A Conversation with Jesus on Good Friday Night
In the Similitude of a Dream
by Everett Wilson
April 2, 2012
I did not actually dream this story but I might have, since everything in it is based on things I know. So, just as John Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim's Progress "In The Similitude Of A Dream," I will too. I will even go so far as to borrow his first line:"As I walked through the wilderness of the world, I lighted on a certain place where was a Den, and I laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a Dream." Here is my "dream."
I remember feeling drowsy; the next I knew, I was standing in a level place without landmarks. When nothing happened, I began to walk, looking both left and right for some clue that would help me find my bearings.
Then I realized I was not alone. Others also were walking, each on a straight line but never on a course that would lead to me. I discovered also that I couldn't alter my course and confront one of them. Though there was a multitude of walkers, there was plenty of room for each to pursue a solitary course.
As weird as it was, I wasn't frightened because I knew I was dreaming; I remembered the den where I had fallen asleep. Sooner or later the silliness of the dream would compound, and I would wake with cramped muscles in a damp cave to take on a new day in the wilderness of my world.
Then either the dream changed or I suddenly became more aware, because I realized that not everyone was walking. Directly ahead, but still far away, one was standing alone. Whoever it was, he (or she, or it) was waiting for me. The other walkers seemed not to notice.
As I came closer, I saw that he was looking at me with friendly eyes.
Then he—for it was indeed a man—called me by name, and I knew him. Again, I did not panic because I knew it was a dream; but I decided to take it as far as it would go. When I was just a few feet away I spoke.
"You're dead," I said. " I saw you die on a Roman cross this afternoon, before I ran away and crawled into the cave where I''m sleeping right now."
"Right on both counts," he said, "I'm dead, and you are dreaming."
"Okay, okay," I said. "Can you tell me the point of this dream?"
"Since I know everything, of course I can."
Dream or not, that provoked me. I raised my voice. "What do you mean, you know everything? People who know everything don't die the way you just did."
He was almost smiling broadly. His eyes were twinkling. "Bad logic," he said, "but we'll leave the Greeks out of this. Since I did just die that way, and I do know everything, you must be wrong. You don't understand what you know."
I was crying now from grief and frustration.. I had loved this man, though I had lacked the courage to die his horrible death with him. "Don't you have any idea what you put us through?" I bellowed. "We counted on you so much! Don't you remember encouraging us as you rode on that borrowed donkey in that pathetic parade, and we bought into it, shouting ourselves hoarse!"
Then his affirming hand was on my arm, as it had been in the past, "What were you shouting?"
"Don't pretend you don't remember! Hosanna! Save us!"
"I wanted you to say that you remember shouting a prayer. Is that what you were doing?"
"I suppose, but it was stupid. You didn't save us. You died."
"Yes, I died. Many kings have died to save their people. Many others have been willing to. The difference between them and me is that I am everybody's king, so I died to save everyone willing to accept it. . I answered your prayer. Did you think I was just telling a children's story when I told you, not very long ago, that the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep?"
Then I awoke in the damp and chilly cave. It was the end of the dream, but it wasn't the end of the story.
About the Author:
On Palm Sunday, April 1, 2012, Everett Wilson was standing with the rest of the congregation outside the front entrance of the church as the pastor briefed them about the procession with palms by which they would enter the sanctuary. She asked if they knew what "Hosanna" meant. Wilson should have waited for a Sunday School child to answer, but he felt compelled to shout the answer into the outdoor air, "Save us!" Then he was overwhelmed by the realization that the shout was a prayer that Jesus answered on Friday when he died. On Sunday night and Monday afternoon, he wrote the dream for The Partial Observer.
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