Touring a Valley Town on Fire, by Eben
fire bells sound grave alarum;
Conflagration attacks our town,
leveling it right to the ground.
In these war-zones red and hot
fight the flames in which we’re caught;
Seek God with your whole hearts now,
far beyond what some avow.
Their Fire Department down-sized, out-phased;
Someone shouts, “Where is the Mayor?
The dude we voted in last year!”
There he goes! He's peddling down
East Main and--homeward bound?
In the heat, cold, and the rain
he rides his bike for obscure gain.
Is it cans? cardboard? string?
Tattered, odd, he’s after something.
One can only make a guess,
but for sure he’s MAYOR OF LESS.
This town of his is burning fast,
its better days are long since past;
Vicious thugs are now its lords,
they rampage everywhere in hordes.
It’s LESS that creates empty brains,
It’s LESS that hands them crop and reins;
and LESS that tells them, ‘Now, go forth!”
when they can’t figure south from north.
It’s LESS that builds a Street of Dreams
when poverty churns out black streams;
It’s LESS when murder stalks the streets--
malefactors on their beats.
It’s LESS when filth comes served with glitz,
gutters of the movie blitz;
it’s LESS when churches are so few,
and stand half empty, pew on pew.
It’s LESS when Christ is told “Go home
to Nazareth, and no more roam!
The schools, courts, all places public
are reserved by our republic!
“You may name most anyone
except the Name of Christ the Son;
Buddha and Mohammed, yes!
But proclaim Christ and you’ve transgressed!
“Don’t you see our town’s now free?
Church and state full separate be?
This is what our Founders dreamt,
for which their lives and fortunes spent.”
They’ve hustled Jesus to the door
and told Him, “Go! Return no more;
In closets, yes, You may go hide,
but take no public role outside.
“The First Amendment is OUR God,
break it and you’ll feel the rod!
We won’t have Christ in daily life,
We opt instead for mayhem, strife.
“Prince of Peace’? We’ve heard it all;
How nice, a Christmas baby doll!
But grown to kingship, Lord of Earth?
We scarcely can suppress our mirth!”
But look, Mayor Two, he’ll save the day,
surely this man knows the way;
There is no one who’s quite like him,
he tours the Valley, rim to rim.
To the curb, then back he goes!
--see-saw with a runny nose.
His clothes are weathered to his frame,
a better past is his domain.
Good man, he’s our MAYOR OF MORE,
What does it matter his smarts tore
on what is going on today?
He rules a saner yesterday.
Yesterday when standards stood
high and based on common good;
Yesterday when students reached
for goals now despised and impeached.
“Love your country, serve her well,
like the patriots who fell
in battles for our liberty,
giving all, so we live free.”
Yesterday were honesty,
honor, truth, and loyalty;
Yesterday the Golden Rule,
today the never returned tool.
Yesterday the well-done work,
today the slipshod, get-by jerk;
Yesterday the honest till,
today the padded, pumped-up bill.
Yesterday the fair rent charge,
today extortion, by and large;
Yesterday the low land tax,
today pay up or get the ax!
Yesterday tap water free,
today the meter, less quality;
Yesterday few rich, few poor,
today many, many more.
Yesterday the prayer in schools,
today the asphalt jungle rules;
Yesterday the modest virgin,
today the teen-aged, free- love woman.
Yesterday the unlocked door,
today alarms, as for a war;
Yesterday the prison term,
today no sentence holds up firm.
Yesterday crimes seldom paid;
today huge fortunes drug-rat made;
Yesterday safe, quiet blocks;
today thieves steal you down to socks.
Yesterday the public servant,
today the haughty, high- paid tyrant;
Yesterday the good doc’s visit,
today the tortured wait and sit.
Yesterday one lawyer, two,
today a swarm, no end in view;
Yesterday, parental discipline,
Yesterday the man and wife,
today the transient sexualite;
Yesterday role models clear,
today a hopeless, tangled blur...
Pressed back and back is poor MORE’s fate,
as long as “experts” block his gate;
our past expunged, they’ve seized control.
All record changed, they’ve won the poll.
“THIS is the way that things must go
-- based on only what WE know;
If you think different, you’re dead,
our ranks are marshalled, head to head:
“Lawyers, judges, news wonk crew,
governors, Dual-Presidents too,
the courts, both local and supreme
, the troops--they do precisely what we deem.”
Bishops, educators, and--so it goes,
all America burned down by foes
who champion a strange new thing,
unheard of, like a birdless wing.
They think that, Christless, it will fly,
a theory that they can’t let lie;
“Cut all ties to right and wrong--
shackles that held sway too long!
Heaven, Hell, that we think fair;
No one must be told ‘Obey!
This is right, not your own way!’
“No, we’ve progressed beyond that.
Kill someone? Why, tit for tat!
Abused your children? That’s all right,
we’ve got a class for you in sight.
“Any crime can be resolved--
It’s in our genes, how we evolved;
No one has to suffer guilt,
responsible for “sin” inbuilt.
“Nature made us all this way,
we kill and rob, abuse away
because we’re animals of chance,
the products of a random dance.
Once so long ago it’s certain,
molecules yanked up the curtain;
Chance collisions, by and by,
produced John Wayne and apple pie.”
So absurd, yet so sad these views
that pull the strings and give the cues
to what we see widespread this day,
a once great nation’s puppet play!
Now, at last, our MAYOR THAT’S YOU,
the question is: what will you do?
MAYORS MORE and LESS, they’ve made their round,
but you’re between, on shaky ground.
I’m watching from a nearby place,
just to see you show your face;
Will you be the “poor, oppressed,”
the “huddled masses” Welfare cursed?
Or will you be the murdered, slain
by some agenda not quite sane?
Will you be the value-robbed?--
the youth that sex, gangs, drugs have mobbed?
Will you be the drugged, divorced,
boyfriend’s little plaything forced
to feed her dog on food stamp aid,
afraid of only the next raid?
Will you be the ones a court
declared it correct to abort?
Will you be the aged pair
forgotten, taxed to death--O Mayor?
Together, it’s not hard to see
you make a majority;
This town is yours, you’ve come of age,
will you fight fire with love or rage?
An urgent bell rings out again,
a call to the plain citizen:
“Hurry, stand for what is true,
a Way God showed to Gentile, Jew.
“In these war-zones smoking hot,
fight the flames in which we’re caught;
Love God with your whole hearts now,
far beyond what some allow.
“Unashamed and bold, stand up!
Honor God though Hell erupt!
There is no other hope or future,
we’ve learned by now on our town tour.”
Phil. 2: 2-11; Ps. 53, Ps. 50: 3, 15-23