“What do you mean, ‘it’s only a car?’” Ben interrupted with a look of angry desperation. “It’s only my life! What do you think about that?” P. 112
We are in the middle of a very important campaign, our first since pre-pandemic days, to raise $20,000 for the Catch Ministry. To help us focus, we have chosen the GO LIVE! theme anchored in the story of Ben Beamering from the novel Saint Ben. Join us, as often as you can, for a live reading of the novel on Zoom with discussion following, every day at 12 noon PDT. Each reading is tied to the day’s Catch. GO LIVE! with us!
This is a major turning point in the novel, Saint Ben, that we are going through as part of our GO LIVE! Campaign. (That’s because Ben is always GOING LIVE!)
Ben’s strange love-hate relationship with the 1958 Edsel car begins to come into focus at this point in the story. The boys in the story have been dancing around this strange car since the beginning of the book, and now, finally, the cat is out of the bag. In this very tender moment, tucked into their favorite hiding place under the juniper bushes with a light rain falling, they both say too much. When Ben gets emotionally wrapped up in his disappointment over the new 1959 Edsel, and Jonathan blurts out that it’s only a car, Ben loses it and connects his own future to the fate of the Edsel. Now we know why this car is so important. The fate of the Edsel is the fate of Ben, and it doesn’t look good for either of them.
It’s as if the boys had wandered into forbidden territory, and even though they step lightly out of it, and never speak of this again, still, they know. The secret is out and the secret is not good.
Can you think of an instance in which you know a secret that carries ominous portent for someone you love? I can. It’s not a pleasant thought. It’s called death and judgment, and it awaits anyone who does not know Jesus Christ. There is a heaviness of heart that we bear at all times, knowing the fate of the human race that sin brought into the world. We feel it for ourselves and we feel it for everyone else.
It’s why Jesus was called a “man of sorrows acquainted with grief.” Even though He knew He was headed to the cross where He would make everything new, He still bore the emotional weight of all that sin and sadness in the world. He could not escape it. And neither can we. Though we know the grace of God that is greater than all our sin, we also still carry the weight of that sin and the knowledge that not everyone is going to accept God’s generous offer of salvation. We know that death is coming and judgment will follow. This should create a deep sense of compassion in us. Jesus wept with that compassion. He came unto His own but His own did not receive Him, and He bore the weight of that rejection, not for His sake, but for theirs. Scripture says that Jesus wished He could gather the whole city of Jerusalem under his wing as a mother chicken does with her chicks, but they would not come.
Death is constantly on our tail. We can’t escape it, nor should we. But it should create an intensity in us that will cause us all to GO LIVE! with the gospel of welcome — grace turned outward — to everyone, everywhere.