A Swift Current Christmas - Part 3
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.