I find myself in a crowd, a mob, being swept along without a chance to choose my own course. Down the narrow, crowded street. Jostled from first one side then the other, claustrophobia sweeps over me.
Not much chance for escape or even a change in direction. The crowd is tumultous and raucous. I can hardly think. I certainly can't hear the words of even those closest to me.
Tall buildings close in. I can't see their tops. From the windows, people stare, point and ridicule. I feel self-conscious. I fight my way to the side of the crowd into the building's shadow. We are pushed and shoved to the end of the building and there's a small alley. I manage to slip through the opening and finally there's room to breathe.
The alley is dark and, after the crowded street, lonely. I stumble ahead in the alley's dim light, moving more by faith than by sight.
I sense that I'm approaching the end of the alley. Another crowd comes into sight. In contrast to the other, this one is orderly, joyful without being raucous, considerate and mindful of each other. They remind one another that those mocking from the windows are to be pitied, not heeded.
The crowd moves forward to a common goal, not chaotically as the other crowd did, but united. I choose to move purposefully with them.
As we move, someone begins to sing a hymn of praise and peace. Gradually, we all join in, peacefully, exultantly. The melody and rhythm of the music soothes and comforts rather than excites or threatens.
We round a corner and suddenly I see, on a knoll at the side, a glorious stranger. He becomes the object of our travelling companionship.
Tranquility, like the feeling of laying on grass on a summer day, wells inside of me. I find myself studying the stranger's face, the very embodiment of tolerance, acceptance and love.
Christus statue by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1768-1844)
He is so familiar. He stretches his arms out to us and we see the awful marks. I begin to weep as I recognize with my physical eyes what my spiritual eyes have known since I first saw him.
There stands Christ, my elder brother. He looks just as I thought he might. His hair is dark and shiny. His clothes are unremarkable, a white robe and hood over a plain white gown. His face spreads love and assurance.
For all that, His most distinguishing characteristic is his eyes. They are a deep, piercing blue. They see right through to my very core. They pierce to the depths of my soul. He knows everything I've ever done, every tiny doubt I've ever had. Yet they offer the deepest love and kindness I've ever seen in a man.
His stands there, the very personification of love. And yet, there is the barest hint of what the money-changers and pharisees must have seen, determination and righteous indignation, but even then a willingness to forgive as the need arose.
I stumble forward and he takes me, the most insignificant member of that throng, into his arms. I feel secure in the knowledge, faith needed no more, that I am accepted, that I am loved for me.
Journey's End by Derek Hegsted
He moves on through the masses, embracing some, nodding to others, touching others with his healing. All are fulfilled, all feel the great love that is channelled and amplified through him.
What a glorious, clean feeling fills our very souls as we watch Him welcoming others. Spiritual status, not social status or race makes all the difference to him.
I awake and feel a great sense of loss. Nevertheless, I have gained much. I have a purpose, a reason and a definite goal now. I know what's truly important and noone can take that away from me.
RoseMary, I need to share this
with you. I need you with me the next time I see Him. Only then will our joy
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