I saw an old man walking,
his head was bowed and gray.
His staff held by a gnarled old hand,
and then I heard him pray:
"Oh Lord, please do forgive our sins
though they're as black as coal;
You are a God of mercy,
who cares about each soul.
We are full of deceit and wayward;
unfaithful and untrue.
When all the time You are desiring
that we return to You.
Please God, do not bring upon us
that which is our due,
but turn our hearts to You, dear God
and make us clean and true.
I know, Oh God, oh Mighty One
that I have too much nerve,
to ask for that which I do know
none of us on earth deserve.
But Lord, You are our only Hope -
you are our God and King,
and to Your holy Name alone
honor and glory we will bring."
The old man stopped then for awhile
and tried to take a rest.
He had no home to call his own,
so he continued West.
When he arrived at the next town
he told them to repent.
"Leave now your sins!" said he to them,
and then his clothes he rent.
They scoffed at him and would not hear
to what he had to say.
The message that he brought to them
disturbed them at their play.
They laughed and sang and danced and drank,
they closed their ears and said
"Get that old man out of our sight",
because his words they dread.
Then they grabbed him by his robe
and threw him in a cell,
so cold and damp and dark and rank
and on his knees he fell.
He cried to God and pleaded more
for those whom he held dear:
"Please God, do forgive them,
although they do not fear."
Then he committed them to God...
More than that he could not do -
for God alone knows what is best,
for them, for us, for me and you.