"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

From cowardice to courage, a rock

The sky turned as black as the gloom in his heart when his friend was executed.
The fisherman was afraid, confused.
He wanted to go back to his boat--to smell the water, to feel the breeze, to see the canvas sail stretching in the wind, the hear the lap of water against the wooden hull, to grasp the thick rope nets with his callused hands, to strain with the weight of the fish, to taste the thrill of a full catch, to sweat with fish-smell under the sun, to come home bone-tired at the end of a long day. Then he could sit down, his tanned, muscular arms and back aching, but satisfied, happy. Then he could  drink wine, eat fish, tell stories, sleep soundly.
He knew he could do that--free of doubt, free of failure, a success.
Instead, he was in this city, cornered, afraid, wondering what happened to his life, to his friends, to his Friend. He'd turned his back on them, acted like a coward.
He was ashamed of his fear, depressed by his actions.
What had happened to him, he wondered? He'd lost his confidence, his backbone. Never in his life had he backed down from a fight and run like he had these past few days.
 It was time to go fishing, back to the only thing he knew for sure.
***
But 50 days later, he stood up before a huge crowd, rock-solid, shook off the fear, ignored the threats and ridicule and danger and opened his mouth in defiance.
He spent the rest of his life turning the world upside down with a revolutionary message, even though every time he spoke he was hammering another nail in his coffin lid. 
And after 30 years, when he spoke his mind once too often, they'd string him up just like his friend. But no one questioned his courage then; he was long past cowering. The fisherman faced his own death with rock hard will, without any gloom in his heart.
What happened to him?
The sky turned black, and the fisherman and his friends fled. Someone else buried the friend, and then two mornings later, the fisherman summoned up enough courage and guilt to go to the grave.
But it was empty, and the blackness in his life vanished. A few days later, his friend forgot the fisherman's failure, and gave him a new fishing job. He found rock hard courage, respect, hope, a life's purpose—and eternity.
That’s why he bravely stood up before a religious crowd and told them they'd murdered his friend, and there was good news and hope for everyone. Because of the empty grave which filled his empty heart. 
You can see what he went through in his words many years later. Writing a letter to  persecuted followers of his friend, he probably almost cried as he remembered: 
"In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.. ."
Remember the big fisherman, Peter, and his Friend, when the sun comes up behind the lilies this Easter Sunday, and the blackness vanishes.

1 comment:

  1. Mercy is Gods greatest attritribute...
    i am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.
    have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete