King Elwyn loved kindness. His kingdom was blessed with ample sunshine and rain so that food was plentiful for all these people he loved so dearly.
The king also loved justice and had put many laws in place to enable his people to safely live together in peace. With such a wise ruler, none of the people were in need of any necessity in life.
One day a messenger advised the king that someone among them was stealing. This news greatly distressed the king who knew that a thief among them could endanger the well-being of everyone. So with a heavy heart he called the people together.
“Everyone in our kingdom has what is needed, yet there is a thief among us. Therefore, when he is caught, the punishment will be a dozen lashes of the whip,“ declared the king.
Several days passed as more and more things were stolen. Finally a messenger arrived at the king’s house. “Sir, the thief has been caught,” he said.
Word spread quickly among the people and everyone came to get a look at the thief. As the thief was escorted toward the king, the people gasped and the king hung his head in anguish.
The thief was none other than his very own Mother. With an aching heart, Elwyn watched as her aged and stooped body slowly shuffled toward him. He looked upon her white head and knew better than anyone that her mind was failing, for at times she did not seem to recognize even him.
He looked upon her now weak and shriveled hands. Those were the hands that had held him as she softly sang lullaby’s to him when he was but an infant. Her gentle hands had bathed him and combed his hair. Her hands had fed him, dressed him, tied his shoes, and had taught him to fold his hands in prayer.
He had seen her hands tremble when she buried her parents and his father. He had seen her hands console friends and stroke the face of a child. He knew that God would take her hands when He led her home; he knew her hands would soon touch the face of Christ.
When the king finally spoke, he said, “My good people, it is for our welfare that we must have laws and this crime could hurt us all.” He then motioned for his mother to be brought forward and the man chosen to wield the whip began to uncoil it.
As the people watched, the king removed his royal robe and stepped behind his frail mother. He then extended his arms and wrapped them around her, clasping her wrinkled hands in his strong ones as he presented his own back to the whip.
As the whip swung through the air, the king bowed his head toward her ear and began to sing very softly as he cradled his mother in his arms. He sang:
Saw ye my Savior,
Saw ye my Savior,
Saw ye my Savior and God?
O he died on Calvary
To atone for you and me,
And to free us from sorrow’s great load.
He was extended, he was extended,
Painfully nailed to the cross:
Then he bowed his head and died,
Thus my Lord was crucified,
To atone for a world that was lost.
Jesus hung bleeding,
Jesus hung bleeding ……….. Anonymous, alt.*
*From: Church Harmony, 1884
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