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SAID, "IT THUNDERED"
By Paul deParrie
September 8, 2003
"'If you believe abortion is a lethal force, you should oppose the force and do what you have to do to stop it,' [Paul] Hill said calmly, lying beneath a white sheet and strapped to a gurney. 'May God help you to protect the unborn as you would want to be protected.'
"Hill's ominous final statement was prefaced by a thunderclap, which echoed just as the curtain in the glass-plated death chamber parted, allowing 15 official witnesses and 14 reporters to view his last moments."
So went one of the many reports of the execution of Paul Jennings Hill at the hands of the government as punishment for his interference with the other state-sanctioned killing - abortion. Other reports noted that drenching rain began at the approximate time of death for the remainder of the day - soaking all who came with their various agendas.
It seemed melodramatic. Thunder and lightning accompanying the final words of one that some called a hero and a saint. Darkness and rain dooms the rest of the day. If someone wrote this into a modern movie script it would be "over the top" and rejected, yet maybe God, even in these modern times, is not beyond melodrama.
It seems reminiscent of a couple of things in Scripture. The first is Luke 23: 44-48:
"And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man. And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned."
Back then, God was not above a bit of theatrics to make His point - and no, I'm not claiming any divinity for Paul Hill. Hill was only the most recent example of God using a bit of flash to drive something home.
I notice that it was a Roman centurion, a hardened man at best who had just participated in nailing the Savior to the cross, who was first to recognize the hand of God. It is so true that God hides things from the wise and often reveals them to the foolish. (Luke 10: 21) It was only after the centurion spoke up that others in the crowd, those "chosen people of God," finally began to see through a glass darkly.
The best example that came to mind when I read these reports, though was found in John 12: 28-29: "Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him."
This time God actually speaks. But, lo, the people (as usual) are deaf - or nearly deaf. Oh, they HEARD alright, but they did not HEAR.
"It thundered," one group said. Another thought maybe an angel spoke to Jesus.
No one GOT IT. They were all too busy with their own agendas, and their own opinions, and their own doctrines, and their own selves. Rightly did the prophets say that this people's hearts grow fat and they hear, but do not perceive.
I wasn't in Florida. I only read the reports. I heard that it thundered. What did you hear? What did Paul Hill hear?
© 2003 - Paul deParrie - All Rights Reserved
Paul deParrie is a 17-year veteran of anti-abortion street activism, a preacher, and a social critic. He is the author of "Dark Cures: Have Doctors Lost Their Ethics" (Huntington House) available at NewsWithViews Online Store Front. DeParrie may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I notice that it was a Roman centurion, a hardened man at best who had just participated in nailing the Savior to the cross, who was first to recognize the hand of God."