The Spring onion of Salvation

springonions350We love to tell stories. Jesus it seems was no exception.  Lazarus and the Rich Man.  It is a traditional tale.  We love the villain to get comeuppance, we love the hero to win and we love the journey between.  A story with many similarities to this turns up in, perhaps an unlikely setting, Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.  It has been made into a film, twice, the latest in 2008 in which you will have to deal with subtitles.  I’m told the film stops where most people stop reading the book, well I’ve not yet read the whole thing, nor seen the film, however the librarian is working her magic…  One tale that is captured in this book is partly about an onion.  I first heard a version of this tale as it was retold by theologian Alastair McIntosh in his very own scottish style.  The onion became a spring onion in that telling.  This tale also contains a very prim and proper lady.  A formidable Churchgoing woman no less and of very substantial means.  This is my pew, this has always been my pew.  Possibly since the reformation or even the laying of these very foundation stones.  It is a very traditional tale.  You’ll have to forgive me the artistic indulgence telling it in such a way.  Well our dear lady was very fond of tending her garden, you’ll imagine I’m sure that it was the perfect garden of suburbia.  Her garden, contained neat rows of flowers and vegetables, each in their place.  She was not so fond of anyone sharing her garden.  It so happened that God was passing by in the guise of an old beggar woman and decided she would pop in to see the lady, as she was a very good churchgoing woman you understand.  The beggar woman knocked on the door of the house.  Our dear lady was surprised to see such a figure at her door and was about to send her back down the garden path with a flee in her ear when the beggar woman asked for something to eat.  Now charity, the prim lady knew began at home, and she was indeed the recipient of her own charity on many occasions, but this beggar woman deserved nothing, how dare she call at her door.  However, perhaps a word or two of a sermon may have penetrated her thick skin and she took the beggar woman around the back of her house and selected from the compost bin one of the scrawny spring onions that had not been growing to her exacting specifications.  The beggar woman accepted the offered spring onion and went on her way.  Now many years passed and the lady died after living what was in all accounts a miserable life.  She arrived at the heavenly gates and was greeted by St. Peter.  I’m sorry said St. Peter, you’re expected below and he sent her away.  At that moment her guardian angel appeared.  Her life, the angel knew had not been one of great charitable acts, but she had been a good churchgoing woman of some stature and so the angel implored Peter to allow a little leniency in her case.  Peter sighed and went to see the boss.  Stroking his long white beard God reminisced of that day when he had taken the guise of the beggar woman and visited her home.  pulling him out of his reverie St. Peter asked, is this not a hopeless case?  God shuffled to his filing cabinet and drew out the spring onion, now rather shrivelled, that the woman had offered him all those years ago.  Take this and use it to pull the woman up.  If she makes it out of the pit of fire, she can be admitted to heaven.  St. Peter went down to the pit of hell and called to the woman offering her the spring onion to hold onto.  She grabbed the end of the onion and Peter began to pull her out.  Seeing that she was going to escape the pit of fire, the other souls in torment grabbed onto her legs, as she was pulled free, yet more grabbed on.  The woman kicked out at the other souls and screamed get off, get off, it’s my spring onion.  At those words the onion broke and she fell back into the pit of fire.
You’ll never find heaven, let alone peace holding on to feelings of hatred or exclusivity in your heart.
There must be a way in.  The spring onion was a chance to see her salvation in terms of everyone else.  Had the Rich Man helped Lazarus, but once, he would have offered God something to work with – a way in.

8 thoughts on “The Spring onion of Salvation

  1. The truth is, once you are in hell there is absolutely no escape, no way out ever! Time to do what is right and follow Jesus, the jester will fester forever, to he mockers will be forever sorry!

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