The following is an excerpt from Ebenezer and Ninety-Eight Friends – Musings on Life, Scripture and the Hymns by Marty Magee. If you like what you read you can order the book or read more sample chapters.
By faith, for my cleansing
I see thy blood flow.
Now wash me
And I shall be whiter than snow.
Whiter Than Snow, James Nicholson, 1872
“Marty, I can’t use these feathers. They’re too wet and smelly and dirty.”
My friend, Faith, had driven the 85 miles from Albuquerque to my parents’ ranch just for chicken feathers. She wanted them so her school kids could make turkeys for Thanksgiving. She already had the pinecones, which were clean and acceptable. Being a city girl myself, I had no answer for Faith. We were both disappointed, but knew nothing but to dispose of the foul things. They were far too disgusting even for her trashcan.
After dark, she and another friend took the feathers to a garbage bin behind a fast-food restaurant. They wanted to be sure they were out of sight and out of whiff.
In the meantime, I called Mother.
“Faith said she couldn’t use the feathers. They’re wet and dirty.”
“For Pete sake! Tell her to put them in a pillowcase and run them through the washer and dryer.”
“Hello, Faith! I just talked to Mother…..”
Out they went, after dark. They dug through the Burger King dumpster like a couple of vagabonds.
“There it is—the sack with the feathers!”
We’d never seen anything so soft and fluffy as those washed up chicken feathers.
She gave me a memento turkey. I got it out every Thanksgiving as part of my harvest decorations. The poor little guy finally fell apart, but we never forgot the city-girl chicken feather story.
Haven’t we all known a smelly, dirty old soul? Maybe we were that soul!
“He’ll never be worth anything,” we all agree. We throw him in our proverbial dumpster. No need to share the gospel with him. And we don’t want him corrupting our kids. He drinks and stinks. He smokes and coughs and chokes. He came to church once and hadn’t even combed his hair.
Come on, let’s go. It may be dark where he’s hiding out. But we need to get him away from that smelly rubbish, give him a hot meal, and lead him to the Light.
Who’s that sitting at your dining table this fine Thanksgiving Day? You never know what God can do with a bunch of stinky chicken feathers.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean.
Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7