There’s a new arrival on the scene, the new comer who is causing a bit of a stir locally. A little mysterious about His origins, (although there has been talk of him having had refugee status in his early life), his presence with us is proving more than a little controversial.
He flouts the rules of convention regarding keeping women and the poor at arm’s length. He reminds us of the simplicity and beauty of children and the value of giving them time and attention. And as for what is acceptable to do on high days and holydays – well, there appear to be no boundaries!
He has challenged the system through his stories of a foreigner stepping up to care for a victim, of an employer who pays a fair wage, of a father who runs , yes runs to embrace his foolish, wayward son.
He casts a vision of a new order, different to the values of the world we live in – a place where the least and lowest are feted; where the hungry are fed, the naked are clothed; where the Welcome is whole-hearted and there is Shelter.
He’s had friends, close friends, by all accounts but he’s been badly let down by them. Those who had previously expressed support couldn’t stay awake to ‘watch’ with him, pray for him when he most needed it. When the officials came to detain him, I hear that he was deserted. Silent when faced with the usual taunts of verbal abuse and physical attack a new arrival gets, the only time he spoke was to talk of ‘a kingdom not of this world. ’ What could he have meant?
A lethal cocktail of false accusations, indecision and duplicity has raised questions as to where the truth lies. Now, events seem to have overtaken us and I fear he’s been subjected to an unfair trial where the political expediency of the day has prevailed. It’s all so unfair and so confusing.
The scene is set for his incarceration tomorrow and his name is on the list. These occasions are always a spectacle but somehow this time there’s a huge sadness, too. Nobody likes to see a good man die. I notice this evening, on my home that an inscription is being prepared to have put above his place of suffering. It’s a sign which will speak to everyone gathered as it’s been translated into several languages.
This lifts my spirit a little. After all the events of recent times, when there’s been so much divisive talk, fear and even hatred could his death unite us in helping us to make sense of it all?
Could his vision of a new way of living be true?
And will there be room for all of us as citizens in this kingdom of mercy, compassion and Love?
Hope rises as a whisper in my heart.