Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)
TITLE: 'Cross Coffee'
By Debora Dyess
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That was the first thing Evan realized when he opened his eyes. No pain, no fear…and he knew.
Death had come. The things of earth…the cancer…were gone.
He felt Jesus before he saw Him, and the most inexplicable peace and fulfillment and joy flooded him. He was home.
As gifted a speaker as Evan had been, he couldn’t describe the wonders he saw. ‘Streets of gold’ seemed inadequate when you were walking on those streets. The descriptions he’d read in the Bible, while accurate, were flimsy, like trying to describe the Mona Lisa with a ‘Dick and Jane’ primer vocabulary.
He lived in the presence of God, his Father, and his beloved Jesus. All was right.
Evan didn’t know how long he’d been in Heaven when the thought occurred to him. He felt almost guilty about the it. He mulled over his concern, trying to understand how it had invaded him in this state of perfection.
The Master stood beside him. In truth, he always felt Jesus beside him here, but in a way not known on earth. Whether in the direct presence of Jesus or not, there was always Jesus.
“What, Evan?” Jesus smiled.
Evan arched his eyebrows. “I’m sorry.”
Jesus laughed, and everything around them rejoiced at the sound. “There’s no doubt here, Evan.”
Evan breathed a sigh of relief.
Jesus touched him. “Go ahead…Ask.”
Evan nodded slowly. “Lord, you gave me a powerful dream. And, yet…I died so young I never saw any of it happen. I thought you gave me the vision as my cross—my way to bring others to You.” He looked into his Master’s eyes. “Was it of you, Lord?”
“Would you like to see?”
Jesus smiled at him, a broad, get-ready-for-this smile that sent s shiver of anticipation through Evan. He nodded.
There was no sense of movement from one place to another. Evan still stood beside Jesus, but at the same time he could see, hear and feel the sounds and sights of earth. He was startled for a moment by its dullness, its lack of light.
He stood before a glass door on a busy sidewalk. He recognized the block as one he had, in his lifetime, walked in ministry. He looked around. There—the corner where he’d shared Christ with three gang members. Across the street, the same ‘adult toy’ store. He looked back at the door he stood before. The words ‘Cross Coffee’ blazed in red, along with an invitation: ‘All welcome;.
He looked at Jesus, surprised, somewhat confused by the duality of being both places at once. Jesus smiled back, joyous expectation in his eyes.
Evan entered the coffeehouse, although he wasn’t sure how, and looked around. The room was full of a diverse range of people, from young businessmen and women to bikers. A gang member and a young man in a suit played a game of chess in one corner, seriously bent over the board. A group of young women sat laughing at one of the tables, wiping tears as they giggled hysterically at a joke. Everywhere were the people Evan had felt so compelled to reach…sitting in the coffeehouse he’d envisioned for the first time as a young teen.
He moved to the bar, where an older man and a thirty-something woman sat together. She had her head on her folded arms, face down on the smooth wood, crying. The man held a Bible, and read softly to her. He closed the book, touched her back and asked her a question that Evan couldn’t hear. She nodded and he took her hands. They bowed their heads and prayed together amongst the noise and laughter of the place.
And then the vision was gone and Evan was standing next to Jesus, looking into his eyes.
“How…” he started, and then stopped, his eyes suddenly wide, surprised. “That was Uncle Greg! A lot older than I remember, but…”
“But… He’s not a believer!”
“He wasn’t a believer. He watched you very closely curing your illness—saw your faith in that time. He became a Follower after your funeral.”
“Your dream became his dream, Evan. Your ministry and passion became his.”
Evan felt tears of joy well in his eyes.
“No dream of God ever dies,” Jesus said. “You uncle—your whole family—Is part of that dream now. Countless people have come to the cross—through ‘Cross Ccffee’. Through your dream.”
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