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‘Save for the grace of God thergo I’
by David Farside
Nov 26, 2012 | 2733 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Soup kitchens in the center of the big city were common place when I was growing up. For the price of listening to a Christian sermon, anyone in need could fill themselves with a hot meal and a promise of salvation for mankind. One frigid Thanksgiving day my father woke me up at six in the morning, bundled me up and walked me to the Salvation Army soup kitchen two blocks away from my warm bed. He quietly, but firmly, stood me in the line of shivering men barely keeping warm beneath the scattered flakes of unwelcome snow. Bundled up women with their babushkas draped around their head and shoulders were losing patience, trying to keep their children from jumping to the front of the line. But finally, the door of the old warehouse opened and the line of poverty and empty stomachs slowly moved into the warmth of God’s grace — thank you Salvation Army.

In 1943, times were tough for everyone. The division between the haves and have-nots existed then, just as it continues today. The same republican philosophy of every man for himself was in conflict with the democrats’ ideals of one for all and all for one. But hunger and the lack of basic human needs seems to be the fulcrum that balances the differences between the two extremes of both political parties.

Recently, that was evident after Hurricane Sandy hit the New York and New Jersey coastline. Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie joined hands with President Obama and thanked him publicly for his response to human tragedy in New Jersey. Some pundits believe that was the turning point that contributed to Obama’s re-election. They are probably right.

Divisions between religions existed then as they do now. Jews, Protestants and Catholics were always vying for converts. Evangelicals pitched their tents any place they could find to preach their direct word from God, and like the others, they passed the collection plate around after the sermon. But, they all joined together in their attempt to relieve the human hardships endured during the second world war.

Today, Christians have their own evangelical political Tea Party. Attempting to deprive us of our own volition. They want to create more human hardship for women and families under the guise of knowing God’s will.

Like most 7-year-old children, I always complained about what my mother made me eat. If I didn’t like my supper, I would try to sneak it under the table to my dog. That never worked.

I was always getting in trouble for something. But the night before this particular Thanksgiving, dad sent me to bed without anything to eat. So by the time I was next in line at the food kitchen, I didn’t care what I ate, as long as there was plenty of it. I rarely complained about eating anything I didn’t like after that.

Dad taught me to appreciate the simplest of human necessities. He taught me the value of a good meal and a roof over my head. He said no matter how little we had, it could always be worse.

He taught me to help anyone in need whenever I could and to always remember the quote, “save for the grace of God thergo I.”

David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist.
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