A Stranger comes to the Cathedral in the Pines.

Cathedral in the Pines in Old Cloverdale, Alabama. Photography: Jenny Rogers at  http://www.JRogersPhotography.net .
Cathedral in the Pines in Old Cloverdale, Alabama. Photography: Jenny Rogers at http://www.JRogersPhotography.net .

While living in Montgomery, Alabama, we attended First United Methodist Church in Old Cloverdale.

An annual event  began observance of Holy Week on Palm Sunday which precedes Easter Sunday.

Parishioners gathered to hear the gospel passages, Luke 19:28-40 as volunteers, dressed in period costumes, reenacted the  entry of Jesus riding a donkey ( symbolic of peace)  into the city of Jerusalem at the Mount of Olives.

As  the procession made its way through the trees of the Cathedral in  the Pines , waving palm branches and olive branches  ( symbolic of victory ) , and shouting “Hosanna “(term of Praise) the large congregation witnessed the custom of Christians since the 4th Century.

Wandering quietly through the crowd , drawing no attention , was a stranger to the scene.

He was a slender man with long hair, and a beard.  His pants and shirt were clean, but wrinkled.  In his hand, he carried a Bible which was wrapped in a long strip of plastic.  He spoke to no one. No one spoke to him.  We wondered if we alone could see him.

We followed him into the church, and we noticed that he went directly to our usual pew.  He sat in the third space.  We always sat in the two places on the end.

We smiled and spoke to this seemingly “homeless ” man.  Although this was a caring and friendly church, we didn’t observe anyone welcome him.

An attendance book was placed on each pew.  Custom was for visitors and members to sign their name and pass it down the aisle.

When he passed the book to me, I read his signature: ” JC ”

After the service, I said, ” I hope you will come , again.”

He replied, ” I am just passing through.”

We walked out behind him, and noticed that he walked across the lawn, passed the people, and through the trees to the  back of the church. Before he disappeared, he made a half turn, smiled, and was on his way.

“JC ” was etched  in my mind.  Jesus Christ???

Nowhere in the New Testament do the writers describe the physical appearance of Jesus, but he resembled  the images that artists depict.

Could it be?

I wonder.

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