“Mommy, why is that man always on that cross?”
Liz looked at Ben for a long moment wondering how she should answer. His eyes were filled with that ‘I want to know’ look. “What do you mean, Ben?” Liz kept walking through the store, hoping that Ben would let this rest. She was not prepared for this.
“That man” Ben’s little finger pointed up to a book with the cross bearing Christ. Why she hadn’t listened to her mother and taken Ben to church was beyond her right now. She struggled with what to say, knowing he would not let this rest.
“Let’s get a drink and sit at one of the tables, and we’ll talk about it.” She led him over to the coffee counter and ordered two hot chocolates, and then they headed over to a table in the corner. Ben had both hands wrapped around his cup, and his eyes were fixed on hers.
“Ben, the man on the cross is Jesus. A long time ago, He was punished for things that He didn’t do.”
“Why? Didn’t they have police and stuff back then so they could find the real bad guys?”
“Well, yes, they did. But this was kind of different.”
Ben looked down into his cup, took a sip, and started again. “Mom, when Nana talks about Jesus, she says good stuff. She says that He loves us, and that He helps us, and that when we die we can live with Him in Heaven. How can He love us when He don’t know us, and ‘specially since He’s on a cross?”
“He’s not on the cross anymore, Ben. That was part of God’s plan for Jesus to die for us. But, He didn’t stay dead. He came back to life after a few days, and then He went back to Heaven with God. Now, He sits there with God and listens to our prayers.” She could not go on. The tears that she had held back, now streamed down her face.
“Excuse me, ma’am. My name is Pastor John Thompson. I couldn’t help hearing your conversation from my seat.” He stopped and pointed over to the table right beside them. He held out his hand to Ben. “I’m Pastor John. What’s your name?”
“Ben, you’ve asked some very good questions. I happen to know where you can find all the answers.” Pastor John pulled a small, worn, black Bible from his pocket and began to tell Ben all about Jesus and why He died on the cross.
Liz sat and listened. For the first time, her heart was open to receive the Words from the book that Pastor John held. She hadn’t been to church since she lived with her mom, and was made to go. She had never heard anyone talk about Jesus with such passion as Pastor John. He said so much in the little time that he was there, she wondered if Ben grasped any of it.
“Well, Ben if you’re interested and if your mom will bring you, we have Sunday School every Sunday at our little church that’s not too far from here. The teacher will tell you all kinds of stories about Jesus and His friends. After Sunday School, you can come into the church and I’ll tell you a story about Jesus. Would you like to come?”
“Yes!” Ben looked at Liz with those pleading eyes, “Can we go mom?”
“Yes. I think it’s time I took you to church. Your Nana will be so happy, she will probably want to come with us.”
“Cool. Thanks for answering my questions, Pastor John. I’ll see you at church.”
Pastor John shook Ben’s hand, then turned to Liz. He held out a small pamphlet to her, “Here’s some information about our church. The church number and my home number is on there. If you have any questions before Sunday, please call. The church staff, or I will be happy to talk with you.”
“Thank you, we’ll see you Sunday.”
He held out his hand towards hers, and shook hers gently, “Good, I’ll hold you to it.”
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