Vicar’s Reflection: Martin the Cobbler. Advent 1, Sunday 1 December
Martin, the Cobbler, is a story told by Leo Tolstoy about a poor and lonely shoemaker who is promised in a dream that Christ will come to visit his shop. The next day Martin rises early, gets his shop ready, gathers the last remaining food to make a meal for his expected guest and waits. The only one who showed up in the morning was an old beggar who came by and asked for rest. Martin let him lie on the bed he had prepared for his divine guest. In the afternoon only an old lady showed up, with a heavy load of wood. She was hungry and asked for food. He gave her what he had prepared for his divine guest. As evening came, a lost boy wandered by. Martin took him in for warmth and a bite to eat, afraid all the while he would miss the Christ. That night in his prayers he asked the Lord, “Where were You? I waited all day long.” The Lord answered:
“Three times I came to your friendly door,
Three times my shadow was on your floor.
I was the beggar with bruised feet.
I was the woman you gave food to eat.
I was the homeless child on the street.”
Be ready! Christ may be closer than you can imagine.
Alex Czerwonka (with thanks to J. Howard Olds)