Saturday, March 15, 2014

Leviticus Sixteen

Random choice from all the new goats
Priest taking some time to view
For not a blemish marring
Nor fracture, scab or scarring
Would make the grade
For what he had to do.
And trembling, quite unknowing
Pure innocence, here showing
He bore the rein, and left the Temple site.
The prayers had all been said
And sadly, on his head
A people's guilt and blame
Would now alight.
His escort knew the way
On this momentous day
But mused in wonder
As the miles they passed.
The dryness of the desert scene
The barrenness and fate unseen
Abandoned to a thirsting death at last.
Away, this scapegoat led away,
And with him all the wrongdoings forgot.
We thank him for renewing
A place with God, while viewing
The anguish that befell his lonely lot.

(Painting by William Holman Hunt)

Sunday, March 9, 2014


They called him Spike. Just like a nail. Totally bald. It was the chemo you know. Been that way for the last eighteen months. Now entering his junior year at McHale Secondary.

Spike had been one of the most determined light weights on the wrestling team. Seems as if he had a unique twist to get himself out of every potential pin situation. His Coach Bradford could only shake his head as the little guy kept on coming out on top. But this year the treatments had really slowed him down. It had become necessary to make him the Team Manager, shouting encouragement and tips from off the mat.

Another teacher, Miss Wyatt had a parallel affection for Spike. She knew that he was brilliant in his powers of expression, but holding back somewhat for fear of coming off as the “Browner” before his peers. No matter. This one would make it, if only the body would hold together. The tid-bits of exceptional prose and insight he offered in English class were some of Miss Wyatt’s signal moments in teaching. She fulfilled the role of Soul-Mother for several, not having ever enjoyed a family of her own.

Spike had a secret friend, Charlie. The man received chemotherapy at the same clinic. Discussions in the waiting room had covered a number of topics, sports, favourite fiction, travel experiences, and surprisingly enough, the Gospels. Charlie had been a sales manager at a car dealership for over twenty years. The thought of his wife Caroline would always bring a smile to his face. They had had no children. The cancer had pretty much taken Charlie off his feet. He began to ask the big questions. No one in his family had ever been stricken. Tell me God…what’s fair.

But a change had come. He had relinquished. Decided that no one was more worthy of the words compassionate, loving, true…no one more than God.

It was clear to Spike that the man was in earnest and had a quality of life and thought each day higher and better than most others.

Spike took a serious look at Luke’s Gospel, wrote an essay for Miss Wyatt on the scenario of Jesus’ mountaintop transfiguration followed by descent again into the valley of  suffering for ones like the epileptic boy (Luke 9: 28-45).

He heard of a Gospel concert coming to the local auditorium. Got a couple of his wrestling buddies to go with him. There was Spike, bald and shining, smiling radiantly, hands upraised as he gave his best in the praise choruses.

Unknown to him, Coach Bradford had caught wind of the plan and was seated with his wife ten rows back, not wanting to cramp Spike’s style.

Ripples of joy were emanating from that one pebble dropped into the pool of suffering with a grin and a hope. That pebble had only fourteen months left this side of Glory.