The Native: The Gypsy Robe

Psalms 24:7-10
7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
8 Who [is] this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift [them] up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he [is] the King of glory. Selah.

The Jews had formed their opinion of what The Messiah would look like. Prophecy after prophecy had been passed down. They felt they would know Him when they saw Him.Israel longed for a Conquering King. One that would sweep in, and flood Rome out of existence. They expected Jerusalem to rule the known world. Israel wasn’t looking for a Shepherd to reveal the unknown, and to open up the Eternal.

John 7:46

46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.

I suppose that the twelve year old setting in the Temple was not what they had expected. If He had looked like David, perhaps they could have understood better. Young David had killed a lion, and a bear. This was a Carpenter’s Apprentice. To look at Him, was not to see the regal King they wanted, ah, but when He spoke.

The Bible says that He both asked, and answered questions of the Doctors. Is it possible that some of those veterans said, “He doesn’t look like what I expected?”  If so, they followed it with, “He sounds like more than I could have ever hoped!”

It’s not unusual for a King to hide in pauper’s clothing. To visit His subjects, He donned a fleshly robe. To borrow from the theater, He donned what they would call a Gypsy Robe.

In the American theater, specifically Broadway musicals, there is a tradition that dates back to the fifties. It started with members of the chorus, or ensemble. They were known as Gypsies, because they passed from one show to another. 

Theater people consider this to be a good luck charm. The youngest recipient was twelve year old Brynn Williams in 2005. The member of the chorus, or ensemble, who has been in the most shows is awarded it.

The robe is then  passed on to another actor in another show, until the robe was filled. Then it would be retired at one of three locations, including the Smithsonian. 

Matthew 2:15

15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

The word Gypsy is appropriate because of the history surrounding it’s meaning.   Groups of the Romani people were mistakenly referred to as Gypsies, thinking they originated in Egypt. The legend is that they were exiled as punishment for harboring the infant Jesus. While this is probably just a myth, the analogy is apt.

We were spiritually trapped in Egypt, bound and scarred, needing someone to rescue us.  To do that, He had to become one of us.The Lord Jesus spent thirty three and a half years on this Earth in a robe of flesh.

For the majority of that time, He limited Himself to the boundaries of mankind.  As a man He slept, as a man He ate. On the outside, He looked like everyone else.  The Robe was accomplishing it’s mission. It concealed His greatness until He was ready to reveal it.

Then, at a Wedding in Cana, it started.  From there, people realized that He was unlike any other.  At 12, The Doctors of the Law had gotten a preview of what was now unfolding. As God, He raised the dead, walked on water, and healed the leper. God in a Gypsy robe walked among men.  He revealed something far greater than an Earthly King, the revelation of an Eternal Savior!

The Ruler Of Heaven, wrapped in a fleshly robe, born in Bethlehem to die for us. Prophets had simply passed away. Moses transitioned to Joshua. They all said goodbye, folding up their earthly robes and closing their eyes. Jesus was different. Unlike David, He didn’t need His own grave. Jesus borrowed one from Joseph of Arimathaea. He used it for three days and three nights, and gave it back.

Jesus said, …lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.  Jesus went to the grave to destroy our sins. He walked out of it to give us a new life. He put on a Gypsy Robe so that one day, we could put on an Eternal one.

1 Corinthians 15: 53-54

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Cambridge’s: The Olsen Clock

Winston Sr. was transported mentally all those years as he narrated to his son. “This was old Wilson’s store when I was young.  He had good merchandise, but nothing like we have been blessed with, save one item.”

“There was one piece that was the most exciting thing in the store.  I loved it, you might say, it helped point me in the right direction, for all the wrong reasons”  Winston hadn’t heard all this story before, but he knew what the item was.  “The Olsen Clock.”

His Father smiled.  He saw her outside across the way.  She was helping her Grandmother with shopping.  Ashley McCalister was home from college visiting.  Winston worked for Kent Wilson, and knew that Ashley would be in the store any minute.  He looked at the clock.

Winston was scheduled to leave early to go on a trip with his friends.  Kent was encouraging him to go on and have a good time.  Mr. Wilson stopped when he saw the look on Winston’s face.  It was during that visit that Ashley and her Grandmother remarked how beautiful the old clock was.

It was an heirloom from the early 1900s, that had seen better days.  It had an oak cabinet, sterling silver casing. It was made with copper gears, and had a jeweled face.  Time had weathered it, and conditions had damaged it.  Even though, it was in far less condition than it should have been, it was a treasure.

Kent had bought it as the talking piece of his shop, and it had served it’s purpose well for years.  A fleeting comment from Ashley would alter both their lives.  “Grandmother, when I marry, I want to buy this clock to remind us how precious time is.  I want to use it to cherish every moment of my family’s life together.”

Her Grandmother Linda smiled.  “Time is precious, when it’s used to treasure loved ones.”  Neither one of them paid any attention to the young clerk sweeping a clean floor.  They made their purchases and left.  He called his friends, cancelled his trip, and made an agreement with Mr. Wilson to use the money to purchase the Olsen Clock.

Find out what happens next in the upcoming installment of Cambridge’s next month.

140 Mile Stretch:It’s About Family

One moment Tom was in his hotel room folding the new shirts that he had sent up. The next minute, he was in Oscar Minnix’s office. “Hello Tom, I’m glad to finally meet you.” He had seen pictures of the man, but this was their first face to face meeting. The previous, heated communications had been by computer.

“When are we?” Tom asked, not expecting the truth. Minnix laughed, “I’ll tell you where, I’ll tell you why, but you don’t get when.” He was a short man, his hair had been dyed black. It had been dyed, and poorly so. Tom remembered thinking that someone like him could have afforded better. His eyes were blue, he was of average size. His suit was expensive, so was the rest of his outfit. That’s why the hair didn’t make sense, Tom filed this away in his mind.

“Ok, where and why?” “The top of the Flat Iron building in New York. Why is that I want to know what you know.” Tom laughed. “This is where you’re supposed to give me the clue on how to stop you.” Now Minnix laughed. “We know that isn’t going to happen. I’m not expecting you to tell me either.” It clicked.

“You’re keeping me here so your operatives can search my hotel room. That explains Sykes’ real purpose. You won’t find it there.” Minix shrugged.  “It’s worth a try. It also gives me something else. I can test your nerves. I wanted you to stare me in the face and see just how tough you really are. “

Tom shook his head. “If you’re expecting me to lunge at you don’t. You already know that I’m not easily frightened. You found that out when you burned my home down. I’m also not crazy enough to attack you physically. When I hit you, it will be silently, it will be fierce, and it will be significant.”

“Then it’s a battle of equals is it? Or, are you just wanting me to think you are as powerful as I am?” Tom leaned across the desk. “It’s not a question of how many strings I can pull. It’s a matter of patriotism. To me, this is a war for the history of our country, to you, it’s about power.”

Minnix laughed.  “It’s less about power than it is about family for me.  You and I will do almost anything for family won’t we?  If the 140 mile stretch is destroyed, it will alter the balance of power, but that’s an afterthought.”

“New York  will remain the nation’s capital.  My family’s history will be forever altered.  Sadly, you won’t figure out how until I’ve won.  Goodbye Tom.”
Tom set down on the bed in his hotel room.  Minnix wasn’t stupid.  Had his ego let him slip up? Was the comment about New York a red herring?
It was Tom’s chance to laugh now.  He couldn’t have made contact a year later than this one.  Now though, he was very much alive, and it was time to make a phone call.

The Italian Hatmaker: The Jailer Won’t Need

How do you escape a locked prison without a key?  That was the question that Guiseppe and Ethan had to answer.  Fortunately, Ethan was in prison with a hat maker.  If he had been in prison with a tailor, or a cook, he would have been in trouble.

A hat maker fashions hats out of very strange items at times, especially Guiseppe.  It was nothing unusual for him to have had to make a metal ornament for a wealthy client’s hair.  So it wasn’t that hard to fashion a key out of a cot wire.

Guiseppe always kept a spare tool hidden in his shoe.  His Father had taught him this trick. Although he failed to explain to Guiseppe how he had learned it.  Guiseppe figured that out years later when he discovered what his Father had done for a living.  A spy from Milan who vacationed away to spare his life.  So this innocent hat maker was not far removed from the intrigue of court after all.

The two fugitives hid in the best possible place for them.  One where no one would have guessed.  The jailer’s room in the castle.  They reasoned that he would either be searching the grounds or occupying their cell.  This meant that he would have no need of his quarters.

The dock was just under his window.  At midnight, the two stowaways commissioned the king’s ship, and sailed away from their castle prison.  They knew that all of the land exits would be patrolled, and that this was their only way of escape.

It wasn’t until the next day that they figured out that they were actually imprisoned on a small island off the coast of France.  “We have to get rid of this boat.  The king will chase us as soon as he gets to another ship.”  Guiseppe grinned, “Of course my friend, when we dock in Paris!”

Find out what the Italian Hatmaker and his friend find waiting for them in France’s capitol next time.

The Native: And It Came To Pass

Luke2:1

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

We hurry pass them, those first five words, but Isaiah would have paused.  Every Old Testament Saint would have rejoiced with a combination of tears and shouting.  After thousands of years, and numerous prophecies, God was now wrapped in a fleshly body, carried in a Virgin’s womb!

They would have all been at the birth, no one would have missed that night.  Our response is of course, neither would we, but how many calls have we ignored?  We may not be at the manger side, but He has called us to prayer in the night.  At times, we have answered, too many others, we turned over and went back to sleep.  When we say, “I’ll pray for you.”  Do we write it down?  Will we remember it past five minutes later?

Thankfully, though so many overlooked, He still came.  Even though, we have failed at times to heed His invitation, there is still time.  I don’t believe that there is much time left. I believe we are near the end.  If you’re reading this though, let me encourage you. Whether you seek to draw closer, or you’re miles away from His presence, He is still near.

The journey with Jesus starts with a conversation. Like any relationship, there is more to it than that, but it is a beginning.  We call it Repentance.  It’s a first step in every walk with God.  It means that you’re not only sorry for the past sins, since Adam we all have sinned.  It means that you want to leave them behind.  You choose to follow, not the road of man, but the path of God.

Luke 2:10-11

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

If you are scared, for Eternity is a heavy subject, don’t be.  It was the promise of the Angels, “Fear not… For unto you is born this day … a Savior, which is Christ The Lord.” Start your journey today, let Him do for you what He did for Bethlehem.  Christ turned a small, forgotten town into the birthplace of The King Of Kings.  Let Him do the same today for your heart.