There is one among us
whom we do not know;
host of highest heaven
present here below.
– John L. Bell
Awaiting the Messiah
by Peter Rollins
There is an ancient story that speaks of a second coming of the Messiah. It is said that he arrived anonymously one dull Monday morning at the gates of a great city to go about his Father’s business.
There was much for him to do. While many years had passed since his last visit, the same suffering was present all around. Still there were the poor, the sick, and the oppressed. Still there were he outcasts, and still there were the righteous who pitied them, and the authorities who exploited them.
For a long time no one took any notice of this desert wanderer with his weather-beaten face and gagged, dusty clothes – this quiet man who spent his time living among the sick and unwanted. The great city laboured on like a mammoth beast, ignorant of the one who dwelt within its bowels.
The story goes that the Messiah eventually decided to reveal his identity to a chosen few who had remained faithful to his teachings. These people met together in a tiny, unknown church on the outskirts of the city t pray and to serve the poor.
As the Messiah entered the modest sanctuary one Sunday morning, his eyes fell upon the tiny group huddled in the corner each one praying and weeping for the day of the Lord. As they prayed, those who had gathered in the church slowly began to feel the gaze of Christ penetrate their souls. Silence began to descend within the circle as they realized who had entered their sacred home. For a time no one dared to speak. Then the leader of the group gathered her courage, approached Christ, fell at his feet, and cried, “We have waited so long for your return. For so many years we have waited patiently for you to come. Today, as with every other day, we prayed passionately for your arrival.”
Then she stood up and looked Christ in the eyes:
“Now that you are with us we have but one question.”
Christ listened, knowing already what it would be.
“Tell us, Christ, when will you arrive?“
The Messiah did not have an answer but simply smiled. Then he joined the others in their prayers and tears. He remains there still, to this very day, waiting, watching, and serving in that tiny, unknown church on the outskirts of the city.