Sunday morning I received an assignment. Tell the world the story about an aspiring immortal named Michael.
I didn’t really mean to scare anyone last week when I mentioned the end of the world and how all true aspiring immortals must be prepared for it. The closer you are to immortality (on the spectrum from the mortality of a puppy to the immortality of a person who looks, thinks, and acts like God) the less you need to make a separate effort to pack your bags for the day when earth must be evacuated. To show you what I mean, here is the true story of an aspiring immortal who is always ready.
During World War II, German soldiers upon the command of Hitler occupied Greece. They took over the government and held cities, towns, and villages of people hostel. Everything the people owned, what they could do, even say was controlled by the Germans. From today’s western perspective it seems impossible for one people to dominate another so quickly and so thoroughly but the fact is that most people are anxious to take the path of least resistance so when an army of strong men comes to town with guns and whips, it seems practical to do whatever they tell you. Aggressors like that kind of attitude. It helps them get their way.
In Corinth, Greece, there was a holy man named Michael who was the spiritual shepherd of the people. One day a brave rebellious Corinthian who had had enough domination by the German soldiers killed one. Since the Germans didn’t waste much time with the court system they rounded up about 125 Greek men from the age of 13 to execute for the impudence of the one that truly committed the crime. Killing innocent people was the most effective way to illicit a false sense of loyalty from their subjects. German soldiers killed innocent Greeks by the droves.
As this was about to happen to the 125 or so men in Corinth one man jumped on his motorcycle to the village where shepherd Michael was and told him of the imminent mass execution. Michael immediately hopped on the back of the cycle and the two sped to the scene. When they arrived, Michael jumped off the bike and ran over to the swath of land between the firing squad and the accused men.
Michael mightily struck the ground with his golden staff and in perfect German he commanded the armed executioners to kill him first, before touching one of his innocent sheep.
Silence followed. Even the birds were afraid to chirp. It was as if God, in the form of Michael, dared the men to kill the innocent. The executioners didn’t know what to do. It would have been easy to pull their triggers, but for the power that the holy man exuded who was ready to die for his sheep.
The executioners walked away. Then the innocent men walked away, and then Michael walked away.
If the end of the world had happened at that moment in time, Michael may have been among the first to arrive safely on the new earth. Michael didn’t have to think about what to do, he simply yielded himself who was already enough like God to his heart’s Holy Roommate who took over and guided Michael at that critical time. When the world comes to an end, aspiring immortals need only do the same. Yield your courageous self to the Spirit of God. Don’t hesitate, don’t look back.
Practice by performing small acts of courage. This can be as easy as telling the uncomfortable truth or standing up for and with someone else who is trying to take the narrow road. Courage simply takes willingness to be different because God is different than mortals. In fact, holiness simply means to be different… in a Godly way. Most people are cowards, accept that. They need love too. With enough love and good example maybe they will become brave. Bravery, even small acts of courage, shows God that we have our priorities in the same order that He does: love, truth, justice etcetera.
Michael left his body back on earth in 1958 after he was given more and more important jobs to do for God like becoming the second Archbishop of North and South America. Like all of us aspiring immortals, Michael is still waiting for his new body and for the new earth. But you can be sure that when it is gathering time Michael will still be ready. Are you? Practice bravery and see for yourself.