A Swift Cur­rent Christ­mas - Part 3

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Viewpoints - BY RAY FRIESEN

As the Light and Voice faded in the dusty, dirty room in the Rockin’ J and four peo­ple looked at each other, dumb­founded, two blocks away, at the lo­cal Tim Hor­tons, the night staff was stand­ing around, talk­ing.

All the clean­ing had been done, cof­fee was fresh, and there were more than enough donuts in case a cus­tomer wan­dered in. With the boss gone and no cus­tomers, the women who worked the counter and drive through night af­ter night, slipped into their na­tive lan­guage, what they had first spo­ken in the Philip­pines and what still came most nat­u­rally. And, like many other nights—and with­out know­ing the con­ver­sa­tion at the Rockin J—they soon were dis­cussing life in the Philip­pines—drug car­tels, dic­ta­tor­ships, vi­o­lence, poverty, min­i­mum wages, and work­ing con­di­tions.

Sud­denly—seems things tended to hap­pen sud­denly all over the place—sud­denly mu­sic filled the air, the best, liveli­est, foot-stompingest, hip-swingin­gest, heart­grab­bing mu­sic they had ever heard. With­out con­scious thought, their feet were danc­ing al­ready. The light on the cus­tomer side of the counter turned brighter, brighter than they had ever seen. It seemed to come from the screens advertising donuts and muffins and cof­fee and spe­cials. One of the wait­resses ran to check.

“Come guys, quick!” she yelled to the oth­ers. “Hurry!” The oth­ers joined her and looked at the screens.

Their mouths dropped open. Now their feet were no longer danc­ing with joy; their knees were shak­ing with fright. Given their Catholic tra­di­tion, they dropped to their knees, crossed them­selves, and be­gan pray­ing “Hail Marys,” as fast and fu­ri­ously as they could.

Then a Voice—we would have rec­og­nized it as the one from the Rockin’ J—a Voice spoke, the kind­est, safest Voice ever, yet it spoke with an au­thor­ity that could not be de­nied.

“Don’t be afraid,” It said. Yeah, right. Don’t be afraid. Whom are you kid­ding?! “Don’t be afraid,” the Voice re­peated. “Se­ri­ously. I’m not here to scare you. I have some good news, of great joy, for all peo­ple. I heard your con­ver­sa­tion ear­lier (and they weren’t sup­posed to be afraid what with the light and a Voice eavesdropping on them?!). I am with you. It’s time to change the world, and I have a plan. I need your help to make it work. Show up in room 212 in the Rockin’ J in fif­teen min­utes and I will tell you all about it.”

And then, with one last clash of cym­bals and blast of trum­pets, the Light was gone and the Voice silent. The screens were advertising donuts and cof­fee again.

The four women looked at each other, speech­less, which was un­usual for them. Then one said: “I’m go­ing to check this out. You guys com­ing?”

“What about the cof­fee shop?”

“Who cares?” the first woman said. “This is big­ger than donuts. Who needs donuts at 2:00 in the morn­ing? Be­sides, Pete Fehr will never know. Let’s go.”

One more mo­ment of the four look­ing at each other, and then they turned and headed for the door. Cof­fee and donuts at Timmy’s would be self-serve for the next while.

(Ex­cerpted from Ray Friesen, Jump into the Story: The Art of Cre­ative Preach­ing (Eu­gene, OR: Wipf & Stock) to be re­leased in spring, 2019). Used by per­mis­sion.

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