Reflections is the monthly newsletter of the Brookfield Uniting Church.
If you would like a copy, please email Edith McPhee, email@example.com
Following is the Minister’s Message from the February 2019 issue:
FROM the MINISTER’S DESK
“Looking into the fugitive’s eyes”
This is an old story of which there are many versions:
“One day a young fugitive, trying to hide himself from the
enemy, entered a small village. The people were kind to him and offered him a place to stay. But when the soldiers who sought the fugitive asked where he was hiding, everyone became very fearful. The soldiers threatened to burn the village and kill everyone in it unless the young man was handed over to them before dawn. The people went to the Minister and asked him what to do.
The Minister, torn between handing over the man to the enemy and having his people killed, withdrew to his room and read his Bible, hoping to find an answer before dawn. After many hours, in the early morning his eyes fell on these words:
“It is better that one man dies than the whole people be lost.”
Then the Minister closed the Bible, called the soldiers and told them where the fugitive was hidden. After the soldiers led the young man away to be killed, there was a feast in the village because the Minister had saved the lives of the people.
But the Minister did not celebrate. Overcome with deep sadness, he remained in his room. That night an angel came to him, and asked, “What have you done?” He said “I handed over the fugitive to the enemy.” Then the angel said: “But don’t you know that you have handed over the Messiah?” “How could I know?” the Minister replied anxiously. And the angel said: “If, instead of reading your Bible, you had visited this young man just once and looked into his eyes, you would have known.””
Like the Minister, who might have recognised the Messiah if he had looked up from his Bible and into the young man’s eyes, we are challenged to look into the eyes of the young men and women of today who are turning away from the church. Perhaps that will be enough to prevent us from handing them over to the enemy and enable us to lead them out of their hidden places into the midst of the people, where they can lead us from our fears.
(extracted from “The wounded Healer” by Henri Nouwen)