With helmet in hand, Dave Mitchell started off across the gravelly expanse of Richmond Anglican car park when he noticed a beautiful old ’71 Z900 sat amidst the many cars. Having not seen one of these mobile for at least the last fifteen years, he decided to wander over for a closer look.
Dave nodded in approval then resumed his walk to the church doors. As he poked his head through, he tried to discern as to who may own the bike.
A small man sat to the rear with crew cut hair and leather jacket, well away from the rest of the congregation.
He smiled at the man, but the gesture was not returned as he feigned that he was absorbed in the proceedings.
The sermon soon followed on 1 Corinthians 13. The reverend was speaking on love. He said how we should love one another. To have time for each other, to be patient and forgiving etc, etc, but mainly love, love, love until it rang in our ears.
Immediately after, Dave sought the opportunity to speak with the biker but he hurriedly walked off to grab a cup of coffee.
He watched as members of his church gathered in small groups and spoke of how inspiring the sermon was and of how they could find ways to love other people.
Dave saw them smiling the smiles of encouragement, or excitement at being able to exercise what they had learnt but Dave noticed that for all their talk, none of them bothered with the stranger.
He waited for him to return to take his seat.
“Is that your bike outside?”
A nod was all reply he got.
Dave watched as the stranger held the cup between his shaking hands, attempting to warm them as he still felt the chill from the road.
“What did you think of the sermon?”
“It was good.” He croaked. “Infact I’ll tell him so.”
The biker drifted over to the door where the minister stood, shaking hands and saying ‘good night’ with the hugest grin he could muster.
For a few moments, the biker attempted to convey his thoughts, but the grin began to lose its intensity.
Dave frowned as he saw the stranger dismissed with a severe nodding of his minister’s head, then saw him walk out the door.
It was something that angered him about his minister, infact the ‘church’ in general in these modern times.
For the last hour he had spoken about love until it came out of everyone’s ears but now he didn’t have the time of day for the stranger.
Dave rose from his feet and rushed through the doors to catch up with the biker in the car park. He made it in time to see him get on his bike and kick her into life.
“Look I’m sorry about what happened inside.” He said hurriedly.
“That’s alright.” He muttered. “Well… got to go.”
“Wait, what brought you here?”
The biker frowned at the question.
“I mean people visit God’s family for different reasons. For the love, the fellowship…”
“…there is only one thing everyone wants…is for someone to give a damn about what they have to say.”
Dave nodded in agreement.
“Then you have come for the encouragement?”
“I ‘spose.” Shrugged the stranger. “I belief that the difference between champions and under achievers is encouragement, or the lack of.
My whole life, I have failed at everything I have set my hand to. Just a week ago I was saved in Townsville, so now I’m wondering, now what?”
“Ah, so what you want is direction.”
The biker’s face lightened.
“Then let me pray for you.”
The stranger switched off his engine and listened as Dave said a few words for guidance, then without another word, he kicked his bike over again and donned his helmet.
“Will we see you again!” Dave called above the drone.
“No.” the rider said flatly but without malevolence and veered away.
Rushing to the curb Dave watched as the stranger’s silhouette diminished, then vanished down the end of the main road.
He was not to realize it then, but it was to be the last he would see of the stranger for several years. Later, he would re-emerge as a mighty instrument of God in a world that had all but been destroyed by man’s own hand.
In the years to come, the survivors of the new world would refer this stranger by the title, ‘The Missionary.’
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