A reading for Lent. It could be done with one or several voices.
I met a man the other day as I was wandering through a wilderness. He was limping.
I said – Are you hurt?
He said – No. I have stone in my shoe.
I said – What kind of stone?
He said – It’s yours actually. Your pain and disappointment. Your embarrassment and frustration. Your emptiness and loss.
I said – Why not take it out so you can walk properly?
He said – Because that’s why I’m here, in this wilderness, I’m walking for you. For your pain and disappointment.
Can I take it out for you?
No. It’s too heavy and it’s not only yours. There’s a whole universe in it. A world of turmoil and uncertainty, conflict and anguish, pride and falling.
But can’t you do this another way?
No. I’ll be walking like this for three years now.
Then I’ll take that stone with me to a cross and I’ll lay it down. Along with everything else I have.
And then what?
Then there’ll be a chance for others to bring the stones they carry, and lay those down.
I watched him limp away, past a pile of rocks looking remarkably like fresh bread, past a treasure chest of immeasurable global wealth, past an adulating crowd demanding selfies and autographs. On into that lonely hungry desert. Limping yes, but beaten, no. There was something strong about his weakness, something rich about his poverty. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. There had been a kind of fresh air in that desert conversation. And long after he faded into the shimmering heat, I was left wondering about that stone in his shoe.
Matthew 4 v 1-11