Once upon a time, in a land both far from here and not so distant, there was a monastery. This community of prayer and fasting was made up of all sorts of people from all kings of backgrounds.
Some of the members of the community had been there a long time. They had grown up in faith in those hallowed halls, groomed to be keepers of the traditions. Others were newer, and of course brought new ways of doing things. These two camps would push on one another all the time — with the traditionalists arguing that the baby shouldn’t be thrown out with the bathwater, and the others saying that tub was too dirty and needed to be replaced.
The community was made up of persons from all over the world. The differences in cultures, in languages, in experiences, led to regular arguments as each nationality and cultural group attempted to generalize their personal experience as normative for the rest of the group.
One day, as all of the monks picked over this point and that concept, a new person walked in. He was an old rabbi, who lived in the woods down the road. The leaders of the community rushed to his side, honored that this wise and deeply religious man had come to visit. They offered him a seat, for he looked out of breath. He accepted gladly, and sunk down into the deep pile cushions, looking at the ceiling to regain his composure. The monks waited with anticipation to hear why the sage had come to see them.
Finally the rabbi spoke. “Please excuse my scattered state,” he said. “I ran all the way from my hut here to see you.”
He paused, and the monks could hardly wait to hear his story.
“I awoke this morning as always,” he went on, “and sat down at my table for my morning lesson in Torah. I was reading along when all of the sudden a bright light appeared, and the Master of the Universe came to me with a message for you.”
“What is it?” the abbot said. “What message does God have for us?”
“I don’t fully understand it,” said the rabbi. “In fact, I don’t know if you will like it, but I have no choice but to tell you. The Master of the Universe wants you to know . . . the messiah is among you.”
With that, he arose from his seat, and headed for the door.
“What does that mean?” “The messiah is among us?” “Isn’t there more?”
But the rabbi didn’t stop to answer their questions. No, he quietly headed down the road to his hut.
The monks looked to the abbot for an explanation. He rubbed his bearded chin thoughtfully. “Well…” he started, “…I guess this must mean that one of us is the messiah.”
The monks looked around. Who could it be?
But since they didn’t know the face of the promised one, they decided to treat each other as if he or she was the messiah — with openness, gentleness, and kindness. Their arguments fell by the wayside, and soon this community was known throughout the land as a place of wisdom and peace.
Emerging friends, the messiah is among us. May we treat each other with honor and respect looking for the face of Christ in every interaction, be they in the blog world or face to face.