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A Crown, by Murray Hohns

From Pneuma Review Fall 2001

I served as a mediator the other day. I have mediated many disputes over the past ten or fifteen years, but the last one was different than all the others. It involved a dispute between four Christian businessmen who had dissolved their partnership and in so doing had become deeply divided. To their credit, they chose to follow the peacemaker principles, which set forth a procedure to resolve disputes between people in the Kingdom of God.

One of the unusual things in the mediation was that each disputant could name a mediator, and thus there were four mediators and four disputants. One of the disputants had an attorney that acted as an observer and not a participant. All nine of us in the room were professing Christians.

Crown of Thorns, by Stan MyersThe mediation was scheduled for two days. One of the other mediators arrived at the conference room we were using early on the second day to review the file and to place a full size crown of thorns in the middle of the large table around which we all sat. I was the second to arrive, and after the usual amenities, I noticed the crown and said something spiritual like “why the birds nest?” I thought I was being funny, but I soon felt chagrin with my remark. My co-mediator said he had the crown at his office (he is a pastor) and felt prompted to bring it to the mediation. He further advised me that he did not plan to mention it when the rest of the participants arrived. And so it was, the crown of thorns just sat there in front of everyone all day long, and no one mentioned it.

Mediations are not easy for the mediator or the parties, and this one was filled with acrimony, tension and fear since a good sum of money was involved, and several of the disputants no longer had the cash that might be necessary to bring the dispute to a close.

As the second day wore on, I found my eyes and thoughts drawn to that crown of thorns. It was mean looking, being made out of Bougainvillea canes that had many long, sharp thorns. I remembered how careful I had been lest I pricked myself while pruning such bushes. I winced as I contemplated how it must have felt when the soldiers shoved a similar crown on the head of the Savior.

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Category: Fall 2001, Living the Faith, Pneuma Review

About the Author: H. Murray Hohns went home to be with Jesus on November 28, 2012. He was on staff at the largest church in Hawaii and served on his denomination's investment committee from 1999 until his death. Hohns held two degrees in Civil Engineering, an MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary, and served as an instructor at Foursquare's New Hope Christian College (formerly Pacific Rim Christian College) in Honolulu. He wrote six engineering books and hundreds of articles in every type of newspaper, magazine and journal.

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