Saturday, November 27, 2010


A family member is very anti-organized religion. However, she is a strong supporter of the Salavation Army both by shopping at the stores, donating items to the organization, and by donating to the Kettles and other money donations. One of her biggest thrills was when we went to Columbus and I took her to ALL the Salvation Army stores in one day!

One day, at a store, there were extra copies of "The War Cry". I receive them by mail; I pointed to them and asked her, "Do you receive "The War Cry" in the mail?" She asked what it was and I said, "It's the official publication of the Church." She asked, with obvious incredulity, "What church?" I responded, "The Salvation Army." She said, "That's not a church." I was stunned that she did not know it was a religion. I told her I was always surprised by her generosity to the Salvation Army but I assumed she put aside her anti-organized religion feelings in the quest for bargains. She said, "I don't believe this!"

I went on to tell her about General William Booth and the history of the religion and I asked, "Didn't you have to read the Vachel Lindsay poem when you went to school?" She said, "I can't believe it's a church!" I laughed and asked, "Didn't you see "Guys and Dolls"?" Since then I haven't asked her whether she's had a dilemma deciding what to do: bargains versus beliefs!


By Vachel Lindsay

[To be sung to the tune of "The Blood of the Lamb" with indicated instrument]
Booth led boldly with his big bass drum—
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
The Saints smiled gravely and they said: “He’s come.”
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
Walking lepers followed, rank on rank,
Lurching bravoes from the ditches dank,
Drabs from the alleyways and drug fiends pale—
Minds still passion-ridden, soul-powers frail:—
Vermin-eaten saints with mouldy breath,
Unwashed legions with the ways of Death—
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)

Every slum had sent its half-a-score
The round world over. (Booth had groaned for more.)
Every banner that the wide world flies
Bloomed with glory and transcendent dyes.
Big-voiced lasses made their banjos bang,
Tranced, fanatical they shrieked and sang:—
“Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?”
Hallelujah! It was queer to see
Bull-necked convicts with that land make free.
Loons with trumpets blowed a blare, blare, blare
On, on upward thro’ the golden air!
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)

Booth died blind and still by Faith he trod,
Eyes still dazzled by the ways of God.
Booth led boldly, and he looked the chief
Eagle countenance in sharp relief,
Beard a-flying, air of high command
Unabated in that holy land.

Jesus came from out the court-house door,
Stretched his hands above the passing poor.
Booth saw not, but led his queer ones there
Round and round the mighty court-house square.
Yet in an instant all that blear review
Marched on spotless, clad in raiment new.
The lame were straightened, withered limbs uncurled
And blind eyes opened on a new, sweet world.

Drabs and vixens in a flash made whole!
Gone was the weasel-head, the snout, the jowl!
Sages and sibyls now, and athletes clean,
Rulers of empires, and of forests green!

The hosts were sandalled, and their wings were fire!
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
But their noise played havoc with the angel-choir.
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
O shout Salvation! It was good to see
Kings and Princes by the Lamb set free.
The banjos rattled and the tambourines
Jing-jing-jingled in the hands of Queens.

And when Booth halted by the curb for prayer
He saw his Master thro’ the flag-filled air.
Christ came gently with a robe and crown
For Booth the soldier, while the throng knelt down.
He saw King Jesus. They were face to face,
And he knelt a-weeping in that holy place.
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

1 comment:

Mona Lisa said...

Vachel Lindsay? WOW! I had to look it up. did you know he was Edna St. Vincent Millay's lover?