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“Where Love is, God is”

June 28, 2011

In Leo Tolstoy’s short story, “Where Love is, God is,” the main character, Martin the Cobbler, wonders how he would welcome Jesus if he came to him, and is told in a dream that Jesus will indeed come to him the next day. That day, he has three encounters with people in need. In two, he invites people in and ministers to their needs for warmth, rest, food or drink, and encouragement. In the other, he goes out to them and helps meet their needs for peace and reconciliation with each other and God.

At the end of the day, he remembers the words of the night before, and then hears a sound in the corner of his room.

The story continues:

Martin turned around, and it seemed to him as if people were standing in the dark corner, but he could not make out who they were. And a voice whispered in his ear, “Martin, Martin, don’t you know me?”

“Who is it?” Martin asked.

All of the people from the three encounters step forward one by one and say, “It is I,” and then smile at Martin and disappear.

The story ends:

And Martin’s soul grew glad. He began reading the Bible just where it had opened; and at the top of the page he read Christ’s words to the disciples, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me.”

And Martin understood that his dream had come true; and that the Saviour had really come to him that day, and he had welcomed him.

May the same be true of us. Amen.

(Conclusion of Reflection at 8:30 Service on June 26 – Tolstoy’s full story can be accessed at http://www.holytrinitynewrochelle.org/tolstoychristmas.html. The actual passage that Martin reads in the story is Matthew 25:35, 40. I adapted the story to make the passage the first half of Matthew 10:40, to fit in with the Gospel of the day.)

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