Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Ragger's Creed... Words to live by

When I was 14, the summer before I went to high school, I went to Phantom Lake YMCA camp. I was a very serious kid, prone to doing the right thing and following the rules. I also felt drawn to the spiritual aspect of life, wondering about the answer to the eternal question "why am I here?" and searching for the pathway to a righteous life.

My self esteem was low, and I think I felt if I could just find the right thing to do, then maybe I could feel good about myself.

Thus, the Ragger's program was right up my alley. The first rag, the blue rag (a blue kerchief), had only one requirement: memorize the "Ragger's Creed" which was the first verse of a hymn, I later found out.

I would be true, for there are those who trust me
I would be pure, for there are those who care
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.

I would be a friend to all, the foe, the friendless
I would be giving and forget the gift
I would be humble for I know my weakness
I would look up and laugh, and love, and lift.

I went on, in the following years, to complete the program,finishing with the red rag. This level had us lie on the ground toward the end of the ceremony at Ragger's point, face down, with our arms outstretched, and say "Here I am, Lord, send me"

Later, at my husband's ordination to the ministry in the Episcopal Church, I was startled to find that the end of the service had the same procedure.

Today, I tend to live my life by the Ragger's Creed as much as possible. I'm not sure about my call to any kind of ministry, as I struggle through midlife and all the questions it calls to mind. But I believe that if we all could do our best to be true, pure, strong, brave, a friend to all, giving, humble, laugh, love and lift, the world would be a peaceful place.


julie said...

That is really beautiful Jael :)
We miss hearing from you over at pcagoe, I know you have been busy. Just wanted you to know you were missed. Take care!

KellyK said...

"Today, I tend to live my life by the Ragger's Creed as much as possible."

Boy, you sure do. To an amazing degree. I'm honored to even know you, let alone call you my friend.

Dave Robertson said...

Good thoughts for today, Jael. Thank you.


PaulsHealthblog.com said...

The Ragger's Creed. I've never heard of that.

Thanks for sharing.

Lisa Gatz said...

I think you're right about the last paragraph. It's profound that the raggers program became such a foundation for you.

Love your work, BTW!

I am Harriet said...

Just dropping cards and saw that you are from Champaign. :)

yeokeehui@gmail.com said...

The chief end of man is to worship and to enjoy God. To bear more spiritual fruits will surely make our life more meaningful and more joyful.

Ami said...

I am also a red ragger, and I was wonderng if you by any chance know who wrote The Ragger's Creed?

You mention in your blog that it comes from a hymn, and I would love to find that.