Walking The Roman Road – Lenten Season 2019
“Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him – to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen” (Romans 16:25-27 NIV).
Jesus Was An Alien
“Give him some air,” someone said.
“He’s coming around. Help him sit up.”
I was back. I didn’t want to be back. There was the has-been Santa, smiling at me as if he knew every secret in my heart. I struggled to get up and someone offered me a chair.
“Some delegate,” the Secular Humanist said. “He fainted dead away.”
His name was Richard. How did I know that?
“He has gone and come back again,” the old man said. Then he looked straight at the Secular Humanist. “And he has survived.” The delegates became quiet. The old man looked around the room until he got to me. Then he smiled.
“I believe that you have a report to give us of your interview with my Son,” he said.
“Uh, I…..I’m not sure what to say.”
“Tell us what is in your heart. What did you make of my son, Jesus? What was your impression of him?”
“Jesus,” I said, “…was an alien.”
It just came out. Even I was surprised. I didn’t know what to say. Silence reigned for the time it took my words to register, and then a loud guffaw came from the Secular Humanist, Richard, as his hand slapped the table hard.
“I knew it.” He looked around at the other delegates. “Jesus was an alien. I knew it was something like that. All this talk about God and the supernatural and it was aliens all along.”
Richard was certainly relieved but I couldn’t believe what I had just said.
“Well, that is…. umm….what I meant to say….” But I couldn’t seem to say anything else. I looked quickly at the old man but he was looking at Richard with a small smile playing at the corner of his mouth, his hand propping up his chin as he slouched in his chair. He didn’t say anything.
“Well, if Jesus was an alien,” Yohann Schiebert, the Jewish delegate, said, “then God must be an alien as well.”
“And Allah,” someone else said.
“Perhaps all of the great prophets and wise men were aliens.”
The comments chased each other around the room for a moment but then quieted down as every eye, growing wider, turned toward the old man. A question was waiting to be asked.
Richard, the Secular Humanist leaned forward, sweat on his brow. His right hand shook a bit but he pressed it firmly down on the table. “Are you, Sir, an alien?”
“Sir, is it?” the old man said. He stood up. His fingers made tents on the table top as he leaned forward to gaze at the gathering. He seemed to grow taller and stronger. His presence filled the room.
“I think you are ready to hear his report now.” His voice resonated with power. This was no has-been Santa in flip flops. That much was clear.
He turned away but then stopped to look at the young man who sat against the wall. He was the one who had given him the peanut butter and jelly sandwich and the apple.
“Are you ready, my son?”
“Yes, Lord,” the young man said, a smile bright on his face. “You know I am.”
He stood up and joined the old man, standing arm in arm, their backs to the table, facing the big set of double doors that opened wide of their own accord, a brilliant light shining through them into the room. The two of them walked forward into the light while the doors slammed shut behind them.
The delegates sat in silence for a long moment. Yohann Schiebert, who was sitting beside me, cleared his throat. “Well, then, I guess we had better hear your report, young man.”
I looked at him and then at the others and, finally, at Richard, the Secular Humanist. He looked satisfied with himself for some reason.
“Can I ask you a question?” I said, looking straight at him.
“Why are you so happy?”
“Are you kidding?” Richard said. “Didn’t you see what happened? We just made first contact.”
“That wasn’t first contact,” I said but he wasn’t listening anymore. Richard was fighting with his cell phone.
“I can’t get any reception in here,” he said. “I have to get ahold of the President.” He stood up and slammed his cell phone on the table, breaking it. “Somebody get me a cell phone that works, dammit.” His people broke into a frenzy of activity but none of the cell phones were working. One of the assistants went to the big double doors apparently intending to find a working phone in another part of the building but the doors would not open. Someone checked the secondary doors leading out of the room at the back, but they were locked as well.
“What about the windows?” someone said.
“We’re three floors up.”
“We can always yell for help.”
One of the delegates was already at a window.
“No, the windows won’t even open.”
“Break them open,” Richard said. “This is important. Use a chair if you have to.” But nobody moved so Richard got up with a grunt, grabbed a chair and threw it at the window. It bounced back onto the floor without doing any damage whatsoever.
“I think we need to hear the report,” Yohann Schiebert said. “Maybe then he will let us go.”
“Let us go?” Richard said. Then he sat down hard in the nearest chair and decided to keep his mouth shut.
“Please, go on,” Yohann said to me when the room had quieted down. “You were saying that this is not our first contact with these aliens.”
“No, it’s not.”
I was quiet for a long moment. Then I looked at the Secular Humanist again.
“Richard,” I said. “I don’t think you understand. These aliens are dangerous. You can’t play games with them. They are deadly serious… about saving us.”
“Saving us?” Richard said, “From what?”
The murmuring in the room rose for a moment and then went quiet. “We admitted to the old man that there was something wrong inside us, deep inside us, that is ultimately the cause of all our wars and suffering and pain. Right?”
Heads nodded around the room.
“It was a moment of honesty I am beginning to regret,” Richard said.
“But if it’s true –?” Yohann said.
“We need to fix our own problems,” Richard said. His voice cracked like a whip. “We can’t let a bunch of aliens get involved in our affairs. How do we know we can trust them?”
“I didn’t say we couldn’t trust them.”
“If they’re dangerous, you can’t trust them,” Richard said. “Isn’t that obvious?”
Not to me. I looked around the room. The rest of the delegates were listening with great interest to the discussion but not participating yet. Why not?
The Protestant delegate decided to speak up.
“I think the question is who they are dangerous to and who can trust them. After all, if you work with them, they become your allies, don’t they?”
“You want to be a collaborator?” Richard said his eyes wide. “You would betray your own people just to save your own measly white skin?”
“That’s not what I said.”
“Calm down, calm down,” Yohann said. “We are here to assess the danger and to determine what they are up to. If we can collaborate to keep the peace, we should consider that, but if we must fight, then that, too, can be arranged.” Yohann was starting to show some backbone. I liked him. “The real issue,” he said, “is to find out what their intentions are. We know that they are real and that they are powerful. Let’s give our friend here a chance to give his report so that we can find out their plans.”
The room burst into a quiet round of applause to indicate their agreement. I looked around.
“I apologize that I was speaking only to Richard. I don’t know the names of the rest of you.” I leaned forward to look closer at the name tag in front of one of the delegates and then shook my head. “Anyway, this message is for all of us.”
“As I said, Jesus plans to save us from ourselves. But don’t think that he, or the old man, will force you to comply. Apparently, they will let you make your own decision whether or not you want their help.”
“That sounds fair enough,” Yohann said. “We already admitted that we have a problem and they seem willing to help. Why do you say they are dangerous, then?”
I didn’t know exactly how to reply to this line of questioning. “Look, they are a highly moral race. They believe in something they call ‘agape’ love.”
“Yes, from the Greek,” the Protestant delegate said. “It’s the divine love. When you love someone who doesn’t deserve it, even your enemies, you have agape love.”
“Yes, well, they think we should all have it,” I said.
“Well, that’s a good thing, isn’t it?”
“But it’s not possible…”
“How are we supposed to do that?”
Yohann lifted his hand and silence was granted to him. “There is no question that this is a lofty and beautiful goal,” he said. “Many of us here, from various religions, would agree.” Heads nodded. “Even if we had the power, or the will, to pull it off, it is a rather dangerous vocation in our world, don’t you think – loving others that may not love you back?”
Before anyone could respond, another voice broke into the discussion.
“May I say a word?”
Heads turned toward the young monk who had just stood up from his chair against the back wall. I couldn’t tell who it was.
“Certainly, young man,” Yohann said. “Please.” He indicated that he should step forward by the table and address the delegates.
“Before he left, the old man said some things that have come like hammer blows upon my head. I cannot stop thinking about them.”
“Remind us,” Yohann said quietly.
“He said that we need the power, wisdom and resources of God to solve the problems of this world, did he not?” Heads nodded in agreement. “He also asked if any one of us could handle that responsibility.”
“Yes,” the Pope said, “and we told him honestly that it would destroy us. We can’t handle it.”
“Exactly,” the young monk said. He turned to face the Pope. “Holy Father, do you remember his answer to that honesty?”
“Yes, I do. He said that we either had to become divine or discover a new relationship with the divine.”
“And, even more,” the young monk continued. “He said that evil cannot become good and therefore we cannot become divine. That option is not open to us.” He hung his head for a moment. “I am not accustomed to thinking in such absolute terms. I want to grant evil a place in this world together with the good, the one as necessary as the other.”
“But you can’t anymore?” the Pope said gently.
“No. I cannot.” He was quiet for a long moment. “I do not want to abandon my people or my religion. I believe that we, on this side of the room, have not entered fully into the debate because it seems that this has to do with your religion and your God. But that is no longer true. It has to do with all of us.”
“It’s all right to talk about tolerance and understanding between our various points of view when it was just us at the table,” he said. “But now that he is here, things have changed. Now, it is about truth. It’s about the way things really are. We have seen the face of reality, perhaps the ultimate reality, and he is order without chaos, good without evil.” The young monk, with his hands flat on the table, leaning forward, his face down, shook his head from side to side as if to throw off a great weight. “I don’t know what to think anymore.”
“Sit down, sit down,” the Buddhist delegate, who was seated at the table, said to the young man. “It’s all right. Sit down.” Then he turned to the other delegates. “My son is right. This has to do with all of us now. Some of us may have to take bigger steps to accept the reality of the situation than others, but we have no choice. We must have some joint response to these aliens.”
Again heads nodded around the room. It looked like the discussion would start to get serious now. Everyone was engaged. Everyone now understood that they had a stake in what would happen next. This was real. It was as real as it could get. I couldn’t help but smile. How did he do that? I had to say one more thing before we could get into the details of my report.
“May I make something clear?”
“Of course,” Yohann said.
“There are actually three of them, but he is also only one. It’s hard for us to understand because we don’t have a good example of that down here.”
“That’s to be expected when you’re dealing with aliens,” Richard said. “They’re different, even when they look the same.”
“Exactly,” I said. “Some of what they have to tell us will be hard to believe or accept. It’s their perspective on things that puts a whole new interpretation on everything we know.”
“Yes, we understand. What else?” They were impatient to get on with the report and the discussion. But I wasn’t done.
“They are incredibly powerful and they have an enormous army of winged, spirit-like, beings that will do anything they say.”
“That’s important intel,” Richard said. Then he swore under his breath. “I’ve got to get a hold of the President.”
“Apparently there is an inter-dimensional war between these winged, spirit-like, beings and other winged, spirit-like, beings for the control of earth. Ours are, apparently, good and the others are evil.”
“According to whom?”
“That’s what I was told,” I said.
“It could be the other way around, couldn’t it?”
I raised my hand to stop the discussion.
“Listen, from everything that I could tell, our side is the right side. They stand for love and justice and fairplay and the other side is full of deception and evil.”
“Our side?” Richard said. “I haven’t chosen a side yet.”
“Well, apparently, you have.” I looked around the room. “We all have.”
Yohann spoke up. “Are you saying that we’re already on the side of good?”
“No, Yohann,” I said. “We aren’t on the side of good, at least most of us aren’t. We’re on the side of evil.”
“Why do you say most of us?”
“This has been going on for a long time.” I said. “Many people have already chosen to switch to God’s side. But the rest of us, by nature, are automatically on the side of darkness whether we are aware of it or not. It has to do with this problem we have inside of us.”
“Good….Evil. I don’t think it’s so black and white,” Richard said.
“In this battle it is, believe me.”
“Well, maybe he will lose this war,” Richard said.
Was that satisfaction in his voice?
“Well, actually, he’s already won it.”
“What are you talking about?” someone said. “Is the war already over?”
“It wasn’t really a war and, no, it’s not over yet.”
“Young man, you really must be clearer,” Yohann said.
I decided to stand up and walk around to get my mind thinking more clearly.
“Well, God is infinitely more powerful than the Evil One and he could have won the entire thing right at the beginning with a snap of his fingers. But he didn’t do it. He allowed the war to go on.”
“He allowed it?” Richard said. “Then he is responsible for it all.”
“Yes, he allowed it.” I said. “That’s why we have suffering and evil and death in our world. But he isn’t responsible for the mess we are in. We are responsible because we sided, and continue to side, with the darkness every day, to one degree or another.”
“That’s convenient,” Richard said with a snort. “He allows it but it’s all our fault.”
“Look, the only reason God allowed the war to continue was to save you, Richard, to save all of us.”
The room was quiet again.
“God could have won the war easily if it was just a question of power,” I said. “All he had to do was destroy everyone who was on the side of evil and be done with it. But that would have included us since our natures have been compromised and we are prone to evil. He wants to win this war with love, his agape love, to entice us back to a new relationship with him. Once we are safe, then he will deal with the forces of evil and anyone who decides to remain on their side.”
“Why are we on the side of evil?” Yohann said. “We aren’t all bad. There’s a lot of good in us yet, isn’t there?”
“Maybe. I don’t know about that,” I said. “All I can tell you is that it’s related to this problem that we have inside us, this evil within, and that’s a problem we all have. We just admitted it to him a little while ago.”
Again the room was silent.
“I still don’t accept that we are as bad as all that,” Richard said, his voice subdued.
“Nobody said that we were totally evil all the time,” I said. “Only that we have cut ourselves off from God and joined the other side and find ourselves with a nature that is inclined toward the darkness. Evil, by definition, is independence from God, our Creator. We can’t be completely good on our own. We were created to be utterly dependent on our Creator. It isn’t about morality first of all; it’s about our relationship with him. If we cut ourselves off from him, we become slaves to our desires and we don’t have the power to overcome them and then, quiet frankly, anything goes.”
“I’m not a slave to anybody,” Richard said.
“It’s a way of saying –“
“Saying what?” Richard was just looking for a fight.
“Look, Richard,” I said. “I’m just saying that you do whatever you want.”
“Well, I would think so.”
“Even when it’s wrong and you know it’s wrong. You do it anyway because you want to, even if it isn’t good for you or anybody else. Right?”
Richard was quiet.
“Right at that point, the point of wanting something that isn’t good for us or for anybody else, at that point of evil desire, we are tempted and many times, not all the time, but many, many times we give in to the temptation, hoping we will get away with it. We have a tendency to give in because we are slaves to our dark desires. We do evil because we want to. That’s what gets us into trouble in this world.”
“Look, if I break the law, I’ll go to jail.” Richard said. “If other people don’t like what I do, they can decide not to deal with me or be my friend and what I do with my own body is my own business.”
“Not if you and everybody else belong to God,” I said. “Then it’s his business as well.”
“Not if I can help it,” Richard said.
“Yes, you can choose not to come to God’s side, to stay independent if you like,” I said. “And God will let you get away with it for a time. But we live in a just universe and God will not forget anything you have done nor anything you have said, including today.”
“I’m not scared of this alien God of yours,” Richard said.
“You should be,” Yohann said looking at him for a long moment. Richard seemed to shrink under that gaze.
Then Yohann looked at me. “So, what you are saying is that we don’t have the power to overcome our evil desires by ourselves.”
“Exactly,” I said. “Most of the time we don’t even want to. Just look at human history or look at our own lives. Some of us are more screwed up than others but, at heart, it’s all the same problem. We are cut off from God. We have personal experience of good and evil but, without God, we don’t have the power to overcome the evil, selfish impulse in our lives so we are overcome by evil instead.”
“Overcome by evil,” Yohann said, as if he were thinking out loud. “Yes, we do need help, I think. We experience good and evil but the evil within us is too strong. We can’t control it entirely. It makes sense.”
“What we need is a stronger desire, something more powerful than evil. Strong families help, education helps, even the moral aspects of religion can sometimes help.”
There were murmurs of agreement from the delegates.
“But they aren’t enough and often they are misleading.”
“Why is that?” Yohann said.
“Well, for one thing, this alien God requires complete goodness not partial efforts. Agape love for everyone, even our enemies, is the standard. It’s the only thing that is strong enough to solve our human dilemma. With all of our modern science and technology we haven’t even come close to solving the human problems of this world and to think that we will is simply unrealistic because the problem is within.”
“Well, I don’t think so.” Richard said. “I think we are doing great. It won’t take long for us to deal with poverty, and then wars won’t be necessary, and life will be better.”
“Really?” the Pope said, getting back into the discussion. “Didn’t we just tell this alien God that we needed power, wisdom and resources beyond our ability to produce? Didn’t we agree that we don’t have the ability to handle that kind of responsibility and power on our own, that absolute power corrupts absolutely, that the problem is within us? Or have you forgotten already?”
Before Richard could reply, I jumped back in.
“Look, Richard, let’s not play games. It all comes down to this thing within us. Do you really think we can overcome temptation and evil desire and do what is right? If we could live in peace and work together for our common good, why are we having this conference?”
Richard said nothing.
“We have to accept some realities here,” I said. “We have some good in us, we love each other somewhat, we even take care of each other to a degree, but not enough, not near enough. It might get a bit better or we might fall back into war and terrorism and despair at any moment. Sooner or later, we have to deal with the source of the problem.”
“I think we are agreed that the solution to the evil in human nature is beyond our ability to solve on our own,” Yohann said. He looked around the room to get agreement from the rest of the delegates.
“So, we need something beyond ourselves, beyond our own natures which have been weakened and compromised by our willing slavery to our own evil desires.” I said. “Our partial love for others and for ourselves won’t be enough. Our natures won’t be enough. We need to have our natures changed. We need to become new creatures, reconnected to God.”
“You’ve got to be kidding,” Richard said, smirking. “New creatures? New natures? Now this is really getting weird.”
“It’s the way we were created to be,” I said. “This life cut off from God, being slaves to the evil within, that’s the weird thing. That wasn’t God’s original intention when he created our world. We need God to come live in our natures and make us into a new kind of person. We need a new relationship with the Divine. It’s as simple as that.” I was exhausted and slumped into my seat. The room was quiet for a long moment.
Then the Pope decided to speak again. He had made his decision long ago I was sure. “That sounds pretty accurate to me,” he said. “Apparently, these aliens know us pretty well.”
“They should,” I said. “They are the ones who created the world and all of us, according to them, of course.”
“I don’t believe it,” Richard said. “I don’t believe in all that hokey, pokey horseshit. We evolved on our own and we can deal with our problems on our own. We don’t need them.”
“Maybe not,” I said. “But they are here to stay and we have to deal with them.” I looked over at Richard. “Do you remember what he said to you?”
“He said that if you didn’t want a new relationship with him, you wouldn’t get one, remember?”
Richard’s face went white.
The young monk pushed himself away from the wall where he had been leaning. “He also said that we wouldn’t always have his blessings and benefits either. What was that all about?”
“Well,” I said, “if he’s the one that created this world and all of us, I would think that we sort of, uh, belong to him in some way. Don’t you think?”
No one answered me.
“If he made this world, he can unmake it,” I said. “I don’t think he wants us to take anything for granted. We can’t just go on thinking that this life is normal. He won’t put up with our rebellion forever. We have to accept that this world doesn’t belong to us. It has an owner. We have an owner, a father, a creator. This life is a sort of purgatory. It’s an in-between place. There is both good and bad here, both promised land and desert. It is a place of decision. It’s not normal, this life of ours, but rather deeply, fundamentally abnormal. I mean, we can actually get away with doing what is wrong, doing evil, in this world that belongs to God and still enjoy his blessings. How long do your think he will put up with that?”
Then I realized what was really going on and my heart began to race. “Don’t you get it? There’s a reason why he showed up today. Time must be short. We don’t have much time left. A decision must be made.”
“This can’t be happening,” Richard said.
“But it is,” Yohann said. “We had better face reality sooner rather than later.” He turned to me. “What is he proposing to do about our situation?”
“He decided to die for you, Yohann.”
“Die for me?” Yohann said. “Oh, yes, Jesus the Messiah, on the cross. I find it difficult to keep in mind that these two stories are one and the same.”
“Isn’t that the truth,” Richard said.
“Give it time, Richard. Let’s hear the young man out.”
“Yes, but if we don’t like it, we go to hell.” Richard turned to me. “That’s what your saying, isn’t it?”
“I’m just telling you what I was told,” I said. “But yes, that’s the idea. Apparently, we are being given a chance to choose again. This evil spirit-being that is running things for the other side apparently deceived the first man and woman and continues to deceive people even today. So God is giving us another chance to decide whether or not we want to come back under his authority, to be reconnected to him and to have a new nature. That’s how he created us and that’s the only way to become truly human and truly good again.”
“And if we don’t?” Richard said.
“Then he will give us what we want. We can be with him or be with the other side. But this in-between life of some good and some bad won’t last forever. This life is a sort of temporary truce to give us time to make a decision. Individually we will all die at some point but also, in terms of the whole world, he will bring it all to an end someday soon. All the good in the world, the sunshine, the beauty, the joy, the relationships, love – those are his blessings and benefits. If you choose him, they will continue. If you do not, they won’t.”
“I thought you said he wouldn’t force us to join him,” Richard said. It was an accusation not a question.
“There are always causes and consequences to every action and every decision we make,” Yohann said. “Knowing the consequences doesn’t obligate us, it informs us. Our scriptures tell us that the fear of the Lord, which means taking God seriously, is the beginning of wisdom.”
I looked at Yohann and caught his eye. He smiled sheepishly.
“Even an old man, such as myself, can throw out a pearl once in a while,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.
I turned back to face Richard.
“Listen, Richard, I don’t know what to say. It’s up to us. If we don’t choose for God, we are already on the other side. We can’t be neutral, not with the kind of natures we have, so we are part of the opposition. God stands for love. The other side stands for everything evil. It’s not a hard decision.”
“Yes, it is,” Richard said, slamming his open palm on the table. “I don’t want to be forced to choose any side. I want to be my own man.” He was breathing heavily. He stood up suddenly, addressing them all. “Do you think for a moment that your lives won’t change? He won’t leave you alone. He will ask you to do things for him that you won’t want to do.”
Nobody said anything.
“He will become your God, people, don’t you get it? A real God with real demands. He will have authority over your lives. You will lose your autonomy, your freedom, your independence. Mark my words. You will regret the day you let him take over.” He sat down with finality.
“From what I can see,” Yohann said, “he’s already taken over.”
“Richard,” I said slowly, “maybe I didn’t make it clear before.” I was groping for words. “He’s good. He loves you. He’s not a tyrant. He’s more like a lover or a friend.” I felt a check in my spirit so I stopped. Then I knew what I had to say.
“Richard, you’re married, right?”
“Do you remember what it was like when you first fell in love with your wife?”
“I suppose. We’re talking about getting a divorce now.” His face was made of stone.
Lord, how do I get through to him?
“Well, it’s like falling in love.” I said. “You give up your freedom in order to have a relationship with the woman you love. You don’t even think about the fact that you’re giving up your freedom or your independence. You just want to be with her, to love her. That’s all that matters.”
“What’s your point?” Richard said.
“It’s the same with God. You have to want a relationship with him. In fact, in your heart, it’s exactly what you want. It’s what we all want, if we only realized it. He is what every human heart yearns for. He made us that way. He is our Father. Our Creator. He is Beauty and Joy. He is Love and Hope and Friendship and he is vitally interested in your good. He wants only what is in your best interest and it is in your best interest to give up your independence and accept that you belong body and soul to him. Yes, he will have authority in your life, Richard, but it is the authority of a loving Father not a tyrant.”
“I hated my father,” Richard said.
“Richard, there is no such thing as independence from God. No one can be autonomous. We weren’t created that way. It doesn’t even work between humans. We need each other psychologically, physically, intellectually, on every level. It’s the same with him. We need him. We cannot exist without God. Every moment we breathe and live, we are already utterly dependent on him, whether we realize it or not. But that is just the physical level. He wants more than that. He wants a conscious relationship with us where we choose to love him, trust him and follow him. The physical life we have is temporary. Our relationship with God, for good or bad, is eternal. We cannot survive death, or the consequences of our rebellion, without a new relationship with him. We were meant to live forever, with him.”
“I am fine with this life,” Richard said. “I won’t be dependent on anybody or anything. You can tell that to your alien God.”
“I think he already knows,” I said quietly.
“Fine. I’m through here. I’m leaving.” Richard got up, hesitated, and then marched to the big double doors and shouted. “Open up these here doors, right now.” He paused. “Right now. I mean it, dammit.” He stamped his foot hard against the floor.
He went up to the door handles, pulled, and the door swung open. He looked back in triumph and then walked out. The door swung shut behind him. One of his young assistants ran after him and pulled at the door but it was locked again. He turned back and slowly walked to his seat.
Yohann turned toward me.
“You were telling us that Jesus died on the cross to make it possible for us to have this new relationship with God. Tell us more.”
I looked at him. Yohann seemed to be changing, growing. Somehow, he was more solid.
“You didn’t call him an alien, Yohann.”
He took his glasses off and began to polish them with the tail of his shirt. He spoke clearly so that the entire room could hear.
“The talk about God being an alien was for Richard’s sake. That’s something he could relate to. It made it all real for him.” He looked at the other delegates. “I am a Jew. This God spoke to our forefathers thousands of years ago. He spoke to Moses in the burning bush. He saved us from slavery in Egypt. It’s the story of my people. We know this God. He is good.” He paused looking down at the glasses in his hands and then up again at the others in the room. “Yes, he is dangerous. He is tough. He does not take lightly the evil we inflict on each other. But he is good. That I can tell you.”
He turned to me.
“But I did not understand until now, how good he really was. If he is willing to die on the cross to save me, if he was willing to suffer at the hands of the very people he created to show that he truly loves me, and that he wants me back, well then, I know whose side I’m on.” He sat down abruptly.
The room seemed to fill with a presence. I could sense that he was there, listening, working, encouraging.
“Tell us the old, old story,” the Pope said to me, “the one we love to hear so well.” There were tears in his eyes and his weren’t the only ones.
How did he do that?
How did Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, or whoever of the Three it was, how did they bring them to this point? Was it something I said? I thought I had messed it all up from the beginning.
“When I first met him in the garden,” I said, “he was crying too, weeping really. It frightened me.” Tears were starting to form in my eyes as well.
“Why are you weeping?” I said to him.
He turned his head to look at me and then turned back to look into the night sky. He was seated on a log freshly cut down. “My children have been snatched away. They are in grave danger.” His voice was a whisper in the night air.
I remembered everything and I told the story with passion and conviction and I knew that every word, every whisper of his presence, would be engraved on their hearts.
There was no time to lose. Decisions had to be made.
The Desert Warrior
P.S. Let’s talk to God….
Lord, I want to be on your side in this war against evil. I want to be a new person and have a new nature. I know that I still have to fight the old nature and the temptations that come with it but I can do that with your help. I look forward to seeing you face to face. I can’t wait to spend eternity with you. Thank you for overcoming death and giving me eternal life. In your name I pray. Amen.