Each stood away from the other, his face turned anyway but there,
no meeting of eyes for these two, let alone hearts, minds.
One looked up to heaven, his prayer belying his blindness to the other,
“Thank God I am not like him! Such shame I could not bear!”
Did the other hear him? Did that prompt his fall,
his face turned down to the ground and the underworld,
his soul beaten down by his fist against his breast,
his conscience overwhelmed by the tragedy of it all?
And if the first then heard his humility,
would he in turn become convicted and find himself
strangely drawn to God’s mercy instead of this
haughty, hopeless economy,
and two were saved for the price of one,
so that heaven resounded with unexpected delight?
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A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing, by Rosalind C Hughes, is available from Upper Room Books.https://bookstore.upperroom.org/Products/1921/a-family-like-mine.aspx