A mysterious bag lay beneath a dark mask.
The girl who reached for it got taken to task.
“Why can I not touch it? God said ‘Do not fear,’”
She argued, but they would not let her come near.
“It’s evil,” they told her.
“I don’t understand.”
“Do not ask about it,” came their reprimand.
“The thing that lies buried within must stay hidden.
You mustn’t expose it. Now do as you’re bidden.”
With those rigid words, they set down the strict law.
“It’s risky to open it. Tremble in awe.”
So read the cold rules hammered into the wall,
Engraved in hard stone to be heeded by all.
“The devil has left this bag here as a snare.
He’s trying to trick the poor children. Beware!”
Jesus showed her this gift. Must she leave it alone?
Obey man or God? What lord sat on the throne?
It didn’t feel right to be scared of that mask.
She wondered why they thought to take her to task.
If the gift was so wrong, why would they leave it there?
Could no one remove it if it was a snare?
Who had greater power – the devil or Christ?
“Read your Bible, dear fellows. You needn’t think twice.”
“You say such gifts no longer are for today
So, it has to be counterfeit? ‘Keep it at bay’?”
“If you’re afraid, why not ask God to deliver
You from this strange bag here at which you folks shiver?”
“For surely, He’s able and surely, He’s just.
If you ask Him for good things, protect you He must.”
They cringed at her words, yet they feared to say more.
On the softest of tiptoes, they snuck out the door.
They gave it a slam just to pound in their point,
And yet they could not knock her nose out of joint.
In one daring move she yanked back the dark mask,
The mask for which she had been taken to task.
She opened the bag which was covered with dust.
Out flew a bright light. It was true. It was just.
A peace filled the room. There was joy, there was love,
Which shone, as it were, from the wings of a dove.
There were visions and dreams, prophecy to be had,
Tongues of men and of angels. These gifts were not bad.
In that tiny back room, they had languished so long.
But they were the gifts that can make people strong.
The law locked them up, but God’s grace broke the chain,
For gifts that Christ purchased we should not restrain.
(Merchandisers prefer to have us entertained,
Until the time comes when their ankles get sprained.
Then suddenly they start to plan how to snag
The healing that lies in that mystery bag…)