Rag And Bone Man

July 7, 2007
by John Stuart

Ezekiel 37:14 – I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord. (NIV)

When I was a boy, the rag and bone man used to visit our street every summer. He came with his old chestnut-coloured horse and a cart filled with castaway clothes. He usually wore a cloth cap, checkered shirt, and leather waistcoat, along with some faded corduroy trousers and steel-toe-capped boots. He came ambling into our street, tooted his bugle, and hollered, "Rag and bohs! Rag and bohs!" This let all the street urchins know that he had arrived.

Immediately, there was a hive of activity as children scampered into their homes, begging their moms to give them some old clothes to barter with the rag and bone man. From all over the street, like bees to a honey pot, children joyfully carried bundles of rags and brought them to the cart.

We waited reverently and expectantly as the rag and bone man examined our wares. Eventually, he would open up a large tan suitcase, which was full of cheap plastic toys, and hand them out to all the kids with rags. Shrieks of delight resonated throughout the street as child after child received a gift. It was like Christmas in July, and our spirits soared as we played with water pistols, plastic sunglasses, and toy cameras. Then we would hear him give a gruff command to his old horse, followed by the clopping of hooves and squeaking of wheels. We would watch him go down the street until he turned the corner. Faintly, we could hear the bugle toot and the echoes of his call, "Rag and Bohs! Rag and Bohs!"

Before he arrived, our street was dead. After he was gone, something sacred occurred: we were all given new life. I learned all that I need to know about incarnational theology through a nameless rag and bone man.

Presence is everything.

Christ breathes His Spirit into our hearts and minds, our homes and churches. What once was dead can experience new life. All that we need to do is bring our bundles of burdens and cast them before Him. He takes them from us, and in return, He gives us the riches of His grace, the blessings of His eternal summer.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, enter into our lives so that we may know the power and blessing of Your sacred presence. Allow us to be touched by Your Spirit and to be changed by Your love. In Your holy name we pray. Amen.

About the author:

John Stuart <traqair@aol.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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