Sat 6 Oct, 2007 12:20 am
"I LOVE YOU SON"
AFTER A FEW OF THE USUAL SUNDAY EVENING HYMNS,
THE CHURCH'S PASTOR SLOWLY STOOD UP,
WALKED OVER TO THE PULPIT AND,
BEFORE HE GAVE HIS SERMON FOR THE EVENING,
HE BRIEFLY INTRODUCED A GUEST MINISTER
WHO WAS IN THE SERVICE THAT EVENING.
IN THE INTRODUCTION, THE PASTOR TOLD THE
CONGREGATION THAT THE GUEST MINISTER WAS
ONE OF HIS DEAREST CHILDHOOD FRIENDS AND
THAT HE WANTED HIM TO HAVE A FEW MOMENTS
TO GREET THE CHURCH AND SHARE WHATEVER
HE FELT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE FOR THE SERVICE.
WITH THAT, AN ELDERLY MAN STEPPED UP TO THE
PULPIT AND BEGAN TO SPEAK.
"A FATHER, HIS SON, AND A FRIEND OF HIS SON WERE
SAILING OFF THE PACIFIC COAST," HE BEGAN.
"WHEN A FAST APPROACHING STORM BLOCKED ANY
ATTEMPT TO GET BACK TO THE SHORE.
THE WAVES WERE SO HIGH, THAT EVEN THOUGH THE
FATHER WAS AN EXPERIENCED SAILOR, HE COULD NOT boat
KEEP THE BOAT UPRIGHT AND THE THREE WERE SWEPT
INTO THE OCEAN AS THE BOAT CAPSIZED."
THE OLD MAN HESITATED FOR A MOMENT,
MAKING EYE CONTACT WITH TWO TEENAGERS WHO WERE,
FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE SERVICE BEGAN,
LOOKING SOMEWHAT INTERESTED IN HIS STORY.
THE AGED MINISTER CONTINUED WITH HIS STORY,
"GRABBING A RESCUE LINE, THE FATHER HAD TO MAKE THE
MOST EXCRUCIATING DECISION OF HIS LIFE: TO WHICH BOY
WOULD HE THROW THE OTHER END OF THE LIFE LINE.
HE ONLY HAD SECONDS TO MAKE THE DECISION.
THE FATHER KNEW THAT HIS SON WAS A CHRISTIAN AND
HE, ALSO, KNEW THAT HIS SON'S FRIEND WAS NOT.
THE AGONY OF HIS DECISION COULD NOT BE MATCHED BY
boat103THE TORRENT OF WAVES.
AS THE FATHER YELLED OUT, 'I LOVE YOU, SON!'
HE THREW OUT THE LIFE LINE TO HIS SON'S FRIEND.
BY THE TIME THE FATHER HAD PULLED THE FRIEND BACK
TO THE CAPSIZED BOAT, HIS SON HAD DISAPPEARED BENEATH
THE RAGING SWELLS INTO THE BLACK OF NIGHT.
HIS BODY WAS NEVER RECOVERED.
BY THIS TIME, THE TWO TEENAGERS WERE SITTING UP
STRAIGHT IN THE PEW, ANXIOUSLY WAITING FOR THE NEXT
WORDS TO COME OUT OF THE OLD MINISTER'S MOUTH.
"THE FATHER," HE CONTINUED, "KNEW HIS SON WOULD
STEP INTO ETERNITY WITH JESUS AND HE COULD NOT
BEAR THE THOUGHT OF HIS SON'S FRIEND STEPPING INTO
AN ETERNITY WITHOUT JESUS.. THEREFORE, HE SACRIFICED
HIS SON TO SAVE THE SON'S FRIEND. "
HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE OF GOD THAT HE SHOULD DO THE
SAME FOR US. OUR HEAVENLY FATHER SACRIFICED HIS ONLY
BEGOTTEN SON THAT WE COULD BE SAVED. I URGE YOU TO
ACCEPT HIS OFFER TO RESCUE YOU AND TAKE A HOLD OF THE
LIFE LINE HE IS THROWING OUT TO YOU IN THIS SERVICE."
WITH THAT, THE OLD MAN TURNED AND SAT BACK DOWN IN
HIS CHAIR AS SILENCE FILLED THE ROOM.
THE PASTOR AGAIN WALKED SLOWLY TO THE PULPIT AND
DELIVERED A BRIEF SERMON WITH AN INVITATION AT THE
END. HOWEVER, NO ONE RESPONDED TO THE APPEAL.
WITHIN MINUTES AFTER THE SERVICE ENDED, THE TWO
TEENAGERS WERE AT THE OLD MAN'S SIDE.
"THAT WAS A NICE STORY," POLITELY STATED ONE OF
THEM, "BUT I DON'T THINK IT WAS VERY REALISTIC FOR A
FATHER TO GIVE UP HIS ONLY SON'S LIFE IN HOPES THAT
THE OTHER BOY WOULD BECOME A CHRISTIAN."
"WELL, YOU'VE GOT A POINT THERE," THE OLD MAN REPLIED,
GLANCING DOWN AT HIS WORN BIBLE. A BIG SMILE BROADENED
HIS NARROW FACE. HE ONCE AGAIN LOOKED UP AT THE BOYS
AND SAID, "IT SURE ISN'T VERY REALISTIC, IS IT? BUT,
I'M STANDING HERE TODAY TO TELL YOU THAT STORY GIVES
ME A GLIMPSE OF WHAT IT MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE FOR GOD
TO GIVE UP HIS SON FOR ME.
I WAS THAT FATHER AND YOUR PASTOR IS MY SON'S FRIEND."
Meanwhile, the altar boys, having been abused by the priest, are just wishing the old man had saved his own son when he had a chance, and spared everyone his "oh so revealing" moral lecture.
People just love a good sacrifice story don't they. Especially one with a twist at the end for those nasty skeptics who just refuse to swallow their moral-porridge with a smile like everyone else.
I wonder if that's partly why christianity endures; people just love a good story. It doesn't have to make much sense, just has to play those heart strings like a violin.
It's ironic that the title of the story is "I love you son", when this father let his son down when the son needed him the most. It should have been titled "I love my belief more than my son".