Say, don’t you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Why don’t you remember, I’m your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?
―”Brother, Can You Spare a Dime,” lyrics by Yip Harburg (1931)
at Rosie’s Diner with a new friend
fresh off the streets, talking about faith,
talking about sin,
I don’t believe in the salvation,”
he said. He took a slug of coffee.
“Don’t believe in the eternal death,
neither.” He belched and added, “Friend,
no matter how much you got the sin,
the soul don’t go nowheres, no matter what faith.”
I sipped, listening to rain hit the window. “Faith,”
I said, “is about hope and belief, and salvation;
it’s taught by the Master, Jesus. He purges sin
with His blood, but not for everyone.” The waitress brought more coffee.
He slurped his cup down, got a refill, belched, and said, “Friend,
You’re gettin’ it all wrong [….] see, this here life is death”
He pointed to his chest [….] ”Physical death,”
I said, “and eternal death, aren’t the same [….] Faith
is given by Jesus, and I want Him to be your friend.
He saves us from earthly death and eternal death, and that’s salvation,
for us, designed by Him.” I sipped more coffee.
“He takes away our sin.”
“He transfers the sin
from us to Himself, and saves us from death.”
“I need a smoke and more coffee,”
he said, “before talking about the faith,”
and some chow, and that’s my salvation.”
We stepped into wind driven rain, and I felt the presence of a Friend.
He fumbled for a butt, struck a match, and said, “Friend,
I’m done full up with the sin,
[….] ain’t fit for no salvation”
only the death
He exhaled. “So where in hell you find this here salvation?”
I placed my hand on his heart. [….] ”Right here,” I said. “Let’s have food and coffee.”
My friend and I went inside for food and more talk of salvation.
We studied Romans 5 together, drank coffee, prayed, and he asked Jesus to forgive “the sin.”
“Still ain’t got much faith,” he said. I looked into his old blue eyes. “It’s ok,” I said, “Jesus has the death licked.”
© DB Lindsey Jr,
19 October 2011