To Save the Lost

by DanWolgemuth on July 20, 2007

The Friday Fragment that I wrote last week relayed an encounter that I had on a flight to Chicago sitting next to a four-year-old girl by the name of Zion. I described her in the following terms: “She was disarming, bold, unafraid, and sweet.” So you’ll understand the complete recoil I did when I boarded the Southwest flight for my return trip from Chicago to Denver.

I was one of the last individuals on this flight, as I walked down the aisle the flight attendant chided all of the late comers to sit in the first available middle seat. That seat proved to be 20B. The young woman in 20C seemed nice enough as I stepped past her; but in that instant I caught a detailed glimpse of the young man that was seated in 20A, the window seat. Top to bottom he was dressed in black. He wore a black-hooded sweatshirt. The hood was not only over his head, but he had pulled it down as far as he possibly could in the front. The end of the sweatshirt greeted jet black sun glasses that he wore for the entire flight. He had a black beard, which simply added to the monochromatic mystique of the moment. The only visible color was a patch of exposed skin on his left arm, where the sleeve of his sweatshirt had voluntarily retreated. This exposed an imposing tattoo and many, many scars from what appeared to be self-inflicted cuts.

Where was Zion? The innocent, charismatic young girl that had been my companion to Midway Airport just three days before.

My present seat partner made no sound. He never acknowledged the flight attendant, he dismissed every offer without a sound. He physically hunkered down in his window seat and dared anyone to enter his space. On occasion he would reach up and tug the front of his hood further down on this face.

As I’d done three days before, I continued my journey through the Gospels, and with the precision of a skillful surgeon (although without the anesthesia) the Holy Spirit did His work. Did God love this reclusive seat partner less than Zion, or less than me? Was the love of Jesus repelled by the color black? Did the scars on an exposed left arm provide the grounds for dismissal.

Twenty minutes from Denver he began to stir, and I opened the dialog: “So, is Denver your home?” It was the best I could do. To my surprise, and delight, the next minutes were filled with dialog. No awkwardness, no strain, just the sense of the love of Jesus.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. ~ Luke 19:10

Enough said.

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