Columnist: The man with the banner
One day I met a young man who was earnestly creating banners in his studio. Different sizes and colors were strewn across the floor and paint was dribbled across his shirt. I asked him, “Sir, what are you going to do with all these banners that say the same thing?”
“I will be going all over this divided land and installing these banners boldly for all to see. Would you like one?” he questioned.
“Sure,” I said, silently wondering what I was going to do with it.
As if reading my mind, he spoke, “You are to hang your banner in your own home, because that is where it all starts.” He smiled and then he walked away with his suitcase full of banners and a ladder attached to his truck.
His name was Mr. Carpenter. I read later he went to Washington to the chambers of Congress. No one paid attention to him as he nailed his banner into the walls. Even the sound of the hammer didn’t cause a reaction.
He looked down from the top of his ladder to the folks gathered below.
He saw anger and arguing. The special interest factions were sitting scattered among the men and women. Discord and fighting separated them into groups. At the end of the day they left the capitol stomping their ego-swollen feet and gnashing their teeth. The only thing accomplished in those hours was the installment of Mr. Carpenter’s banner.
Mr. Carpenter finished hanging his banner and thought to himself in the now empty hall, “They do not understand that if they keep dividing they will multiply the anger.” He hung his sign and walked away.
Then he went to the White House to hang a banner there. He walked past a room where a few men were watching horrors on a big TV screen. Christians being slaughtered in Pakistan, bombs were killing innocents across Europe and horror filled the eyes of those that watched. He quietly walked by with a tear sliding down his cheek.
While they were busy in the other room, Mr. Carpenter decided he would go to the Oval Office and hang his sign. The door was locked with a note attached: “I am sorry; I am away on an important trip to see a ball game in Cuba.”
My friend hung his banner across the door of the oval office.
As he walked down the streets around Washington he started handing the banners to the angry white folks, the angry black folks, the angry youth, the angry old, the angry poor, the angry rich, and the angry immigrants. They all were pointing fingers at each other and yelling. His voice was unheard; his banners were tossed.
Mr. Carpenter then drove his truck to the campaign offices of Mr. Trump, Mr. Cruz, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Sanders and all the others who wanted to fill the vacant oval office he had just left. He wanted to make an appointment with each one to discuss ways to heal his broken country and give them a banner.
They all said they had their own banners and ideas. Angry, they threw him into the streets. His banner did not conform to their policies.
Mr. Carpenter attended church the next Sunday. It was Easter. As he looked around the vast sanctuary he saw some of the same people he met in the halls of Congress. He sat among the angry folks he had met on the street earlier, and spied a few of those trying to lead this divided nation.
He was shocked!!! He decided to get up and walk to the minister that was speaking. The preacher noticed the young man but tried to ignore him. Mr. Carpenter kept walking toward the altar; the minister was getting angrier as the young man with the hammer and a banner approached.
“I am sorry to interrupt your preaching, sir, but I need to hang a banner right up there,” pointing to the cross. Horrified, the minister was about to say, “NO!” but for some reason he could not utter the word.
The young man walked up to the altar, climbed up the stairs to the cross and hung his banner across its beams.
The crowd silent as the nails went into the cross. Stunned they all remembered the man with his suitcase they had once ignored.
The cross turned to gold as the banner unfolded,
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Of course, I made that story up. Or did I? Sometimes, I get so perplexed at how we are all behaving I become just like Mr. Carpenter and want to get my hammer and hang a banner over the country.
The carpenter born long ago understood that the words of the banner were far more powerful than political correctness.
We need to toss misguided anger out the door. We need to replace it with sound logic that is united to offer our children a better world and save those that are being slaughtered within it.
“In God We Trust” is on every coin we have in our wallet. If we are not willing to believe and encourage that, then take the carpenter’s banner away, the cross away, the Easter away, the Bible away and then divide the country to zero.
It is up to us.