11/15/15 Rev. Larry Schneider
Saving the Bride and Groom
In good literature there is always a story within a story within a story, and the last one to be told is always about you. The greatest story ever told is one about us. I have two stories for you today. The first is about two beautiful sisters living just beyond town. As siblings often do, they argued one day. Which one was most beautiful? They decided that each would walk through town, and the sister who attracted the most people would be the most beautiful. The first sister, Truth, walked through town naked. People retreated inside their homes, shutting their doors and windows. They were afraid of the Truth, especially the naked Truth. But when her sister “Story” joined her, people came out of their homes to join them both. You always have to accompany truth with story.
My next story is called the Bride and Groom. It is from the Jewish tradition. It refers to the 36 righteous people placed on the Earth by God. A very famous rabbi known for his compassion and “gift of sight” (he could see into a person’s soul) was called to a dying man’s bedside. As he entered he got weak and turned white. Quickly recovering, he went to the man’s side. The old man said he was afraid of dying; he was afraid the scales of judgment would be too light on the side of good deeds. The rabbi asked him to remember a good deed from his past. The man did recall when he was walking into town one day, there was a team of horses running wildly with a bride and groom in the wagon. He slowed the horses and shouted “Jump!” to the bride and groom. They did but the team was out of control and the wagon crashed; the horses perished. But the bride and groom were saved. Then the old man recalled other good deeds he had done in his life. Then the rabbi asked that after he got to heaven, would the old man come back and tell him about it.
A few days after the man passed, the rabbi was again seen to blanch then regain his color. He explained that the first time he had seen into the old man’s soul and saw that he was one of the 36 righteous, so pure that even the old man himself did not know he was one of the 36. This time the old man returned to tell the rabbi that when he got to the gates of heaven, they were closed. Angels brought the scale of justice, but then he heard a team of horses with a wagon coming. As they passed he jumped up on one and rode it right through the gates into heaven!
There are moments when we get a glimpse of heaven, like when we are honest on our tax returns or with the spouse. So when you do the right and loving thing this week, in that moment you will have just saved the bride and groom!