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Dölf Weder

The Clown

A Parable

 

German Version
 

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Once upon a time, there was a lovely clown. One of these good, cheerful clowns with a big, red nose, with wide, colourful trousers around his legs and with a small, brown violin in his hands. On his face, he always had a big, warm smile.

He lived and worked in a circus. Not a big circus, and not a small circus. But a circus and a clown loved by the people, especially the young people.

Times were not always easy for this circus. There were times of recession and economical disaster. There were times when governments changed their financial policies, and circuses no longer got public grants. Sometimes the clown was afraid the circus would no longer be able to have its own tent, or even some artists might have to be sent away. What would happen to the people then?

He knew that circuses and clowns are needed. The clown, for many people in the towns around, was a symbol of hope and joy and humanity. Hope, joy and humanity in the middle of a not always easy everyday-life. A life in which the strongest and the best and the fittest succeeded. But people know that not everybody is the strongest, and the best, and the fittest.

The clown showed them what really counted in life. He showed them that you can love and be loved, even if you are weak, even if you fall on your nose, even if you sometimes cry. People loved the clown and his big, warm smile. And he loved them.

But there was one big sadness in our clown's life. He got more and more aware that he was so limited in his thinking and experience. His thoughts only circled around in his limited circus circles. And with every passing year he had more difficulty to develop new ideas, to show his spectators the many sides of life.

While people still loved him, he knew he should give them more. He should open their eyes to the bigger world. He should open their eyes to the many people in this world. To the people who think and live differently from them. To the people who suffer from injustice and poverty. To the people who would like to share their gifts and their human warmth with them.

He knew: Life was much more than life in this circus. Life was much deeper than he had experienced so far.

And so, one day, our clown decided to go on a journey. He had heard there was a man called Jesus. And people had told him that Jesus lived life in its fullness, and that he loved and was loved. That's what our clown was looking for: life in its fullness, to love and to be loved.

And so he took his rucksack and packed into it his small, brown violin, his wide, colourful trousers, and his big, red nose. And with the violin, the trousers and the nose in his rucksack, he directed his steps to the East, to Galilee, to find Jesus.

When wandering through the lands, it was not long before he met a gipsy girl. Her long black hair hanging over her dark brown face, she was sitting beside the road and crying.

"I'm a foreigner in this country", she said, "and because I'm not like the others, I'm cast out. I'm allowed to work here, but not to live."

The clown laid his arms around her shoulders and cried with her. But then he took his small, brown violin and gave it to the girl. "Take it and play it", he said, "and let its sound comfort you and the hearts of all suffering people around you."

Wandering further through the lands, it was not long before he met a mother with three children. Holding the youngest at her breast and the other two in her arm, she was sitting beside the road and crying. "Injustice, poverty and brutal war", she said, "have taken our father and everything; my children must now live naked."

The clown laid his arms around her and the children's shoulders and cried with them. But then he took his wide, colourful trousers and gave them to the family. "Take them and use them", he said, "they are big enough to give clothes for all three of your children."

Wandering further through the lands, it was not long before he met a young man. Having his head on his knees, he was sitting beside the road and crying. "I'm unemployed and cannot find a job", he said, "nobody needs me, and I'm worth nothing."

The clown laid his arms around his shoulders and cried with him. But then he took his big, red nose and gave it to the young man. "Take it and put it on your nose", he said, "and I will teach you how to be a good and human clown".

Finally, after many weeks and months, our clown arrived in Galilee. He went to Nazareth, knocked at Jesus' door and walked into His house.

A man was sitting in the room.

"Are you Jesus?", asked the clown, People told me that Jesus lives life in its fullness, He loves and is loved".

"Dear friend", responded the man, "Jesus died 2000 years ago, you cannot meet Him here."

The clown broke out in tears. "Then my whole journey was in vain. And my life will continue to circle around in my old, limited circus circles."

"Don't be sad", answered the man, "you've already met Jesus three times on your way here. Whenever you meet a person and open your hands, you also meet Jesus. And you make an experience of fullness of life, you love and you are loved."

The clown stood there, surprised and silent. He dried his tears and started a smile. But then, after a further thought, he sadly answered: "But now all my gifts have gone. There's nothing left I could share.

"Your hands are empty", replied the man, "because you faced your neighbours with open hands. But love means giving and receiving. And only empty hands can receive. Open your hands for your neighbours again. And your empty hands will be filled."

The clown opened his hands, and the man gave him a wonderful Pan Flute. "Take this shepherd's flute", he said, "take it back to your circus. And whenever you perform as a clown, play one piece on this flute for your people.

Let them listen to the sound of eternity. Let them listen to the sound of love. Let them understand that the world is much bigger than their circus. Let them experience love and to be loved, to receive and to give, to give and to receive."

The clown stood there, with the flute in his hands. His heart felt warm, and on his face he had a deep and happy smile.

"I will go back to my circus", he said, "I will tell my people that I met Jesus. I will blow my flute, and we will face our neighbours, with open hands, to love and to be loved, in the fullness of life."

 

Written for the EAY General Assembly, May 1993:
"Facing my Neighbours with Open Hands"

 

© 1996-2018 by Dölf Weder, weder@weder.ch. All Rights Reserved.
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www.weder.ch last updated: 13.10.18
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There was a lovely clown with a big, red nose, with wide, colourful trousers and with a small, brown violin in his hands.

 

 

 

 

 

The clown showed them that you can love and be loved, even if you are weak, even if you fall on your nose, even if you sometimes cry.

 

 

His thoughts only circled around in his limited circus circles.

He knew: Life was much more than life in this circus.

 

People had told him that Jesus lived life in its fullness, and that he loved and was loved.

That's what our clown was looking for: life in its fullness, to love and to be loved.

 

 

He took his rucksack and packed into it his small, brown violin, his wide, colourful trousers, and his big, red nose.

 

 

 

The clown laid his arms around her shoulders and cried with her. "Take it and play it", he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whenever you meet a person and open your hands, you also meet Jesus. And you make an experience of fullness of life, you love and you are loved.

 

Love means giving and receiving. And only empty hands can receive.

 

Let them listen to the sound of eternity. Let them listen to the sound of love.

I will blow my flute, and we will face our neighbours, with open hands, to love and to be loved, in the fullness of life.