“Step light and holy. Your fellow worker’s souls are at stake. ”
So wrote a friend when I told how little I enjoyed my new boss.
I did not know what he meant, or what connection his words might have to my plight.
Some time later I thought of Shylock:
“Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. “
Shylock, it seems, never saw a Christian who followed what was written to the Hebrews:
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
Abel’s blood calls out for revenge – but justly so. Abel was murdered by a brother who should have defended him to a fault, and murdered not in an outrageous over-reaction to some sibling argument but for sheer spite, mere envy over God’s favor.
Abel was as right as Shylock to call for blood.
But we need better things spoken to us and for us.