He sits beside the dusty road.
His face, his soul are caked with dust.
He slumps beneath guilt’s heavy load.
The glaring eyes, the jaws outthrust,
the scornful stares no longer burn;
accustomed to his people’s hate,
he dares not hope enough to yearn,
too dead to mourn his dying state.
Across his view some children run,
Leaping, laughing with delight.
Heads turn, and down the road there comes
a man with eyes alive with light
who smiles as the children play.
His footsteps trace a joyful dance.
The tax-collector looks away
and wishes for another chance.
He hears the dancing steps draw near.
He does not dare to raise his eyes.
He feels the weight of shame and fear,
but deep beneath the surface lies
a thirst for life, for love, for good,
for someone to call him to be
more. If only someone would.The Teacher says, “Come, follow me.”