A TIME OF THE ESSENCE

(revball.com)
(revball.com)

By: Wayne Brown

 

(Writer’s Note:  This is dedicated to my mother-in-law, Nora Dempsey, who speaks often of this time in our lives.)

 

 

The organist played brightly as the choir stood singing the last verse of the final hymn for the service.  The church pastor, Reverend Jonas Simmons sat in his appointed chair behind the chapel podium reflecting on his performance with delivering today’s message.  He was pleased with his delivery and felt the uplifting spirit of those in the congregation.  He smiled and closed his hymnal as the choir finished the final verse.

 

As the choir had begun this hymn, Reverend Simmons noticed a rather plain-looking young man enter the chapel through the double doors in the rear.  He did so quietly and respectfully and took a seat in the rearmost pew away from the rest of the congregation.  He was a pleasant looking person neatly yet humbly dressed with a rather clean-cut appearance.  As the choir continued with the hymn, the young man dropped to one knee in his pew area and bowed his head in prayer.  Noting this occurrence from his seat, the good Reverend was also overcome with the urge to pray and did so quietly as the choir sang.  After completing his prayer, he looked up to see the young man now standing and singing along with the rest of the congregation. Suddenly, Reverend Simmons was overcome with the strangest awareness he had ever felt in his life. It was as if another was touching his inner most thoughts and he was powerless to restrain it.

 

With the singing of the closing hymn complete, Reverend Simmons quickly rose and asked the congregation to remain standing for a closing prayer.  As everyone bowed their heads in silence Reverend Simmons began his prayer with his arms outstretched toward the chapel ceiling and his voice booming out the words that seem to come to from the mind of another rather than from him. While the regulars in the congregation began to notice the difference in style and delivery which Reverend Simmons employed none could complain as to the effectiveness of his methods. ‘Amen’ rang out across the congregation as the preacher’s voice reached a crescendo much like some of the older generation had once heard from the fire and brimstone preachers in days of old.  It was a powerful plea unto God unmatched by any the good Reverend had ever delivered in the past.

 

As he closed the prayer, Reverend Simmons could feel drops of perspiration forming on his forehead and beginning to trickle down his face.  It was a cold sweat and he felt himself shutter inwardly for a long moment.  Immediately his gaze turned upon the pew where the young man was standing.  Their eyes locked in silence as the Reverend stood in the wonder and awe of this moment which he was experiencing.  Never in his personal life or his professional career had he experience such a feeling of exhilaration and hope as he was feeling at this moment.  He wanted to scream and shout his emotions to the heavens but his professional judgment as to how his congregation might react held him in check.  Then, as suddenly as it had come, the sensation was gone and the Reverend found himself locked in an awkward stare with a complete stranger.

 

Reverend Simmons made his way to the back of the church and opened wide the door entry doors of the chapel.  He stood at his normal station and greeted each one of the congregation members as they took their departure from the service.  Men and women alike praised his final prayer again and again and shared with the feelings they had experienced as the words he offered to the Lord fell upon their ears.  Soon it was apparent to the old preacher that the congregation had shared in that special moment of sensation with him at the end of the service.

 

As the last person left the chapel, Reverend Simmons bid them farewell, then in the customary manner pulled the two entry doors closed behind him as he re-entered the chapel and began walking toward the door leading to the administrative offices of the church.  Quickly he noticed the young man still sitting in the pew where he had first noticed him.  He stepped down the aisle toward the pew to greet the young man.

 

“I want to welcome you to our church,” Reverend Simmons began.  “I don’t believe we have met yet but I am glad to see that you have come out to worship with us this fine day,” the Reverend added.  With that statement, the Reverend extended his right hand and said, “I am Jonas Simmons”.

 

By this time the young man had risen from his seat in the pew and turned to meet the Reverend.  He accept the hand-shake with a slight smile and replied, “Yes, Reverend Simmons, I am quite aware of who you are and have been for some time now. I know of and admire your dedication and belief in God Almighty.  I have just arrived in town and wanted to be present for a portion of the worship service in your church.  I thank you for making me feel most welcome.”

 

The Reverend released the young man’s hand and quickly responded, “Well, if you are new to our town and plan on being here for a while, we certainly welcome you and any family you may have to come out and worship with us as much as you like.  I think you will find our congregation a friendly one and you will quickly see that this is a church that indeed loves the Lord.”

 

The young man again offered a slight smile and said, “My business in town will conclude shortly otherwise I would most certainly take you up on the offer. You are so kind to extend your invitation and I just wish there were more time to take advantage of it but unfortunately there is not.  Now I am afraid that I must be on my way there is much that I have to attend to before my business here is done.  And I dare say, Reverend Simmons, you must also busy yourself in preparation for the coming events.  Time is of the essence and there is none to be wasted.” As the young man completed the statement, he exited the pew and turned toward the rear doors of the chapel.

 

Reverend Simmons was caught a bit off guard by the comments of the young man. In fact, he realized that he knew nothing of what this young man was referring to in his statement regarding preparation.  He quickly searched his memory for any event that he might be overlooking on the calendar but could come up with nothing.  Finally, he could no longer contain his curiosity and spoke, “I am sorry but I cannot seem to recall what it is that you are referring to in terms of preparation.  Is there some event here in town that I have overlooked on my calendar?”

 

The young man stopped walking toward the chapel doors and turned back toward the preacher.  “Reverend Simmons, I would seriously doubt that you have overlooked anything on your calendar as you are a man who normally covers the detail quite effectively.  The event of which I speak is not an annual thing but certainly an important one.  I might add that it is also a welcome and long anticipated one.  You must prepare both for yourself and also for your flock,” the young man stated looking directly into the preacher’s eyes.

 

“Please young man, you are keeping me in suspense.  Pray tell, prepare for what may I ask?” Reverend Simmons replied impatient now with the game the young man seemed to be playing.

 

The Rapture, of course” replied the young man never breaking his eye contact with the preacher. “As a preacher of the gospel, what else could there be that would be more important for you to prepare for?” asked the young man.

 

Young man, if you think this is funny coming in here and claiming I need to prepare for The Rapture, well you’ve got another thing coming.  You don’t come into the House of The Lord and perpetrate such a cruel hoax on a man of the cloth.”  Reverend Simmons cried out with anger now apparent in his voice.  

 

The young man walked back toward the preacher and placed a hand upon the Reverend’s left shoulder.  “Good Reverend, what I say to you here is not a hoax.  I am simply advising you that time is of the essence and that you must prepare yourself and those of your flock for the coming Rapture.  Surely, you, a man of the cloth who stands before his congregation in praise of God and his only son, the Lord Jesus Christ would not doubt the words I speak.  Now, I urge you to go and prepare.”

 

With that the young man extended his right hand toward the Reverend for a fair-well handshake.  As the Reverend reached for his hand, his eyes quickly caught sight of the ugly scar on the back of the hand.  As the young man gripped his hand, he quickly closed his left hand over their clasped hands in a gesture of reassurance.  The preacher almost gasped aloud when he gazed upon an identical scar on the back of the left hand of the young man.  As Reverend Simmons averted his stare and looked back into the eyes of the young man, he clearly saw the wreath of thorns about his head and the blood trickling down the forehead from the punctures of the thorns.  The preacher gasped and stepped back in amazement unable to speak for the moment.  Then the vision was gone.

 

The young man again turned and headed toward the doors at the back of the chapel to take his exit.

 

“Excuse me young man,” Reverend Simmons spoke, “But you never gave me your name.  Who are you?”

 

“I am Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Son of God, and a carpenter by trade.  Perhaps you have heard of me.  As I stated earlier, I am in town for a short while on business but nothing to do with carpentry I might add.  I bid you farewell Reverend Simmons and I say again to you that time is of the essence so go and prepare yourself and those of your flock for the glory of the coming Rapture.”  The doors closed and the young man was gone.

 

Reverend Jonas Simmons sat down in the last pew of the chapel and stared toward the front of the church contemplating what he had just heard and experienced.  Had he not seen the scars and the blood, he might have doubts as to the validity of what he had just heard.  But he had seen them.  The power of the Lord, Jesus Christ had allowed him to envision.  For all his initial doubt, the pastor was now in full belief of what the young man was stating realized that although he had been told it was coming and time was of the essence, he still did not know when just as The Lord had said it would be.

 

Reverend Simmons knew that he was ready.  He had devoted his adult life to preparing for this time.  But what of his flock?  Would they be ready?  Could he prepare them fully in the time that was left?  He did not possess the power of the vision to which he had been privy in order to remove all doubt.  No, he would not have that great persuasion. But, then he realized the great power that he did possess.  A power which had been there all along yet had been one that he had not yet fully learned how to use.  Now was the time.

 

Reverend Jonas Simmons would begin with a prayer of thanksgiving and hope.  Then he would call forth his flock and share with them his mighty power of belief in the Lord, Jesus Christ, Savior of Mankind.  He would use that great power that had always lived within him to bring his people to God in the coming Rapture.  Their salvation depended on his strength and he knew he was primed for the task for his Savior had told him that it was so. He also knew time was of the essence in his preparation as he bowed his head to pray.

 

 

© Copyright WBrown2010.  All Rights Reserved.

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Comments 34 comments

Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA

Wayne:

You must have been inspired, as this was very well written.

CP


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Wayne beautifully written as if you were touched by the hand of God to write this message here. There have been many people who claim to have been given signs and messages directly from their Savior to pass onto there friends, family and in this case the Reverends flock.

No one knows when and if a rapture will come, those of great faith wait patiently with glee in their hearts for this very moment. Thank you my friend for sharing this message of Hope with us your flock here at the hubs. peace and joy to you and yours this Holiday season. BTW beautiful video. Bravo


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@Christopher Price...Gee Chris, I must have been because I have no idea why I wrote it...it just came to me. In fact while I was writing, I actually decided to stop but could not help myself and continued on with it...at that point I figured that it was futile to not publish it. This was a strange one for me even though I occasionally write to the darker side. Thanks for the good words. WB

@saddlerider1...this one must have been a divine intervention in that I normally don't write along religious lines...it just seemed to come out that way and I went with it. After reading back through it, I decided that the story was not credible in that the minister should not have been so quick to get on board. As I considered that point, I decided that it was hypocritical of me to think that a man who have given his life to the ministry and had just been shown signs of the crucifaction would certainly be one who would get on board given the proper information...otherwise, he was not much of a believer. So I published it and let it to the reader to decide. Thanks Ken! WB


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Wayne I have to say amigo, I admire your writing and you know that comes from my heart. I have read your poems and short stories with vigor and commented accordingly. You most definitely express yourself very very well and your pen flows beautifully.

But never underestimate faith, as you said you started to write and couldn't stop, faith led the course for you, this is one of the most moving pieces from your pen. Your heart spoke here and never question the direction, just let it go, something always bigger than ourselves is in control.

Simply wonderful, I was moved deeply..Bravo...you were touched by your angel and guided to write this masterpiece for reasons only God knows...


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@saddlerider1...You have hit on the exact reason that I leave it to the readers to decide...I am not the best judge of my own material and inspiration. I am continually amazed and pleased with reader reactions on what I have published. Ladyjane was certainly right when she scolded me for throwing things away...We'll have to see what comes from this inspiration...maybe just the sharing of faith openly! Thanks Ken I appreciate your kind comments. WB


samiaali profile image

samiaali 6 years ago

I loved this Wayne Brown. This message was beautifully written. Thank you so much for a wonderful story about what may be the most important feeling that humans can have - Faith!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@samiaali...Thanks for that reassurance! I must say that I am encouraged by the feedback. I was skeptical when I posted it but it appears to be the right choice. Glad you liked it! WB


jambo87 profile image

jambo87 6 years ago from Outer Space / Inner Space

Another winner Wayne Brown, and this is coming from an atheist humanist, haha! Really gripped me the whole way through.


ralwus 6 years ago

It is a good story WB. I personally don't believe in the rapture, but it is nevertheless a good write.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@jambo87...Thank you...that's quite a compliment! I am glad that it worked well as a story for you. Thanks for the good words! WB

@ralwus...It certainly an interesting concept and would make for a great "Twilight Zone" episode. It's good that you can look beyond the subject matter and see the value of the story...as a writer, I appreciate that ability. Thanks CC. WB


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, Wayne, just as a story it was brilliant! I was hooked, not sure what I believe but this was great, thanks nell


ralwus 6 years ago

Well, i know good write when I read it. Keep it up now. Cheers.


sueroy333 profile image

sueroy333 6 years ago from Indiana

I couldn't stop reading. I'm often a "skimmer" reader, but not this time. I don't even believe in the rapture and found myself thinking "time is short!".

This was beautiful. You strung these words together in a way that made them sing. This is art.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@Nell Rose...I have the same issue in terms of belief. The concept of rapture is tough for me to get my arms around but still I felt it was an interesting storyline. At the same time, the concept was difficult for me to deal with as to the amount of credibility the pastor assigned to the message...in the end I had to go with him being a man of true and total belief who only required a sign of legitimacy to gain his credibility. Thanks for your good comments. WB

@ralwus...that you do sir and I appreciate your fine compliments! WB

@sureroy333...Well, thank you so much. That's quite the compliment for a story that I was skeptical would take wings at all. Obviously I am not the best judge of my own material! Thanks so much for your kind words! WB


Grandma's House 6 years ago

Wow! This is quite a read! As usual, you transport with grace and conviction and I do not mean in a religious sense, although that would certainly be appropriate this time. I am not one to have 'beliefs' but rather have questions and this story is one that appeals to all of us. Although, I realize now while I am writing this, I am signed in here under my new hubber ID - in honour of a woman who had deep conviction and faith. Hmmm... one wonders sometimes what is afoot in the universe. Wonderful read! GH aka SilverGenes


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 6 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

I personally don't believe in the rapture but this was a good story and very well written. Of course, I am open to all things and this was inspirational. Thanks!


Whidbeywriter profile image

Whidbeywriter 6 years ago from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington

This story certainly kept my interest the whole way through. I do believe in the "rapture" - and time is of the essence - we don't know the time or the hour when Jesus will return, I pray for those that take it so lightly, or don't have any idea what is to come. Awesome hub "Super Star". Cheers!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@Grandma's House aka SilverGenes...Thank you. Glad that it is a valid story! WB PS...I'll be looking for Grandma!

@lisapreston...I think we sometimes forget on HubPages about whether or not we believe this or that. We get caught up in the beliefs and miss the main point...the writing. Thank you for looking beyond the beliefs and looking at the validity of the story as a writing piece. I am also glad that you liked it. WB


SilentReed profile image

SilentReed 6 years ago from Philippines

Your mother in law must be a woman of great faith. Religious belief may differ from one sect to another.But their essence I believe come from the same source.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@SilentReed...Yes she has a great faith although her failing short-term memory undermines her now. When I first met her, she was totally centered on her beliefs on a daily basis. She spoken openly and often about them. The church was the center of her life. In the past few years the tolls of age have taken away her edge and she does not focus as well anymore. Seeing her dedication to her beliefs was inspiring to me. WB


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@WhidbeyWriter...Thank you! It is good that someone who suscribes to the belief finds the story credible and interesting. As I stated earlier, I had trouble dealing with the simplicity of the ending but eventually decided that a true mand of God would take things on their face value and not question the reality. WB


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

Wayne, you are a highly talented writer, able to write fluently in different genres and you are able to hold the attention of a reader firmly until the end. This is one of those amazing stories – true experiences of individuals – that emphasize whatever we believe and give to us the opportunity to re-consider or strengthen our personal believes. After many years of studying the Bible, I finally decided to regard my death as the Rapture and even as the Day of Judgment, and that day could be tomorrow. You know God bless us daily, whether we appreciate it or not. But blessed is the one who appreciates God’s blessings daily.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@MartieCoetser....That makes a lot of sense to me, Martie. I am a "solve for x" type of guy so things have to makes sense and come with some logic for me to grab on to it. Add to that my suspect feeling about fanaticism in any form and it becomes a bit more difficult. I have seen those who wear religion on their sleeve and seem to go about hoping folks will notice and then I have seen those folks who are deeply religious yet extremely practical about it. I seem to prefer the latter. But I agree with you totally...every day is truly a gift of God. Thanks for th good comment and those nice compliments as well! WB


CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

Wayne, you did it again! I love this hub. For me, this was/is a very believable story. I had a "wow" moment, when I read it.

NICE JOB!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@CMerritt....Thank you and I am glad you found it a credible story. My fears that it would bomb have been totally unfounded...I have to trust the readers's judgement! Thanks much! WB


geegee77 profile image

geegee77 6 years ago from The Lone Star State!!

Awsome Hub WB enjoyed it very much!!:) ge


kathryn1000 profile image

kathryn1000 6 years ago from London

You certainly write a gripping tale!I don't believe in the Rapture but certainly we could die any day


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@geegee77...Thank you...glad you enjoyed it! WB

@kathryn1000...Glad you were pulled into the tale regardless of your viewpoint on the subject. I appreciate the good words! WB


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Great read! I'm ready! Let's go!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@Micky Dee...Grab those ejection seat handles and we are out of here! LOL! Thanks Mick! WB


A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 5 years ago from Texas

I love this piece. It brought me back to a time when stories were shared in the pentecostal church my parents used to attend. Enthralling. Thanks again for sharing.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@A.A. Zavala...that was very much my mother-in-law's background in religion. Her church prayed for rapture on a regular basis. It was to be a beautiful thing in their minds. I was in awe of her faith across the board. WB


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Aye! Mi Amigo, excellent message as time has always been of the essence. It was of the essence to those long dead, to straighten their walk before they passed as there are no do overs, Peace, 50


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@50 Caliber...well said Dusty. Time is most certainly of the essence for all of us and always has been. It's just that it seems to take a good portion of a life time to realize it. Life is a lot like football...suddenly you wake up in the 4th quarter, look at the scoreboard, and wonder if you have enough points on the board. WB

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