After The Execution
So, this is how it ends.
I watch. The body dangles in the gallows. All around people hang their heads.
Why would they grieve? I cannot fathom. The image shrinks and fades into swirling gray fog. Strange fog. Dark, misty, with glittering speckles, like sparks from a campfire.
I notice thunder through the fog, like the beating of huge wings. What is this place?
Of course, I am guilty. I deserved execution. Some of my accusers spat hot words at me, cursing me to hell. I couldn't fault them. How could I have hurt so many?
No question, living that way had to end. Wickedness stuck to that body of death like thorns, coils of barbed wire. Already, I've spent most of my years behind bars. So, what else is new? I am beyond hope, am I not? Will the deeds done in the flesh follow me to this place?
Who are you? What is this hand holding mine? I feel the softness of feathers, but also something strong like arms around me. I am dead, aren't I?
No words, but I understand I should look up. What I am feeling is not fear, maybe dread, maybe even curiosity; not hope, certainly. I don't want to pull back to the familiar; but do I want to find out what is ahead?
This fog is smoke. The sparkles glow more brightly. They were right! I am being ushered into the
abyss....but this isn't a pit. If it weren't for the shadow of smoke, the Light would be too bright to bear. The beating of wings is a cadence like the sound of orchestral percussion, and I hear a faint melody full of the most exquisite harmony. The pianissimo reaches for a crescendo. This is beauty beyond any sweetness I have ever known. Is this how the torture begins? With a glimpse of what could have been? Oh, such glory, how can I take it?
But the voices, ringing like bells of every size, are singing Hosannas. Even the trumpets have a voice. Oh, God, You are real. How can I face You? What a wretch I am. How can I be choking on sobs and tasting the salt of tears if I have left my body behind? I do not understand anything.
They all told me I was beyond redemption. But, I see a face. He is looking at me and I know....
"Woe is me," I wail. "I am undone, I am unclean, I am....lost!"
I cry, not in fear but in grief. How could I have wasted the precious gift of life? How could I have believed the lie and hurt so many? Weeping, I grind my teeth in regret. And then, I see the angel with a radiant coal taken from the altar reaching out to touch my lips.
"Your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged."
Even mine, Lord? Can You still forgive me? How can I begin to understand Your mercy, how deep and high and wide and long? Is it really without limit? Enduring forever?
Oh, why was my life such a waste? I have nothing to offer, no gift, my hands are empty.
As I cover my face with my hands, weeping in anguish, I recall a story about a shepherd. He had a
wayward lamb. After the shepherd finally broke the lamb’s leg and carried it in his bosom, the lamb
became so attached that he never left the shepherd’s side.
My weeping, no longer painful, begins to wash over me like a warm spring rain.
"The one who is forgiven much, loves much."
I see the Light. I see flaming seraphim around the throne burning with the purest love. I see that lake of fire as the bosom of the Good Shepherd. I see the Truth: Our God is a consuming fire! In His mercy, the One who is Love, takes all of our curse into Himself.
"I am a sinner, Lord," I whisper as I look into the face of Love.
"Where are your accusers?" He asks, and I have no answer to offer.
"Neither do I condemn you. Behold, I make all things new."
I kneel speechless, clinging to His nail-pierced feet, washing them with my tears....
And then, He wraps His arms around me, nestling me into His flaming bosom. He wipes all tears from my eyes and the chains of my life melt away.
I am free.
Isaiah 6:7 NKJV, Psalm 118:1, Ephesians 3:14-19, Luke 7:47, Hebrews 12:29, John 8:10-11, Revelation 21:5
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