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The Lazarus Man

I met the Lazarus Man on the A Train last week. Tall, well-dressed, dark-skinned and handsome with a sonorous voice, he offered me his seat and asked me if I read the Bible.

As literature, I said.

He was wearing a gold ornamental necklace that fell gracefully to his chest, Lazarus and his two dogs. I didn’t know the story.

Jesus restored Lazarus to life, he said. You’ll find the story in the Gospels:

“Here was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores."

Angels descend when we are weary and troubled, he continued. I see both on your face today, neighbor. You will be restored to life.

Is that a prophecy or a promise?

Both, he said.

Then he introduced me to his wife who was sitting to my right.

Fifteen beautiful years, he said.

And does a religious man such as yourself vote? I asked.

Praise God, I do, he said, and laughed.

Because one wonders, or I do—let me just speak for myself—what on earth these cynical and opportunistic politicians of ours are thinking or, more importantly, feeling. We’re real people out here, working hard, raising our families, traveling on the unreliable A Train, going to the shops to buy food, worried about health insurance.

I have no answer other than kindness. It’s in the Bible. Ah, I see we have arrived.

Our conversation had taken place from 59th to 145th Street. How much time had elapsed? Just a few minutes, not even a half-hour.

And now we must leave, he said. It was good to meet you today, neighbor.

Likewise, I said. Thank you for giving me your seat and your blessings.


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