I recently took up a volunteer job as a receptionist at our medical clinic. I work in the afternoons, when there aren’t many patients, especially after about 2:00pm. So the other clinic staff and I spend that time hanging out, discussing the latest news, favorite football teams, and whatever else comes to mind.
Yesterday it was a particularly slow day. I had brought along a battered copy of the Two Towers, and read it while sitting at the reception desk, leaning out of the sun and into the shade. The tin metal roof of the reception/waiting area was amplifying the equatorial sun until sweat ran like water off of everyone’s skin. The staff members – mostly male – lounged around on the half-wall of the area, chatting leisurely. One of the nurse’s five year old daughter climbed up onto the wall in between her father and a young man, who were chatting amiably. The girl pointed to a carved bone cross the young man wore around his neck. “What is that?” she asked.
He answered simply, “The cross.”
Her five-year-old brow furrowed in confusion. “What’s a cross?”
He glanced back down at her, then turned and bent down so he was eye-to-eye with her. He took hold of the cross and began to tell her the story of the Good News. His soft, melodious voice filled the room and soon almost everyone was listening.
The Two Towers was soon forgotten. I gazed, mesmerized, as he told the story of our Saviour’s woe. It lasted for only a few minutes, but I was completely spell-bound, staring over the top of my book at the story-teller and the listener. As soon as he finished the brief rendition of the glorious resurrection, he glanced around and noticed his audience. He looked over at me and I was shaken out of my trance. I blushed and grinned sheepishly at him. He smiled back and pointed at me, saying to the girl, “See, even the white people know this story.”