A man shuffled in the back of the church, his shoulders drooped and bent
Standing awkward with hat in hands, his pride was finally spent
All alone he stood and gazed at the cross upon the wall
Years of being beaten down, there was no where else to fall
He slowly made his way down front, his eyes fixed on the altar
The closer he got, the slower he walked and his feet began to falter
Clearing his throat, he nervously spoke, "I know I shouldn't be here.
I don't deserve to kneel before you, but it's good to know you're near."
"I know this ain't a Sunday and my clothes ain't clean and new,
But I'm so tired of running Lord, and I need to talk to you.
I can't come in on Sunday, cause the people turn and stare,
I just don't meet their standards, with my beard and scraggly hair."
"I've been down this road before and I know just where I stand.
I may be rough around the edges, but wouldn't you still shake my hand?
There's more like me, than people think...that want to come inside,
But so many folk, can't see beyond...they just close the door and hide."
"Just as I am", that song is old, but don't they sing it anymore?
Do I really have to fit their mold...to be welcomed at the door?
I don't know much about the Bible, but I'm hoping that it's true,
That through your eyes I have potential and you can make me new."
"I hope that it's ok with you, if I go ahead and kneel,
Cause even if I'm still a mess...I'm doing this for real.
Here's my heart, please clean it up and free me from any pride,
Cause a "clean outside" don't mean a thing...with a "dirty heart inside."
Standing up, the man turned around to walk back down the aisle
Still just as ragged...hair just as long, but on his face...a smile
The change in him only God could see, for the moment and that's fine
He's in the race for all he's worth and he'll cross the finish line
How many times? How many people? How many...young or old?
How many lost ones just stay lost...cause they didn't "fit the mold"?
God forgive us for "how many", you know each one by name
Clean or messy...it doesn't matter...you love us all the same
Merissa Lee Kelley
November 15, 2001