Dream word – DISCIPLE
1 Thessalonians 2:6-9
“Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the Gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. For you remember, brethren, our labour and toil; for labouring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the Gospel of God.” NKJV.
Of magic fairies and velveteen rabbits
God wants you to be a fairy! Now there’s a sermon you won’t hear too often. However, I do believe it to be the truth. Yes, God wants you to be a fairy!
It was famous children’s author, London born American, Margery Williams Bianco, who penned the famous book entitled, The Velveteen Rabbit. The story tells of how a young boy receives a velveteen (cotton imitation velvet – not the real thing) rabbit for Christmas and how this new toy, what with the loss of his favourite china dog, eventually becomes the little boy’s most well loved and constant companion. The story goes of how the velveteen rabbit finally meets up with very well made toys, which have no seems in them at all, and then discovers that these well made toys are no toys at all but are in fact, real live rabbits!
The boy, as happens not only in stories, becomes very sick with scarlet fever and while sent to recuperate at the seaside, is given a brand new rabbit with shiny glass eyes. The reason for this seemingly callous substitution, was the practice in those days of destroying by fire, all the scarlet fevered, germ-laden items, so as to ensure the infection stopped. How very Biblical!
So now, the old velveteen rabbit, while awaiting the burning flames in which he would perish forever, cries a real tear and this very real tear, brings forth the nursery’s magic fairy! Although the rabbit thinks he was real before, the fairy tells him that he was only actually real to the boy. In the end, the nursery fairy flies him to beneath the waiting trees, where the old velveteen toy finds himself translated at last, into a very real rabbit and runs speedily away, to join all the other hopping little bunnies in the wild and wonderful woods. How lovely.
Scarlet fever appears to be have become less aggressive than its previous expressions in the children of the past, where once upon a time, the rampant and red disease, left children with scars often far worse than death. It was this red fever that left a young Norwegian girl called Kaata Ragnhild Tollefsdatter, at a very early age, both deaf and blind. In the mid 1800’s, the isolation of this young girl was most profound and pitiable.
A Norwegian teacher called Elias Hansen Hofgaard, took on the care and education of this scarlet fevered damaged young woman and with great dedication, utilised the “oral method” of teaching with Kaata, to reveal to the society, the first well known speaking deaf-blind person in the history of the world. I am sure you have heard of her and of Hofgaard, her nursery magic fairy. No?
It was an American, Caroline Yale, a teacher of blind students that somehow developed this Hofgaardian method of instruction of deaf blind people. Further, it was one of her own students, Miss Sophie Alcorn, who practised this method on two young children, TadChapman and Oma Simpson, producing the Tadoma method of instruction, where the deaf blind person could feel the life of words, by placing their thumb on the speaker's lips and their fingers along their jaw line, with the middle three fingers falling along the speaker's cheeks and the little pinky finger, positioned effectively now to pick up the vibrations of the speaker's throat. Sophie taught her “Tadoma Method” real good, and later one of her own students, Miss Anne Sullivan, today in 1887, for the very time, came into the life of a very scarlet fevered damaged, velveteen rabbit of a little girl aged just 6 years of age. Her name was Helen Keller.
Anne Sullivan, this nursery magic fairy, we can see came from a long line of miracle workers! With love, sacrifice, strength and determination, she invaded the high walled bastion of isolation in which young Helen Keller had lost herself and slowly and determinedly released her! Keller became the first deaf blind person to receive a degree, becoming a writer, an active political mover, a world-famous speaker, a friend, both of the famous and of Presidents! Having personally met with all of them from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon B. Johnson. All of this was able to come about, simply because a miracle worker, a magic fairy from a long line of other magic fairies, came into her life, allowed the deaf and the blind to touch her and to learn from her, to such a phenomenal extent, that a scarlet fever damaged, ragged little velveteen rabbit of a girl, could be released into the wild, wild woods of humanity, to touch and to train, to change and to release many another toy, which was simply waiting for the bonfire.
How is your missionary work among the deaf and the blind going tonight? How is your discipleing of others going tonight? How is your dedication tonight? Yes, just how many isolated, lie believing, ragged little rabbits, are you saving from the burning?
God wants you to be a fairy! Now there’s a sermon you won’t hear too often. However, I do believe it to be the truth. God wants you to be a fairy!
Listen: “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the Gospel preached to them’.” - Luke 7:22-23 NKJV
Pray: Lord, fulfil the words of Your good news! Then help me Lord, to be focused and dedicated, in my discipleing of others. Amen and amen.
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