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Our Current Virtual Church Message

The Incident

The year was 1976. It was a Monday, the first Monday in August. What happened on that day has been essentially buried for so many reasons no one could list them all. What happened on that day was so incredible and unbelievable no one would believe it even if the incident were to be fully reported. People speak in whispers about the incident. Rumors and whispers speak about UFO's, tornados without a storm cloud in the sky, a foot of snow piling up without a winter storm on the radar in August in ninety degree heat, earthquakes world-wide with no reading on any Richter scale or measuring device, floods appearing without any rain falling, and the watches and clocks anomaly was the stunner. Watches and clocks broke all over the world at the same hour, minute, and second. What happened on that strange Monday in August in 1976? We have found the answer, but the answer is so unbelievable, even to those brave enough to search for the truth, the answer might be incomprehensible.

It seems there was a leading world industrialist named E. Richard Marino. Marino was a man of incredible wealth. He owned properties in every part of the world but his wealth in property was not enough for him. He was worth billions of dollars and had vast amounts of cash but his billions were not enough for him. He served on prestigious boards, commissions, and committees but his memberships were not enough for him. For a human being, he could wield nearly unlimited power but his power was not enough for him. E. Richard Marino was the unhappiest man on earth.

Earlier that year, in the early summer of 1976, E. Richard Marino met a fellow by the name of Jordan A. Stanton III. Stanton had as much intelligence as Marino had wealth. It is said Stanton was a person with as much intelligence as Einstein along with the inventive talents of Tesla or Edison. Fantastic as it sounds, Stanton was developing a device that could bend time or even take a person back in time. Supposedly impossible to do according to every noted scientist in the world, Stanton claimed to have perfected a device that could move time backward or at least move a person back in time for one day. What Stanton needed in the early summer of 1976 was financial backing to perfect his time travel program. Stanton wanted to affect time so a person could move back years rather than one day. With Marino's cash, Stanton's project would be as a good as done.

When Stanton explained his project to Marino, Marino was enthusiastic. Marino thought if Stanton could send Marino back in time, Marino could find happiness in another time and place. Marino, looking for happiness, essentially gave Stanton a blank check. Stanton went to work and within a few months the time travel device was ready for its first trial. The device was the size of a brief case. There were two exterior buttons on the case which, when one was pushed, the device would send Marino back in time. When the other button was pushed, Marino would return to 1976.

There was a place in Pittsburg selected as the test site. The place was Eaton's Eatery. Eaton's had been in business since the early 1920's. All the fixtures, décor, furniture, and furnishings were right out of the Great Depression era. The owner's were the Eaton family and by 1976, the third generation of the family owned and managed the eatery. On the day of the trial run, Marino dressed in a business suit appropriate for a man doing business in the 1940's. Marino picked a target date of December 7, 1941. December 7, 1941 was the day of infamy…the day of the attack upon Pearl Harbor. Happiness to Marino meant wealth. Figuring the selected date was an opportunity to build his industrial empire even further. Sitting in 1976, knowing in advance Japan was going to attack Pearl Harbor and the U.S. would immediately go to war in the Pacific and in Europe, Marino saw incredible profit opportunities in supplying arms and supplies for the war effort. The plan was set. Marino would go back in time. Establish numerous business and industrial interests, and at an appropriate time, come back to the year 1976.

Marino, dressed in his 1940's garb, went to Eaton's, took a seat in the corner, and held the brief case in his lap. When the waitress had taken his order, Marino pushed the button. Things began to immediately change. Things seemed to melt as if everything was made of some kind of strange liquid. Then things began to flow down some kind of strange stream of light. Suddenly everything stopped moving or flowing. Marino was back in Eaton's eatery, all the fixtures, furniture, and furnishings were the same although everything had a newer appearance. What had also changed was the dress of the patrons. Everyone was dressed as if they were in the 1940's. The device, the time travel device, was a success. Marino got up from his table and strolled out to the street, now populated with automobiles from the 1940's. A newspaper boy shoved a newspaper in the hand of Marino and requested 5 cents. Marino saw the headlines, "Japan attacks Pearl Harbor." Marino reached into his pocket for change but found none. It seems none of Marino's pocket change transferred with him. Marino had deposited several million dollars in an account with New York Bank and Trust. NYB&T had a branch in Pittsburg. Since Marino had no money on him to catch a cab, Marino had to walk the two miles to the New York Bank and Trust branch. Marino entered the branch and approached a teller's window. Marino gave his name and his account number. The teller checked but found no record of Marino or his account. It suddenly dawned on Marino his account did not go back in time with him. What also suddenly dawned on Marino was he was destitute in a place where he knew no one and no one knew him. Marino had business skills but he had no resume. He did not even have a birth certificate proving he was ever born. He had no home, no family, no resources, not even a paper of any kind with his name on it. He knew the future, but who would believe him? He knew people of importance but they were youngsters in the 1940's.

In 1976, Marino had been an unhappy man. In 1941, Marino, who loved wealth, was a devastated, penniless, miserable man. Marino reached for the brief case and the go back button. The button would to take Marino back to 1976. Marino pushed the go back button but nothing happened. Marino pushed the button again, but nothing happened. Something had gone wrong. What had gone wrong was the brief case and the time travel mechanism had transistors in the device. When the device went back to 1941, the transistors disappeared along with the printed circuit board. Transistors and printed circuits would not be invented until years after 1941. Marino was stuck. He was stuck in 1941 with no way out. However, he was learning. He learned he had lost everything in a greedy attempt to get more. He learned he never counted his blessings. He never appreciated what he had in his former life in the future. What he also lost was his health.

Marino, to survive, began sweeping floors in a small factory. Within a few days he was seriously ill and was taken to a local hospital. A nurse on duty took his name and mentioned he had the same name as a little boy who lived across the street from her. The nurse's name was Evelyn. Marino suddenly remembered. Evelyn lived across the street from him when he was a little boy. Marino was both a little boy and a grown man alive at the same time. The doctors could not determine Marino's illness. Marino began to realize his life was slipping away. Marino recalled Evelyn was a religious woman. In his last hours, Marino begged Evelyn to take the young boy with the same name to church with her every Sunday. He also begged Evelyn to help the young boy count his blessings every day.

Marino scribbled a note to the young boy, essentially a note to himself. The note said, "Count your blessings one by one, see the great things God has done."

Epilogue

It was April of 1977. Evelyn had passed away. She was like Marino's grandmother, his favorite aunt, his mentor, and his friend all in one person. As Marino stood up for the closing prayer of the Evelyn's memorial service, a yellowed piece of paper fell out of the old Bible he had taken to the service. Years before, he did not remember when, Evelyn had given Marino this bible. When he bent over to pick up the piece of paper Marino had a flash of insight, a flash of wisdom, or some kind of other worldly encounter he could not put into words. Somehow Marino saw what his life would have been like without Evelyn. He looked at the yellowed piece of paper and in his own handwriting he read the words "Count your blessings one by one, see the great things God has done." The note was dated Dec. 21, 1941. But how could he have written a note in 1941? He wasn't old enough to even know how to write in 1941.

This article is fiction. The truth and wisdom to be drawn from this article is not fiction. This article first appeared in July, 2007, in the Virtual Church web site at http://www.findthepower.com

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018