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Five and a half years ago an incident occurred. Pastor Jason Meyer (the man who replaced John Piper as lead preaching pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church) told us about it (in two different sermons): he and Pastor John, on a missions trip, had faced down some eagles who were diving at them and others while they were eating lunch. So when he picked up a rock to throw at them, Pastor John told him he’d pay money if he actually hit one. I’m not going to tell you now the rest of the story, because I deemed that this story should have an ode or a ballad written about it, so this heroic story could be handed down through the generations into legend. This I have done.

Now Pastor Jason wasn’t very forthcoming with details about the incident (perhaps out of modesty?), so I had to fill in some of the particulars as best I could. He humbly made light of what had happened, telling it as a humorous anecdote, but I dare to suggest that it was more … dramatic. This poem uses the story telling technique and poetic style of Pastor Piper’s advent poems.

In his description of the event, Pastor Jason “speculated that the story could grow over time.” I can confirm: It has grown. But the way this poem presents the throw of the stone, the results of the stone’s throw, as well as the resolution of the wager, including what Pastor John wrote about this resolution (a poem within this poem, if you will), is really, actually, factually true.

I’m posting it today on the seven year anniversary of the day that Pastor Jason took over as lead pastor.

The Piper and The Meyer
A Legendary Epic Ballad by Scott Jamison

~~~ The Place of The Danger ~~~
Consider now this thrilling scene:
An outdoor café, valley green.
The luncheon had been pleasant, ‘till
They heard the screeches, harsh and shrill.

The men cried out, the children screamed,
The once bright sun no longer gleamed,
Blacked out by circling eagles high,
And here and there some dropping nigh,
Too close with threats of fearful death
From sharpened talons, flaming breath.*
Folks threw themselves, in great fear, flat,
For who could stand upright to that?

Yea, some fell down, but not The Two.
The Two stood tall, strong, brave and true.
They did what all good
heroes would.
The Piper and The Meyer stood.

They waved, they yelled defiant words
Exclaimed against the evil birds.
The thwarted eagles turned away,
Away from all their erstwhile prey.

“Now run!” The Two exclaimed to all,
“And if you can’t, then walk, or crawl.
To safety we must all now flee.
A home or store’s where we must be!”
(For there was still a strong concern
The dreaded raptors would return.
Reorganized they might come back
And, more determined, re-attack.)

And flee all did, from old to youth.
They knew The Two now spoke the truth.
They ran t’ward shelter, home and booth.
(Too bad that none there were named Ruth.)

And back they came, the eagles now,
Far sooner than they’d feared. So how
Could fleers hope to get away?
All hope was lost, as was the day.

But as the eagles, down, they went,
The Piper saw The Meyer bent
To pick up hard, round, solid rock,
Much like a shepherd for his flock.
The Piper saw The Meyer’s plan.
He smiled at his Succession Man
And inspiration to invoke
The Piper to The Meyer spoke:

~~~ The Words of The Piper ~~~
“Yea, hurl the stone, it is God’s will
(Both ‘perfect’ and ‘prescriptive’ will.)
I say again, it is God’s will
For you to use your throwing skill
To save the fleeing innocent,
(But still depraved – that’s what I meant
Of course they are not without sin.)”
(Thus context won the day again.)

(There was no time, the Piper knew
To more completely walk them through
The full Five Points* or to discuss
How God e’er works his will through us.)

(Or how through good deeds we don’t earn
Salvation, but let’s now return
To this dark tale of fear and dread.)
He, pointing to Lead Eagle, said,

“Yes, hurl the stone, and bring it down
For all our good and God’s renown.
A dollar I’ll pay if you do.
Nay, ten … times ten! So throw it true!
Don’t waste your … eagle! Here’s a chance
To highlight God’s preeminence.
And show this: God is sovereign o’er
These birds of prey who bring us war.
Desiring God’s good words – “Well done!”
Throw! Let the day for Him be won.”

Though sharp beaks might have pierced them through.
The Two stood tall, strong, brave and true.
They did what all good
pastors would.
The Piper and The Meyer stood.


~~~ The Acts of The Meyer ~~~

The Meyer gave a knowing nod.
He needed now no further prod.
And then he like young David stood,
Faced his Goliath, out for blood.
As always, his two eyes were shown,
Two ditches***, so he fell in none.
Intent on striking eagle’s bone
And knowing he was not alone,
For God is always on the throne,
And with The Piper near, not prone
The Meyer, with a mighty groan,
He raised up his Redemption Stone.

The stone, released. The stone, it flies!
And flies! It flies and flies and flies!
And lo, it did not take two tries!
Lead Eagle’s hit between the eyes!
It falls, to other eagles’ cries.

Though flesh wounds they both might accrue,
The Two stood tall, strong, brave and true.
They did what all good
shepherds would.
The Piper and The Meyer stood.

~~~ The Ends of The Matter ~~~
The other eagles flew away.
They knew that they had lost the day.
They knew the Lord was not with them.
They flew from Thrower, fell and grim.
They rue the day. The day, they rue.
Why did they test The Two so true?
And there were other stones, they knew,
So, each to his own home they flew.
Our mighty haven’t fallen yet,
So yes, the eagles feel regret.

Don’t doubt The Piper’s debt was paid.
It took a bit, but it was paid!
(Though for a time it was mislaid.)
He sent The Marshal in his stead
and, to The Meyer, paying, said,
(More accur’tely, The Piper wrote-
He put his thoughts down in a note.
He wrote this poem which I now quote:)
“Consider pledge or flying stone.
Consider vow or diving bird.
Let it be marked, let it be known:
John Piper keeps his every word.”****
(Were nobler couplets ever heard?)

What we have heard, so have we seen,
This outdoor café, valley green.
Far countries and near nations spanned
– Oh, let the reader understand –
The danger fields aren’t all unmanned.
They know this, th’eagles from that land:
With one sure voice and one sure hand
As God from the beginning planned,
And always at the Lord’s command,
The Piper and the Meyer stand.

* The author has determined that they weren’t literally fire-breathing eagles.
** of Calvinism
*** Pastor Meyer often uses a ‘two ditches’ metaphor in his sermons
**** “Payment Poem” writing credit: John Piper, Author

I’ve started posting a series of stories for parents to read to their children highlighting the love of God. Please go take a look.

And if you’d like to see my other Attempts at humor, please click here.

Photo from WorldAtlas.com

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