Luke 23 v 32 – 49
I thought I would do something a little different this morning. I have copied the piece below which is something that I produced in 2012. I came across it again this week and it seemed relevant to the present situation
A Traveller’s Tale
A traveller told this story; –
I stopped to rest at day break at the brow of a hill overlooking a small town. Suddenly I became aware of man standing at the very top of the hill. He was tall and young, with broad shoulders, a strong determined face and such blue friendly eyes. He wore a long coat to keep out the cold chill from the wind, and carried a small shoulder bag.
As I watched him, he started to descend down the hill, with a strong stride and a straight back almost like a soldier marching into battle.
I followed; intrigued to know where this man was going in such a determined manner.
We reached the edge of the Town and there in the gutter was a young man, sprawled out in a drunken stupor, his eyes glazed with no recognition of his demise and his mind devoid of sensible thought, an outcast from society turning to drink and drugs to gain solace from a cruel and confusing world.
The tall stranger knelt beside him and lifted his head. From his coat he took out a bottle of clear water and put to the young lips. Drink, he said, for whoever drinks from this bottle will never be thirsty again.
The young man stared into the blue eyes of the stranger; he lifted himself to his feet, turned and without a word walked off into the cold morning air and I watched him go.
I looked back to the stranger and he was walking again towards the town, but the spring had somehow left his step, he walked with different gait. I followed trying to keep up.
As we reached a cross roads he met a woman leaning against a locked hospital door, trying to ring for attention. She was pale and her face was twisted in pain. She cried out –‘ help me sir please help me’.
The stranger reached out and wrapped his hands around her face. He spoke in a gentle calm voice and said to her, – have faith and you will have peace.
She stopped crying and he opened the locked door allowing her through. I watched her go in to the waiting arms of the doctor, and then I turned back to the stranger.
He was pale and stooped, and as he walked he seemed to drag his leg behind, what had happened to that fine looking man on the hill.
We came across a small child alone in a playground. The child had no coat and wore a thin dirty t shirt. There were no shoes on his feet and his hair was dishevelled. He shivered in the cold morning air. In a small voice he spoke to the stranger; simply saying –‘I’m lost’.
The stranger took off his coat and placed round the child’s shoulders and took out of his pocket a piece of bread and gave it to the child. Follow the path, he said, follow the path I have shown you and you will come home.
The child left the playground eating the bread and I looked at the stranger and saw a physical spiritual and emotional wreck. He was on his hands and knees, he was racked with pain, his back was bent and his face was drawn and without colour. He slowly and painfully made his way back from the town, staggering up the hill from where we started. At the top he lay down against a tree, exhausted.
He turned, looked at me and said, forgive them for they know not what they do, – he closed his eyes and died.
I fell on my knees and cried realising that I had stood by while this man had suffered, while this man who had given himself to others freely, had been sacrificed while I had stood by offering no help.
The thought has stayed with me for the rest of my life; and I still follow this man – Jesus Christ.