Letters from Antioch, the story of Senior Soledad


Salvador returned to the Community Center in Tahoe Pines where he healed the paralyzed child before. Again, a large crowd gathered, and again, there was electricity in the air.

The clerks with brief cases and the Tea Party people told each other, “We are ready for this clod this time.”

They also told themselves, “We found a dumb old Hispanic, a migrant worker, by the name of Senior Soledad.”

Senior Soledad before his sunburns

His hands and body had withered with age and working out in the sun. Further, he had been out working even harder than normal, and his skin was scorched red. The man was in pain, which his eyes reflected. His back bowed low, and his eyes spoke of nothing but fear.

The Separate Ones tried, without success, to persuade their friends in big business, “We need to reenact the old blue laws. In particular, we are concerned with drinking, smoking, and other unnecessary activities of the riffraff. This will return morality to our country. Morality will bring harder workers willing to work for the privilege of working, and that means less pay. This will make our country great again, and you richer.”

While they stood in their pulpits the fundamentalist ministers preaching very hard, “God fearing, religious and pious people to not do any unnecessary work on the Lord’s Day.”

The glory of the Baptist Church

The fundamentalist ministers argued, “Here we have this ignorant migrant. He was clearly not learned English, he is ignorance, and he works on the Lord’s Day. We also have this fool who calls himself religious.”

Would this man, Salvador, heal this man on the Lord’s Day, in a church, or would he leave the man unhealed, and watch as his riffraff friends left him? The fundamentalist ministers forgot that Salvador did have some options. One was that he could tell the man to return in the morning. The blue laws would not apply then, and the healing could be done in private.

Lee Stone told himself, “The man spent the major part of his adult life developing this problem, so a few more hours will not make that much of a difference.”

Salvador told his followers, “I have no choice. Here is a Christian brother and a fellow human being hurting. This cannot be. Action must to be taken, and taken now.”

Salvador asked the man, “Please, come up to the center of the group; after your years of hard work with little pay, you deserve the place of honor.”

The man shook with fear as he stiffly came forward. He stepped forward in a very stooped over gait, and his eyes spoke of nothing but fear. He did not understand much of what was going on, but he felt almost as if he was a pawn in some power game.

Is Senior Soledad as man or a pawn?

He looked at Salvador and the men in their suits and commented, “Sólo la gente adecuada vestido adecuadamente pertenecen a esta empresa.’ ‘Only proper people dressed properly belong in this company.”

He also noted, “Yo soy gentuza, yo no pertenezco a este lugar.’ ‘I am riffraff; I do not belong here.”

Salvador asked the Separate Ones, “Which one of you, upon seeing a family pet caught in a fence in a gully would not pull out cutters and free his pet? How much more valuable is any man than any pet?”

Salvador asked them, “Sometimes you members of the middle class forget this. Now is it proper to do noble things on the Lord’s Day, or to make rot, to save a life, or to kill it? Should it be lawful to do noble and beautiful things on the Lord’s Day?”

Salvador looked into their cold eyes indicative of their shallow hearts. The more he looked, the redder his face became and the tighter all of his muscles became.

Hurt seemed to billow from his eyes, as he mourned, “It hurts me badly, this putting of the law before humankind, the reason for the law.”

The look on his face changed from one of anger and hurt to one of compassion as he looked at Senior Soledad.

Salvador looked at the Separate Ones, again with compassion and murmured, “It is sad, what brought these men to have such cold hearts. I must remember how ignorant they are.”

Salvador asked the man, “Please sir, stretch out your hand.”

Senior Salvador after healing

When Senior Soledad did, Salvador gently touched him. When he did, his whole body became smooth and tanned golden. He did not look his 40 years of age, though before he could have passed for 60. Immediately the Tea Party representatives and the ministers from the Separate Ones went out with their conservative political friends.

They started conversing outside, “How are we going to get rid of our problem?”

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