Judgment on the Plain             

(Author unknown - slightly modified)
At the end of time billions of people were scattered over a great plain before God's throne. Most shrank back from the brilliant light before them, but some groups at the front were talking heatedly, not with cringing shame but with belligerence. Can God judge us? "How can he know about suffering?" snapped a pert young woman. She ripped open a sleeve to reveal a tattooed number from a Nazi concentration camp. We endured terror, beatings, torture and death. In another group a Negro boy lowered his collar. "What about this?" he demanded showing an ugly rope burn, lynched for no crime but being black. In another crowd a pregnant school-girl with sullen eyes murmured,"Why should I suffer, it wasn't my fault?" "What about me?" cried an old man. I worked over 30 years for a firm and then they flung me out. What does God know about being unemployed, rejected and useless?"

Far out across the plain were hundreds of such groups. Each had a complaint against God for the evil and suffering that he had permitted in his world. How lucky God was to live in heaven where all is sweetness and light, where there is no weeping or fear, no hunger or hatred? What did God know about all that men had been forced to endure here in this world. For God leads a pretty sheltered life they said. So each group sent out a spokesman, chosen because he had suffered the most. A Jew, a Negro, a person from Hiroshima, a deformed arthritic and a starved Ethiopian. And in the centre of the plain they consulted with each other. At last they were ready to present their case. It was rather clever. Before God could be qualified to be their judge, he must endure what they had endured. They said that God must first come to live on earth as a man. Let him be born a Jew and know continual unjust persecution. Let the legitimacy of his birth be doubted. Give him a work so difficult that even his family will think he is out of his mind. Let him be betrayed by his closest friends. Let him face false charges and be tried by a prejudiced jury and convicted by a cowardly judge. Let him be tortured and at the last let him see what it means to be terribly alone. Then let him die; let him die in agony, and so that there can be no doubt that he died, let there be a host of witnesses to verify it. As each leader pronounced his portion of the sentence, loud murmurs of approval when up from the great throng of people assembled.

And when at last they had finished pronouncing their judgement, there was a long silence. No one uttered another word. No one moved, for suddenly everyone knew that God had already served his sentence.