The Hungry Lion
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 1:04 PM [+]
You realize, of course, that there is a Lion in our little village? No, true, you cannot see him, he only comes out of hiding late at night – to hunt, but oh you can see his victims. How many have we buried? I cannot count.
The Lion has always been with us, ever since the first of our people settled here, and it will no doubt continue to haunt us. There are times when I wander through the village and seeing the day to day activities going on: a young man and woman in courtship, a couple arguing over cleaning duties, a man and merchant haggle over pennies in the price of a walking stick, and a woman dutifully cooks little meat patties to be sold, I am forced to label the whole affair of life as insanity. Have these people forgotten the Lion? Do they not know that this very night he will likely seek his prey once again? How can we live with this harbinger of doom perpetually hanging over our heads like a sword dangling from a frayed line of string?
I have watched the people shudder at the sight of mangled, half eaten corpses being carted off to the cemetery on the other side of the hill – hidden from the frivolity of life in the village. So many, look away – not just from the bodies – but also from the thought of the Lion…out of sight out of mind, I suppose. But their feigned ignorance avails them nothing when the Lion feeds on them and sends their remains in the very direction they have spent a lifetime turning away from.
Others, a few others, have taken up arms with the intention of slaying the beast and they have spent many a late evening watching and waiting. Some have returned with elaborate stories of near success and narrow escape to which the villagers ascribe a good deal of hope. Many others of these hunters have never returned from their nighttime searching and are in fact now “resting” on the other side of the hill.
I have met some villagers who spend much of their time devising ways of avoiding the Lion. The have evolved elaborate rules and practices which are intended to stave off the beast and delay what we have come to believe as inevitable. They boast much of how long they have avoided the Lion, but the boasting never lasts long and we cannot hear them now on the other side of the hill.
But I witnessed a very strange happening last evening. When I heard a ruckus outside late at night, I sprung from my bed and through a small crack in the shades of my window I saw a young boy alone outside – for reasons unknown to me - and he was standing face to face with the drooling and snarling Lion. Truly the sight terrified me as I held my breath, and while initially mesmerized by the strength and power of the huge lion, something else caught my eyes and gave me pause. The young boy stood motionless and faced the beast – there was no hint of fear in his eyes no apparent intention to try and flee. And the Lion, somewhat taken aback by this curiosity, hesitated. I heard the boy then speak:
“You know, as I well as I Lion, that though you roar and rage, you are in truth toothless and clawless. For I know Him who returned from the other side of the hill, whom you devoured, and I rest peacefully in the hope and sureness of His victory over you. You may consume me now, but it will all come to naught – just as it came to naught for Him. You are destroyed and He will cast your carcass away and then retrieve me whole from the other side of the hill.”
Enraged by these words, the Lion pounced upon the boy and promptly ate him.
“No one in his senses doubts that a snake is dead when he sees it trampled underfoot, especially when he knows how savage it used to be; nor, if he sees boys making fun of a lion, does he doubt that the brute is either dead or completely bereft of strength. These things can be seen with our own eyes, and it is the same with the conquest of death. Doubt no longer, then, when you see death mocked and scorned by those who believe in Christ, that by Christ death was destroyed, and the corruption that goes with it resolved and brought to end.”
On the Incarnation