Monday, February 27, 2006

Brightly Colored Beads

Youth were gathered
In the church they considered home.
No longer children.
Not yet adults.

They were committed to their goals.
To know each other better.
To draw closer to God.
To have fun.
To understand the pain of hunger.

Instead of eating,
They played and watched movies.

Instead of eating,
They worked at the City Mission.

Instead of eating,
They prayed and talked.

For twenty four hours they strung together beads.
One after another on plastic string.
Beads of many colors
Resembling the crayons
They had held in their hands
When they were children.

Each bead was one child.
A child who would die
In the 24 hours of their fast.
Twenty nine thousand were strung
One after another.
Each one a child who had died.

After the fast was broken
First with communion
And then with thanksgiving,
They carried the huge string of beads
To the Sanctuary.

They decorated God’s living room
With bright colors
The strand stretching more than twice around the room.
Carefully, the string was hung along the walls
High enough to be out of the way of the congregation
The next morning.
But bright enough to be noticed.
And long enough to bring tears.

Throughout the night
The weight of the beads
Pulled down on the plastic string
Stretching it, making it longer
So that it drooped into doorways
Looped over the choir loft
Stretched below the arches,
as if it would not be hidden.

Twenty nine thousand beads are heavy.
Especially when they are children who are lost.
Especially when guilt is painted on them.
Especially when God pulls on them.

The next morning,
The congregation ducked to avoid hitting them,
The liturgist held the string up
So that the choir could enter the loft.
People smiled at the brightly colored beads
Until the youth explained what they were,
What they symbolized.

Each bead a child lost
Each bead a child who had starved to death.


Blogger Rosa said...

That is a very moving article, poem and activity which took place. Thanks for sharing it.

2:26 PM  

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