Winter skies faded dusty gold
Reaping a rich sunset, scarlet-red
In somber silence, a stranger stood
In the shadow of three rugged crosses
At the church of Las Cruces
The stranger stared. At the first cross.
Planted in hard ground. The second nailed.
Firmly to a wooden door. And gazing upward
His bleary eyes saw a cross raised high.
Upon a belltower.
In the shadowed gloom of night
The stranger shivered while windows glowed
Warmth beckoning him in, instead he halted
And feeling unworthy as any soul on earth
He fell to his knees.
And relived in his mind life’s blows.
I am not worthy to rest here, he cried.
As a voice echoed to him in the night
And where the first cross stood a story unfolded
Most profoundly rendered to him aloud
A story of true faith.
Faith that lived not within four walls
Or in great religious halls of wealth or grandeur
But within any quiet believing heart.
The heart of a child.
As he listened, the second cross shone
Shimmering bright, purer than silver
And telling the story of a blessed Saviour
Whose love surpassed all earthly measure
And as the night chill deepened icy cold
The stranger slept softly on snowy ground.
Startled, as the third cross awoke him.
With songs of saints and angels in the air
And stories of the One who died upon a cross
Who rose forever from death to save lost mankind
And from the stranger’s mouth came words
He’d heard somewhere along life’s winding way
Jesus, will you remember me
when You come into your Kingdom?
And then came an incredible reply
Words sweeter than any earthly flowers
Reached his ears, and warmed him through
I tell you, you will be with your Lord
this hour…in Paradise.
By dawn’s first light
A padre rambled up the trail
Leading to the church at Las Cruces
And there discovered a lifeless homeless man
Clutching in his palm a few worthless coins
And something else most rare. A white rose.
No one knew where he’d come from
But where a sad tale ended a legend was born
And from that day onward a thorn grew
Just outside the church’s narrow back door
And bloomed but once a year, in December.
Reminding all who saw it – of truth
And how often in life’s darkest days and hours
God’s greatest miracles are birthed.
Copyright 2011, S. Michaels
Five Star Notebook