God, Not Death has the final word
Though he had no real awareness of time passing, it was three days later that Mark felt a slight itch behind his eyes. Then he heard the hushed mumbling of other humans. He tried to move his body, an arm, a leg, even a finger and realized that nothing would respond to his intentions. If he could just blink, maybe the itch behind his eyes would go away.
He focused on his eyes. If he could just move an eye, he thought, then he would know that he wasn’t dead. After what seemed a long time and a lot of energy, slowly one eyelid began to move slightly.
He heard a squeal of delight. “He’s coming around. Look, his eye is moving.”
As others would explain to him in the next several months of recovery, his body bounced off three church banners on the way down and then into a survivors net that the firefighters had constructed just in time. The swat team bullet had ripped through his shoulder but the wound was healing nicely.
Several days after he awoke, he asked about Ethan. After he was arraigned, a friend explained, Ethan convinced the court that he wasn’t a threat and he was released on a bail raised by contributions from the student body and Mark’s own congregation. He came directly to the hospital and refused to leave until he could talk to Mark. When Ethan walked in, his first words were, “Hey, Jacob, I’m so glad you taught me the truth.”
“Falling five floors and surviving convinced you?” Mark asked.
“No, risking everything for my sake convinced me. I’ll still have my doubts, but you reflected the God I want to believe in. If I had fallen, my life would have ended without value. I was totally focused on myself. If you had fallen to your death, your life would still have had value, not only to me but to those who witnessed what you did and those who told the story to others.”
“So are you willing to be a hypocrite with me?” asked Mark.
“I can’t think of a more meaningful way to live my life,” responded Ethan.
This is the conclusion to the story. I hope you enjoyed it and will let me know.
Now you enter the season between Easter and Pentecost. I have decided to provide you with a new serial, “Truth and Consequences: A pastor confronts sexuality.” It will continue to be posted each Monday morning. As the story proceeds, I hope that you will ask yourself how you would handle the situation after each installment. Join in the conversation of the real life of clergy.