CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN NETWORK
Continuing the work of Jesus : Peacefully ~ Simply ~ Together
UNOFFICIAL WEBSITE OF THE CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
Mary is a young intelligent, outgoing student at a leading Christian university and hastily scurrying across campus one afternoon to Ethics 230, one of her favorite classes. She liked the professor, in spite of the fact that she often disagreed with him and didn't get the grades she anticipated. He was well known by all students for his elaborate object lessons and he had a unique way of getting students to like him, even though there was much disagreement over issues and prospective solutions. Class time was usually fun time because he successfully made learning interesting.
Students generally looked forward to his instruction despite their conflicting opinions. Upper class men remembered his lessons and, just to keep in touch, routinely asked younger students what was happening in 230. On this particular day as Mary walked into class, she knew they were in for another fun day, because on the wall was a big target with a large selection of darts on a nearby table. The professor told the students to draw a picture of someone that they disliked or someone who had made them angry. He would then tack their picture upon the target and allow them to throw several darts at their hand drawn foe. They were further instructed to refresh their memory as to why they disliked the person, and while throwing each dart, to concentrate on the events surrounding this memory. A close friend of Mary (to her right), drew a picture of another girl who had just stolen her boyfriend. Another friend (on her left), drew a picture of her practical joking little brother, and someone else (just behind) drew a picture of his grouchy elderly neighbor. Mary decided to draw a picture of the professor because she disagreed with him and got less than superior grades. She actually liked him but resented his giving her lower than expected grades, which caused her to occasionally storm across campus after exam scores were returned.
Great detail went into her drawing and she was pleased at the overall resemblance. Presuming that he would undoubtedly see the likeness, she had already prepared a humorous type of response for him, a sort of "lighten up big boy - what, can't take a little criticism" type of explanation. She was looking forward to this! Give me my chance to dart this guy for once!
The professor then took each picture and attached it upon the target on the wall so that each student, in turn, could then begin throwing darts at their own picture. The class lined up in single file and began throwing darts with much laughter and promptings. Bursts of "try harder" and "throw harder" frequently erupted above the clamor. A few students threw their darts with such force that the target itself was ripping apart. Mary looked forward to her turn, but was unprepared and filled with disappointment when the professor, because of time limits, asked the students to return to their seats. Now Mary was really angry because she didn't have a chance to throw darts at her picture. "He did that on purpose!" she thought. Other students also murmured feelings of resentment because they also had been denied the opportunity to dart their adversary.
The professor then removed the target from the wall which exposed a haunting picture of Jesus that had been hidden underneath the target all the time. A complete hush fell over the room as each student viewed the mangled picture of Jesus, holes and jagged marks covered His face, that His eyes were pierced out. The students began weeping as they recalled how they had thrown each dart with glee and forcefulness. A few students were noticeably shaken and one began crying openly. While stuffing his papers into a valise, the professor then said only these words, "In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me." He then quietly and unemotionally walked out of the room, leaving the students with yet most of the hour long class session remaining. Not a word was said. Tear filled eyes were riveted on the picture of Christ. Most of the weeping students remained frozen in their seats, even for several minutes after the bell rang. Finally, they began leaving the room slowly with tears still streaming down their faces.
Mary learned that she had been darting the professor all year long. Just not darts made of metal and plastic. In reality, she had really been darting Jesus. Maybe her grade level was not the fault of the professor, but her attitude.