I remember watching the Alfred Hitchcock show, years ago, as a child. Seems to me that it used to begin with his silhouette slightly to the right side of the screen. The unique nose mounted on a protruding, somewhat pouty lip. It was unmistakable. Batman’s cowl . . . Indiana Jones hat are other iconic silhouettes.
Dr. Sar, a Chilean retinalogist, was registered in my mind by his silhouette. That was all that I could see with two rips in my retina. His outline was comforting to me in my near darkness . . . gentle . . . reassuring.
The man who stabbed me in the first parsonage that my wife and I inhabited . . . two o’clock in the morning . . . I can still see his darkened form against the bedroom door that was open into the hallway. I’ll never forget that night.
I’ll never forget last Friday night either. The limo drive west into the setting sun from Trenton AFB to Toronto . . . a widow, two adult fatherless children staring wide-eyed and overwhelmed at the road ahead. We were following two hearses, midst a motorcade of police vehicles, an escort along a stretch of road that we know by the number 401, but better by the name, the “Highway of Heroes”.
There was not a single overpass that was not overdressed with people and emergency vehicle silhouettes. They were nobly framed against the yellows and reds of twilight’s last gleaming, applauded by the audible gasps of this mourning family, and mirrored in moist, appreciative eyes in the darkness of the coach.
Some of these dear nameless silhouettes had been in their cold station for hours, uncertain at the exact time that the procession would pass beneath them. Most all of them would have no idea just how much their black forms would mean in that moment, and the living comforting memory being permanently etched as a priceless gift in the hearts, of this wounded family.
It is so hard for us to appreciate the worth of the ministry of presence. We look for awkward things to mumble as though our words were more important than that simple comforting realization that others care enough to “be” with us in our darkest hours.
Presence says it all . . . Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” And he doesn’t . . . He is there in the shadows, the silhouettes, the breath of wind that gently stirs the trees, the kindness of a friend, the pages of His Word, the flesh and blood presence of His People silently shouting, longing to be able to extinguish the pain that must run it’s course and in the passage of time, bring healing.
We know his silhouette as well, mercilessly stretched over a roughly hewn cross.
We’ll see it again in a new way when the dead in Christ will rise to welcome Him, this time against the rising sun and the eastern sky, . . . our Redemption drawing nigh.