TITLE: Saving the World
By Donald Standeford
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Imagine you have taken upon yourself humankind’s sins. “Okay,” you say, “I will step up to the plate for humankind!”
You stand before crowds who await your voice. “I am here to save you!” Your voice booms to the masses. The sky darkens. You squint upward. A gray blanket of twisting, turning stones blocks your sun.
As you turn to run from the gray cloud of meteorites, you hear the curses. “Blasphemer! Traitor! Tell us, Great Prophet, who cast that stone at you! This one!That one!”
This is how your beloved congregation treats you? You have unfriended people on Facebook for less than this. Oh well, saving the world is tough. You trudge on. If saving the world from sin were easy, anyone could do it. Moreover, those stone throwers probably are not a majority.
Hope returns as you enter the beautiful Garden of Gethsemane. Dropping to your knees in front of a boulder, you close your eyes to pray. “What is happening? I feel so heavy, depressed, and dark. Is it possible to continue on this path? Lord, you must help me to bear this burden. Sweat travels in rivulets from your brow to your face, soaking your hair.
You wipe away the sweat. The unbearable weight of agony presses upon you. In the faint moonlight, you see blood on your hand. “Did a sharp rock hit me?” The more you pray, the more the pain increases. A vision overtakes you. The whole of humanity’s sinful struggles appears in your mind. You squeeze your eyes tighter, but the images are only clearer.
Sick souls, sick bodies, people in the act of committing horrible sins; this is what fills your eyes. All is ugliness. Is redemption for humankind’s atrocities possible? It seems unlikely. You see shadows of murderers standing over their victims. Is humankind worth saving?
“Lord, if you will, remove this cup from me.”
As you pray, a disciple approaches.
“You seen the roll of toilet paper?”
“I think Judas was in charge of the toilet paper tonight.”
“Darn! Jesus, I just don’t understand.”
“What don’t you understand, Peter?”
“You know Jesus.”
“Do that thing you do, Jesus. You know, when you tell me what I’m thinking?”
You sigh. “Peter, Satan has requested you be sifted like wheat. Pray now for strength to battle.”
“I understand Jesus, sorry.” A scuffing of sandals on rock strewn dirt. “Sorry, Jesus. I should not be talking parlor tricks. Bye.”
“You heave a big sigh. That clumsy angler climbing up through the brush past the fig tree is a difficult one, but his heart is pure, unselfish, and true. “Peter!” Voice strained, you tilt your head to peer up the hill. “Peter?”
“What Lord?” Tension. Peter sounds like a kid caught overstepping his boundaries.
“Peter, I believe you were wondering about Judas, how he could afford that expensive vineyard. You think he is stealing money from the fund.”
“Wow, Lord! That never gets old. When you read my mind it increases my faith!” Peter’s laugh echoes through the shadowy midnight garden. “Sorry Lord, it’s just every time I ask you a question I feel stupid for voicing it since I know you know my every thought. In a way, I feel I’m making it hard on you speaking out the question, since you already know what I need to ask.
On the other hand, if I don’t voice the question then it’s not much of a conversation, is it? Besides, if anyone heard us talking but all they heard was your voice because you would be hearing my voice in your mind and I would not be talking; that could be awkward. On the other hand…”
“Sorry Lord. I’m doing it again, right? I talk too much, I know. Sometimes I think I think too much too, and I wonder since you know what I am thinking if it bothers you that I think so much.”
“Peter, will you pray with me?”
A pause, clearing of the throat. “Sure Lord. Might be a few minutes. Judas disappeared with our toilet paper, and the purse. I cannot find, borrow, or buy the toilet paper. It’s a mess.”
Peter climbs upward in the dim moonlight, humming a tune. He is on the great toilet paper quest. You think it might be possible that one should die for the sins of humankind. Redemption is not a too far stretched a notion after all.
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