The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
1. There was a Master come unto the earth, born in the holy land of Indiana, raised in the mystical hills east of Fort Wayne.
2. The Master learned of this world in the public schools of Indiana, and as he grew, in his trade as a mechanic of automobiles.
3. But the Master had learnings from other lands and other schools, from other lives that he had lived. He remembered these, and remembering became wise and strong, so that others saw his strength and came to him for counsel.
4. The Master believed that he had power to help himself and all mankind, and as he believed so it was for him, so that others saw his power and came to him to be healed of their troubles and their many diseases.
5. The Master believed that it is well for any man to think upon himself as a son of God, and as he believed, so it was, and the shops and garages where he worked became crowded and jammed with those who sought his learning and his touch, and the streets outside with those who longed only that the shadow of his passing might fall upon them, and change their lives.
6. It came to pass, because of the crowds, that the several foremen and shop managers bid the Master leave his tools and go his way, for so tightly was he thronged that neither he nor other mechanics had room to work upon the automobiles.
7. So it was that he went into the countryside, and people following began to call him Messiah, and worker of miracles; and as they believed, it was so.
8. If a storm passed as he spoke, not a raindrop touched a listener’s head; the last of the multitude heard his words as clearly as the first, no matter lightning nor thunder in the sky about. And always he spoke to them in parables.
9. And he said unto them, “within each of us lies the power of our consent to health and to sickness, to riches and to poverty, to freedom and to slavery. It is we who control these, and not another.”
10. A mill-man spoke and said, “Easy words for you, Master, for you are guided as we are not, and need not toil as we toil. A man has to work for his living in this world.”
11. The Master answered and said, “Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river.
12. “The current of the river swept silently over them all – young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.
13. “Each creature in its own manner clung tighty to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.
14. “But one creature said at last, ‘I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.’
15. “The other creatures laughed and said, ‘Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!’
16. “But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.
17. “Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.
18. “And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, ‘See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!’
19. “And the one carried in the current said, ‘I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.’
20. “But they cried the more, ‘Saviour!’ all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone making legends of a Saviour.”
21. And it came to pass when he saw that the multitude thronged him the more day on day, tighter and closer and fiercer than ever they had, when he saw that they pressed him to heal them without rest, and feed them always with his miracles, to learn for them and to live their lives, he went alone that day unto a hilltop apart, and there he prayed.
22. And he said in his heart, Infinite Radian Is, if it be thy will, let this cup pass from me, let me lay aside this impossible task. I cannot live the life of one other soul, yet ten thousand cry to me for life. I’m sorry I allowed it all to happen. If it be thy will, let me go back to my engines and my tools and let me live as other men.
23. And a voice spoke to him on the hilltop, a voice neither male nor female, loud nor soft, a voice infinitely kind. And the voice said unto him, “Not my will, but thine be done. For what is thy will is mine for thee. Go thy way as other men, and be thou happy on the earth.”
24. And hearing, the Master was glad, and gave thanks, and came down from the hilltop humming a little mechanic’s song. And when the throng pressed him with its woes, beseeching him to heal for it and learn for it and feed it nonstop from his understanding and to entertain it with his wonders, he smiled upon the multitude and said pleasantly unto them, “I quit.”
25. For a moment the multitude was stricken dumb with astonishment.
26. And he said unto them, “If a man told God that he wanted most of all to help the suffering world, no matter the price to himself, and God answered and told him what he must do, should the man do as he is told?”
27. “Of course, Master!” cried the many. “It should be pleasure for him to suffer the tortures of hell itself, should God ask for it!”
28. “No matter what those tortures, nor how difficult the task?”
29. “Honor to be hanged, glory to be nailed to a tree and burned, if so be that God has asked,” said they.
30. “And what would you do,” the Master said unto the multitude, “if God spoke directly to your face and said,
‘I COMMAND THAT YOU BE HAPPY IN THE WORLD, AS LONG AS YOU LIVE.’
What would you do then?”
31. And the multitude was silent, not a voice, not a sound was heard upon the hillsides, across the valleys where they stood.
32. And the Master said unto the silence, “In the path of our happiness shall we find the learning for which we have chosen this lifetime. So it is that I have learned this day, and choose to leave you now to walk your own path, as you please.”
33. And he went his way through the crowds and left them, and he returned to the everyday world of men and machines.