in groups and seeking out others and invariably they enquired ‘Morat! Morat!’ “Darn Morat, my ears have been a-tingling with it!” He tapped the driver to enquire. He stopped and gave a sheepish smile to run to a kiosk. The board read thus: “Buying on margin- Ensure your piece of happiness!” The newcomer didn’t fully grasp the meaning but something clicked. It sold something. The driver waved his sheaf of papers in air in exultation; he kissed the bunch as it was his talisman. Having pocketed it he settled himself once again on driver’s seat. Before he took his whip to goad his animals he said, ”Morat master! Buy, Buy! Buy!”

The out-of-towner could catch his excitement. Buying was a way of life. Those who couldn’t pay in full put down an initial payment on stocks as the driver did. At every corner he saw similar kiosks in red and green and similar crowds who jostled one another. Each thought nothing but his or her piece of happiness.
Only when he stopped at the City Hall to register his particulars and receive his permit for residence he realized the full gravity of the situation. The motto which was inscribed under the seal of the City was a superscription, ‘Everybody ought to be rich!” Perhaps City elders thought Latin and Greek gave money grubbing the adequate gravitas it was also repeated in these languages. Thinking it over he smiled for the first time since he took leave of his father.
He was in the right place.
Even as he resumed his drive he could only thank himself he had at last found the right place. A city that gave a piece of happiness. To rich and poor alike.
Sans-Souci stifled him. And now he was among real people he thought.
He was happy.
Hardly he had moved into a villa that was fully furnished with rich tapestries, bric-à- brac, paintings by old masters, he received invitations from the 400 who were the shakers and movers of the city. So naturally he had to throw a party to show them the house he chose to live in. It was sumptuous but compared to his father’s mansion it was merely adequate. He was not for letting his wealth speak for him. All that he required was a human touch. It seemed to have touched the guests without exception that they instantly were on first name basis. “Josh let me know if there is anything I can do.” ”Another put it eloquently, ”we are at your service.” They knew he made the City by the river famous by his presence.
Soon after two or three fellows who claimed themselves to be the leading lights of The Smart Set dropped in to enquire. They were well received. So often thereafter they called on him. Matt, Mike and Jan were well groomed and knew all the right people whose names they were sure to drop every now and then. They had a bagful of jokes to amuse him on any occasion. It was very often. Before Josh could gather his wits about they had settled themselves under his roof. Josh had no idea how to handle them. He had his own life to lead. But to cut them dead with a snub wasn’t his style. So smiled politely at their jokes. He left them to fend for themselves whenever he went out. They didn’t mind.
Matt arranged his entertainments and hired musicians and theatre people. Jan provided exotic items that he averred no man of taste could do without. Mike was the one who carried tales and prompted whom to cultivate in order to get things done. Josh wasn’t sure he was well into entertainment. ‘Doing good to those in need is good enough’, he said. How they laughed at that!
The trio proved themselves in so many ways how useful they were. They ran with alacrity all his errands and did various services short of polishing his shoes.( He had his own valet, cook and major-domo not to mention gardeners and a porter who carried a brace of pistols and sported a fierce moustache that was waxed stiff for effect.) Had someone said his household was beginning to look more like a miniature version of Sans-Souci he would have been surprised. It was not what he intended but the unlimited credit he carried in his person needed an outlet. That was all.
At any given day he had some twenty guests to dine and Matt, Mike and Jan stayed on. The trio also gave company whenever he was alone. On such occasions they took to educate the master of the house to the ways of the world. Josh was certain he was only concerned with the ways of his establishment. “The world can take care of itself,”he had said.
One day the mayor, who had in the meantime become very friendly to him, asked him in strict confidence why he had those good-for-nothings around. He said those three were nothing but parasites. Josh could understand. He had something of a suspicion about them, which he had stifled as soon as it peeked. He thought he was being unfair and callous. Now the worshipful Mayor also observed the same. ‘There must be then something to it,’ he was convinced. Checking into their circumstances he found even the clothes they wore were hired from a shop that catered to the Smart set. As for the financial status it was almost nil. To his dismay he found they were daily one step ahead of the bailiff. As the worshipful mayor had hinted they lived indeed desperately. They avoided creditors all around by hiding in his villa.
“This is a sad business!” Josh felt they were more sinned against than sinning. They were poor and naturally they had latched onto him for succour. His tender heart melted. He called the three and gave each a sizable sum to spend for their own good. “Get a job, or live as simple as you can,” his kindly heart prompted these words. Before sending them off he didn’t forget to admonish,“Do some good so you haven’t lived in vain.’
They were loath to depart but Master Josh was adamant. They finally went off.

The Bottom Falls Out

Josh viewed Anything Goes City as his own. He was on nodding acquaintances with all. The mayor made much of him, so did the common man. The shoeshine boy who plied his trade around the corner daily waited for him to appear. He could see him as he stepped out of his villa. Every morning dressed to the nines by his own valet, Master Josh stopped by to get his shoes polished. He did it to give custom. It was obvious. “May you prosper with my thaler.” he said always at the end. The boy as smart as they come, living by his wits knew how to make some easy money. It was so common.
Just the same. The denizens were in awe of Master Josh: he was the only one who did not dabble in stocks.
Banks, which nursed the fiscal health of the nation sent their experts to remind Master Josh: invest in common stocks while the prices were low. Or regret.” “It is a bullish market!” they all said. Banker ‘Blunder’ Buss brought sheafs of papers with a lot of statistics to prove his point. He was certain, as some 857 pundits who also shared his opinion, that the stock prices clearly showed the fiscal health of a nation. Master Josh shook his head. The banker couldn’t believe he could be so naïve. “The nation is marching permanently on a plateau of prosperity!” he said a little exasperated at his transigence,”Join up or go bust!” Master Josh still held his ground.
He wasn’t there to make a fast buck but face ‘the evil of the age’ in his own way. It was his article of faith. He would never let Sans- Souci cripple his common touch he had vowed on the day he turned fourteen. He had never departed from it. Before he took any action he asked himself: “Do I really benefit from it? Secondly: ‘does it further quality of life around me? Thirdly: ‘ does my action give disproportionate value to things than to man? If so I ought to revise my actions till a balance is achieved. Lastly: am I, with my actions, justifying my place among mankind?” It was his set of rules and it had given him no little trouble to put it down on paper. On their final leave taking he had shown it to his dear father who read it. (There were tears in his eyes. He wanted to believe it were the tears of joy. Didn’t he bless him and hug him fervently thereafter?) City Anything Goes certainly tempted him. But he couldn’t go against his own beliefs. On looking at their craze for making a killing at stocks he thought he was looking at so many billionaires who existed only on paper. No substance to them, he had intuitively guessed.
Applying his own rules he saw he stood to benefit by making profits but for what? To keep a foolish charade longer? He had listened to those who sponged on him. While they ate off his plates and drank his wine they said things that made him sit up and notice. He saw all too clearly what was to follow. Inflated stock prices! Insubstantial billionaires! With a sinking heart he saw the curl of a tsunami growing so high before it broke.
Master Josh felt the shudder. One day it came. A rumble it was. A few investors dumped their shares. Stock prices swung wildly. “Oh such hiccups are natural,” said the banker who was certain the problem would correct itself. The mayor rallied some merchant princes to keep the prices under control. That helped for the time being.
Hardly four years since he had made the city by the river his home. Prior to the morning he had for days shut himself in his library fearful of the news that he knew would come. He heard it again. Loud and clear.
It was a Tuesday. Six months later to the day since the first hiccup struck its ominous warning. The bottom gave out. Everywhere people cried,”Sell! Sell!” On one day alone so many stocks were dumped and in the process they discovered they lost even shirts on their backs. In short some 50 billion thalers disappeared. With it went the sanity of the city.
Not a kopek he had invested or lost. But just the same. How could he sit there happy when people outside were doing unspeakable things to themselves? It was sheer madness romping the streets! It entered from broad avenues into the warren of homes. First a wave of suicides: it had its effect. People read the news and shuddered over the headlines: shocking yes! I knew so-and so. Tragic yes. What these didn’t spell out were: Families destroyed, children orphaned and so many dreams snuffed out in its swirling gaiety.
He had not lost his wealth. Yet for all that he was chained to a corpse! Against his will. He had bought his villa dirt cheap because it had no takers for long. The city thought investing in real estate was a dead investment. Especially when so much money each day could be made playing stocks. Now with so many houses being put on the market for paying off debts Master Josh thought he lived in the midst of a charnel house! So dismal he felt.
It was how he viewed the Black Tuesday even after a week: Dismal and horrible!
In the days to come the full horror of what happened was brought home clearer. While Master Josh had fasted and let out all his sorrow till he felt clean and strong to face the world life went on outside. Its mad frenzy outside his villa unstoppable it was. He didn’t have to go out. But he heard of terrible stories just the same. Many of his household had their loved ones come to ruin. In their tragedy he felt wounded again and again.
‘Life must go on’, as the wise men have often said made him now take matters into his hand. Two weeks later he got back into his daily routine.
He enquired after many whom he knew from that part of the city. Those tradespeople and craftsmen who always gave him special consideration lived in the vicinity. He never had to attend to the needs of his household so he hardly knew them. ( Hajmal the butcher had always sent his best cuts; so did the grocer. In their service he could sense their kindness, an impression almost palpable. He felt reassured always in their service.) He trudged along the lanes to look them up. But they were gone. So was the tailor who had his shop in another part. Next to the furrier. They all had mysteriously vanished!
One day he went to the place where he had his shoe polished. By force of habit, I guess. The boy was long gone and yet someone had taken his place. Upon closer inspection he shuddered. Instead of the regular, sat there ‘Blunder’ Buss, the banker with a foolish smile. In his baby pink and pudgy hands he held a brush awkwardly. He was now to polish his shoes! Master Josh burst into tears while the banker blinked on as if he had completely lost his marbles. ”Then came the bears,” he went on mumbling.
Josh ran inside and instructed his personal secretary to see that the banker was immediately attended to. He did as was told. He reported that evening to explain how things fared with the hapless banker. He aso made a note of instructions that his master gave and promised to attend them first thing in the morning.
Before he turned in Master Josh reviewed his actions: he knew his altruism didn’t benefit himself but all the other rules were met. If the banker was well again he would cease to be a problem for his family; and a banker, he thus reasoned, could get back into swim of things once more. Perhaps having learnt his lesson he would be more useful to the nation. So he didn’t regret in the least for what he had to spend.
The city was no longer the same. A regular war zone it was. No wrecks or smouldering ruins of buildings stood there but the people looked shell-shocked and the air he breathed had the stench of a serious malaise. He could feel it. It reeked of disappointment and misery.
One morning Josh was getting ready for stepping out. To his consternation there were two strangers coming in. Matt and Jan looked so different. His face showed a touch of irritation. He thought he had seen the last of them for good.
Matt and Jan were dressed in uniforms of civil guards and they greeted with a sombre look and explained they bought their commission with part of the funds he gave them. One was a colonel and the other was a rank immediately below.
“Why civil guards?” he asked as he led them into the house. Having settled themselves they accepted coffee while they took out cigars to smoke. Master Josh motioned his servant to open the window. Sheepishly apologizing they put their cigars away unlit. They talked about this and that till Mike came in. Mike came all flustered and he silently passed a few slips of notes to the other two. They looked at each other and the host knew there was something serious afoot.
In the end Jan took up the thread, ”Why civil guards? I ought to go back in time a little.” He spoke of racial tensions that had plagued the city for a long time. It went merely underground while people made money. With the last economic crisis, he explained the ugly tensions were out with a vengeance. With thousand tongues of drawn swords. Looking steadily at Master Josh said,”The people want to blame some one for the Depression. They have found whom to blame. You, my friend and benefactor, you are in deep trouble.”
“Preposterous! I am completely innocent.”
“Certainly!” they all said with their hands on their hearts,”but still you are an outsider and a foreigner.” Josh stood up and faced them,” Now are you going to tell me that I also belong to the wrong race?”
They nodded. They spoke of the benefits they got from their contacts. “Being a colonel in the Civil Guards I can help you to some extent. But from the reports our Interior Minister expects the worst. A blood bath is in the cards.” Jan asked Master Josh to look at the reports he held in his hands.” I had to use all my persuasive skills to get hold of them. The second is a list of names on the hit list: your name stands somewhere in the first five I believe.” Master Josh studied the list and the notes written by the Interior Minister himself. If he was sure of a blood bath it had to be true. His face went white.
They urged him to save himself. He knew he merely stayed home soul searching while the racial hatred was having a free run. He had thereby overlooked his own interests! Master Josh knew they were serious and they did put their neck out to do him a good turn. But ‘to pack up and go’ was a bit over the top.
His villa with all its appurtenances stood for something. It showed to all who lived in. A villa where every name in the List of 400 vied each other to get in. His style and immense wealth were proverbial. The movers and shakers of the city sought him out before the City Council took any important decision. They had flattered him and they showerd presents and sent invitations to honor them with his presence. So young! Yet noteworthy he had become in a matter of six years. He was inexperienced he thought yet they sought him out for advice.
After the threesome had left he turned to the 400 for advice. He sent his personal secretary to each and the door was, everytime, shut in his face.
It didn’t take much for him to understand why. Before the fury of Xenophobia finally burst and could come in his direction he fled. Matt, Jan and Mike were there to arrange his escape. Seeing him out of harm’s way Mike said, ”Providence took a hand to save you. We were only Its instrument.” Master Josh nodded.
(Posted earlier: A Parable Retold of Oct.17,3008)

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A Happy Family

A happy family is like a watch. You look at a watch and what does it tell you? It tells time of course. Similarly look at a happy family. Does it not tell you something?
This is the story of such a happy family.
You see that huge figure in working clothes walking in easy stride? There he turns to walk through the path shaded by trees. The figure is none other than Father Adonai.
All that land you see out there belongs to him. There are orchards for fruit trees, acres and acres of land for different sort of crops and fields for grazing. He owns forestlands and lakes filled with fishes that swim therein. He is keeping them safe so one day he may give it all to his children.
He is the head of a happy family.
As a father to his children, so are his field hands to him. See how field hands salute him with easy familiarity? He is happy with them. There are thousands of them working at any part of this land. From one end to the other his land sweeps your eye to the horizon. You can walk for miles and see the horizon still stays somewhere in middle of his demesne. And didn’t you notice how green are his fields? A sea of emerald green swaying in wind does need constant care. He knows his field hands work hard and he is happy with them.

He as the landlord sets an example. He takes no chance with his land. He is out there in all kinds of weather to see his land yield its best. In order to achieve this he knows how important are those who work there. He daily keeps himself out in the open and puts himself in their midst. He takes care of all that happens in his land. It is as vast as its yield is awesome. Its wealth in a way shows he has set a good example.
His wealth has been created because of his care for his land and people.
See now how cheerful he is?
The master is cheerful since he has done with his task for the morning. As he walks under the shade he is happy because he knows he has a home to go to. No sooner than he has done the morning’s work he turns towards his home.
Come rain or sunshine he goes home around noon. Like the minute hand of a watch he walks in one direction along the shaded path. It leads him to his home. His home is where he has reared his two sons. He smiles at the thought. Only as happy and a proud father can.
He cheerfully waves to some tenants who wait at a distance. They are smallholders. They work on some parcel of land belonging to him. Each year the Lord of Sans-Souci sets how much each tenant should give him. It is his land and whatever he says they are willing to abide by. So Father Adonai can always speak easily with them. But that noon he smiles but waves them away indicating that he has no time at that moment.
Everyone in Sans-Souci knows the rule. The Lord is not to be troubled while he has lunch with his children. Lunch is always a family occasion. It is the only time when he sat down with his dear sons and heard them talk. During lunch they may talk over anything. Anything under the sun they shall speak warmed by the warmth of their father. The field hands know that for sure. So do the smallholders who are sorry they didn’t come to meet him when he had time for them.
Father Adonai cannot wait to go in and he turns the corner where that plane tree stands. See how he freezes? There he sees something that makes him feel hot and cold by turns. And doesn’t that face take on some frightful aspect? Come closer and I shall let you into a secret.
Every happy family has it. The secret is what makes a family special, and it must be treated as such by all members of the family. Whatever is their secret causes him double as if in pain; and anger such as only a father can feel.
Don’t expect me to reveal all. (No one can feel interest in all the twists and turns of a family secret as the members themselves.) I shall therefore have to use my utmost discretion. On that condition follow me; we are intruding into a family drama.
There the Lord of Sans-Souci strides into his mansion.
Isn’t it strange to see a man who is one moment so light hearted and on the next thrown into a black mood? Yes. There must be a mystery, you will agree. In order to clear the air I must tell you what went before.
Yes, the only thing Adonai loved above his land was his family. Having lost his wife so early he had none to love but his two sons. Nimrud was the older boy and Josh the younger. Their education was in the hands of a clutch of tutors who taught things dear to the heart of the master and lord of Sans-Souci. As a result the sons knew the world outside was of no consequence for their wellbeing.
In addition to their tutors Father Adonai also taught them many things himself. These practical lessons were taught whenever he took them for rides. More often as they grew older. How lovingly he told them of what he intended to give them! Whatever they looked at belonged to them. Who would not be impressed? He stopped every now and then, to show different soils that underpinned the wealth of Sans-Souci. He would explain how each helped to cultivate a certain crop better than the other. “The trick is in understanding the soil and making it yield a bumper crop.” Such visits helped them learn of the secret of their enormous wealth.
Another time the father took them through the fields and showed the channels he had cut extensively so every part of his ground could benefit. His irrigation systems worked well, he said. He then took them where he had built large reservoirs to hold water from a distant river. “ So the river flows straight into our tanks?” Josh was beginning to understand a little more clearly. Another time passing along a chain of hills he wanted to know if the hills also belonged to them. Father Adonai shook himself with laughter, ”Of course we own them.” Master Josh was only twelve and he was beginning to ask questions. It pleased him greatly. He showed promise.
Next day during the lunch he asked his father, ”Papa did we plant the hills?” ”No silly!” retorted Nimrud and explained, ”Papa got them along with the land. Am I not correct Papa?” Father Adonai nodded and asked them to eat what was set on their plates.” You ought to thank you get a full plate anytime.” The children bowed their heads in reverence to him. ”Yes Papa. There is no denying.” He said kindly that they should enjoy all the bounty that was given without let-up. Nimrud nudged his younger brother to tell him,” your secret is safe with me. Only that you should not disappoint our dear father.” Their father raised his eyebrows to holler, ”Secret eh?” He asked with his forefinger wagging, ”Come, there is a dear son and between us no secrets!” Nimrud nudged his sibling to come clean and he said, ”Papa I called on Ole’ Lazarus, this morning.”
“That lazy goose,” cried the father, ”you see how wretched his condition is? Only he is to blame for his misery!” Josh fell silent and Nimrud looked at his father helplessly, ”Josh can be sometimes a bit annoying. Father just give him time.” Father softly urged his younger son to perk up and finish his plate. Josh said he couldn’t eat thinking there were such misery around. “Between him and you. Why such a difference, I wonder?”
Father Adonai was about to speak. Nimrud was sure it served him right. “To go gallivanting around places that one was sure to get lost.”
”I only wandered within the walls of Sans-Souci!” he defended himself. “ I am surprised, Josh!” Nimrud perorated with gestures suitable to the high-mindedness he always displayed. Even Father Adonai thought it was uncalled for. “Nimrud, interrupting me before I am finished is rude.” He heard them and nodded his head as though they might make up their differences and both did.
Quickly they were chattering away as though nothing had happened. ‘Children are so resilient,’ he mused happily.
They often argued between themselves. They also made up as often.
Father Adonai was also used to their curiosity. Often they peppered him with questions and it did not make him feel irritated. Instead he felt buoyant. He had two children who used their heads. He was certain of one thing. They were completely different- as opposite as black was from white.
Nimrud when he became fourteen knew how he wanted to please his father. On that day after opening the presents he got from all he hugged his father and said, ”Your work takes too much effort from you. Oh father I intend to make it all ‘very scientific.”
“Being very scientific and all that is fine.” Adonai wanted to know how it helped him. Nimrud answered,” I shall make every field hand work double time. Twice as much yield it will give you. I assure you it would be scientific.” “Good.” Father Adonai laughed heartily and he felt happy.
Days passed.
One noon while the father came for lunch Nimrud came running to him to whisper, ”Tomorrow is Josh’s birthday. You haven’t forgotten it. Have you, Papa?” Hugging him he shook his head. “We will surprise him tomorrow,” he whispered into his son’s ears. Joshua his younger son meanwhile came into the house leading a friend of his. Nimrud could see it from where he was. Hurriedly he left his father.
Josh did not know what was the matter. His brother stood there red all over. Oh boy was he angry! Nimrud having come in a fluster roughly pulled him aside and said how cross he was with him. He then blurted out, ”You are a silly brat. Don’t you know how papa is particular about lunch?” Knowing they were alone he explained it was the only time the three had an intimate moment to chat and catch up with family matters. He also said he had no business to bring Gabby to lunch. ‘You could be thoughtless,- so stupid to deserve a knock on the head.”
Josh answered it was all right but he didn’t understand why Gabriel could not be with him. “He is my best friend. And Papa wouldn’t mind. I am sure.” He was ready to vouch for his good behaviour. Having failed to smoothen his brother’s temper Josh took the matter directly with his father who assured him that he didn’t mind it all.
In fact he was happy that Josh had his heart in the right place. Gabby wasn’t one whom Nimrud would have ever kept as a companion. He was the son of a tenant farmer. Nimrud especially disliked him because his father did not do as he was told. Whoever upset his father was no friend of his. Nimrud thought his father was entirely in the right to send off one who failed to pay his dues often. Nimrud didn’t think much of his son.
Father Adonai saw his older son was particular of whom he chose as friends. ‘Only those who were in similar circumstances as he’ as he once explained to his father, ’so I bring reverence to your name and position.’ But Joshua was so different in his outlook. He looked at Gabriel and cared for him not because of his father. He let his father to deal with his own. His friend treated him like a friend and nothing more he needed to know. And as for title and honor, he treated them as trifles. Lord Adonai couldn’t understand why. But he had a tender and warm heart that satisfied his father. “Let him,” muttered the Lord of Sans-Souci,” and learn from experience.”

(To be Cont’d)

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“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven (Matt.6:10).”

Jesus taught his disciples to pray and the above mentioned quote is taken from that short prayer which we know as the Lord’s Prayer. One interesting feature of prayer is in how not to pray. “…When you pray, use not vain repetitions, do as the heathens do.” So we are not to recite name of God hundred or thousand times. Neither do we manufacture by our own cleverness names each emphasizing an aspect of his Power and Wisdom nor imagine we are past praying. What is our power and wisdom? Shall not our Maker know of what worth it all amounts to? So a right standing with God is so simple as the prayer Jesus taught us. Even before we make petition for our failing health or sickness in the family, ‘Your Father knoweth what things you have need of, before you ask him.’ So the Lord’s Prayer is not meant as petitions but to be in the right spirit and to keep the contact with our Father as you do on earth. Prayer interceding for needs of others and our own needs are special and such ability to continue in prayer is a gift. The Lord’s Prayer however is to keep the right standing with God.
The elder brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk.15:11-32)would not come in because he held resentment against his Father. “He(elder son) was angry, and would not go in.” Is not our difficulty to pray, is on account of our failings than of God? The elder son as his custom was went from the field straight home to his father. On one day he is told his brother had been found and he is home. He was angry with his brother who had come having wasted all. The problem with the elder son lay in his own sense of propriety than anything else. (His self-righteousness was not from God but his own. It gave him an idea how a bad son should be taken to task by the parent for getting out of the line. Self-righteousness is such it shall not tell the truth that his father has the right to love his son no matter what. So the elder son was in the wrong for other reasons than the wrong the lost son was guilty of. It is what one tells the man has a mote n his eye while he misses the beam right in his own.)
Our Father in heaven has the sovereign right to give gifts to all liberally or deny; and the parable is intended to illustrate ‘There is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repenteth (Lk.15:10)’.

A child of God reveals his closeness to God in his communion with God. “Pray without ceasing (1 Thess:5:17). Paul prayed for believers and for their steadfastness. “I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.(1 Thess.5:23). When we pray first and foremost consider it as a cherished moment where each one is in an intimate moment with ‘our Father which art in heaven.’ Celebrating such a moment is what every Christian should seek as a privilege and a gift of love. Lastly I shall quote here a passage to show whatever we do or whatever others do to us for good or bad shall have it noted in heaven as well. It is a warning not to despise meek and the weak in terms of material terms.’Little ones’ are not only in terms of age or size but the vulnerable who can easily be driven to the wall. “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do aways behold the face of my Father which is in heaven (Matt.18:10).” It shall be clear to anyone that heaven is in context of the earth and nothing good we ever do for the glory of our Lord Savior shall be forgotten. It is a memorial in heaven.

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ProdSon13-1.30 draft

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