Monday, March 30, 2009

On Beyond Zebra

I’ve always been a huge fan of Theodor Geisel, who is better known as Dr. Seuss. I loved reading his stories to our daughters when they were young – there is something simply joyful that stirs inside me when I read aloud a sentence like:

Barber baby bubbles and a bumblebee.
Four fluffy feathers on a Fiffer-feffer-feff.

Go ahead and read that aloud a few times – I’ll bet it makes you smile.

There's great meter, there's tons of alliteration and the alliteration is not only at the beginnings of words, but inside them, too.

What a genius with words and what an imagination to create a fifer-feffer-feff (with four fluffy feathers).

As a kid (and still as an adult) I found the illustrations in Dr. Seuss’ books to be as captivating as the alliteration. Just imagine a world filled with people like the Fuddnudler Brothers (Bipper, Bud, Skipper, Jipper, Jeffrey, Jud, Horatio, Horace, Hendrix, Hud, Dinwoodie, Dinty, Dud, Fitsimmon, Frederick, Fud, Slinky, Stinkey, Stuart, Stud, & Lud), a Wumbus, a Yekko, a Yuzz-a-ma-Tuzz a Zatz-it and a Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz.

A friend of mine, Kim Engelmann, used the title of one of Dr. Seuss’ books, “On Beyond Zebra” as the springboard for a fantastic sermon. The book begins with this great explanation:

In the places I go there are things that I see
That I never could spell if I stopped with the Z.
I’m telling you this ‘cause you’re one of my friends.
My alphabet starts where your alphabet ends!
My alphabet starts with this letter called YUZZ
It’s the letter I use to spell Yuzz-a-ma-Tuzz
You’ll be sort of surprised what there is to be found
Once you go beyond Z and start poking around!…
So, on beyond Z! It’s high time you were shown
That you really don’t know all there is to be known.”

I’m convinced Jesus used the parables of the Kingdom of Heaven to give us a glimpse “on beyond Zebra” – a glimpse into a Kingdom where the first are last and wedding banquet tables are seated with everyone – maybe even a fifer-feffer-feff!

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