The Jesus Ring
By Daniel L. Harry
2034 Oceanview Dr.
Seabrook, TX 77586
The tide was coming in. The waves lapped the sandy shoreline as they had since the oceans had formed. A gold ring flipped itself out of the waves. Its travels, this time, lasted nearly two thousand years. Its last wearer was celebrated for his kindness and love of all things. His memory changed the world and started the Christian faith that had grown to encompass the Earth. He died a horrible death at the age of thirty-three for the crime of jealousy from the ruling class. His life ended by offering his soul for the lost souls of the faithful.
Joseph of Arimathea found the ring at the site of the crucifixion as he and Nicodemus took Jesus’ body down from the cross. Joseph assumed that someone had lost it as he had never seen the ring on Jesus’ hand. Jesus never adorned himself with anything lavish. He put it in his pocket and busied himself with the binding of the body in linen and the transport of Jesus’ body to his house where he would be entombed.
The ring was later stolen by a worker in Joseph’s household and sold to a traveling merchant whose trade route covered most of the Middle East and northern Africa. On a small sailboat just out of the city that would become known as Lixus, on what is now the Moroccan Atlantic coastline, the boat that carried the merchant was swept out to sea by a huge storm. The boat sank and the merchant, with his goods and the ring, became one with the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
Thus, began its journey westward, following the sun, moved by the ever-changing ocean currents that are natural and assisted by some that were not. Its journey was slow, flipping inch by inch to its next destination but, its maker had time.
The ring maker was disappointed in the results of the last attempt at having the human animals come together under a common goal, just as he had been disappointed for several thousand years of trying to bring them together under Moses. The ring maker wouldn’t try the peacemaker method this time. The love he had instilled in them turned out that it was not, necessarily, for each other. While the ring maker had caused the humans to write the teachings of his progeny, caused the basic rules to be written in stone blocks, and instructed the clergy of every nation in the writings, what had they done with these prompts? They had perverted them in every way. They had made different religions with different beliefs as their “holy men” became stronger and richer while they turned their worships into a profitable business for themselves and a select few, in His name. They hid or destroyed the parts that didn’t fit their pleasure. They ignored the instructions of those who would be the shepherds and killed them off, hiding the staff of order, the separation by tribes and their respective duties. The shepherds were made too fragile; they could be killed if they did not wear their cloaks. Even his own attempt at walking among them while a part of his son had ended in utter failure. They had tortured him and executed him in a disgraceful manner.
Time was of the essence now; the harvesters would be on their way within a couple of years, and those who were not controlled by the shepherds would become food and fodder for the harvesters. The forward scouts of the harvesters would be dropping through the portal within the next few weeks, and they were merciless when it came to the human tribe. They didn’t eat the other species, only the human animals that were not controlled by the shepherds and a part of an organized community with the advancement of the herd at the heart of their interest and God’s plan for their souls. Order in the universes was required.
No, this time the human animals the ring maker loved so dearly would either come together in a cohesive group or perish. This time the ring maker would take a bigger presence in the reckoning. The small planet already had almost eight billion human animals, and that was too many. They poisoned the water supply and killed off the other species with supposed impunity. The great herds of the planet he had nurtured and caused to reproduce for food for the humans were slaughtered at an alarming rate—all in the interest of a profit for a select few. The humans ran over and crushed the small animals with their automobiles and left them to suffer and die without so much as a second thought about them or cursed them for damaging their vehicle. No, this time there would be some hurt involved on this planet and a great deal of death. The apocalypse that had been written and foretold was beginning.
The ring maker was God, the maker of all things.
Peter Christian stood at the water’s edge just outside Ormand Beach, Florida. The Atlantic Ocean calmed him and relieved the pressures in his head and body; the doctors had diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder—a fancy name for living the horrors of a war and now, reliving them over and over. Every time he closed his eyes, he relived his buddies in the armored Humvee liquifying before him. He was the only one who came out in one piece. It’s hard to forget being covered by blood and spitting out pieces of your buddies’ brains and fragments of skull. It was just as hard living on the menial disability check he received from the army each month when they mustered him out on a mental discharge.
Peter toed the sand. A gold band appeared as his foot slid over the grit and shells. He reached down and picked it up. It looked like any men’s wedding band with the exception of the swirls and lines inscribed on it. “Somebody lost their wedding ring,” he thought to himself. He looked around the beach. There was no other person in sight. Not many come to the beach in the middle of February. The Atlantic was cold and gray this time of year. He looked inside the ring to see if there were any initials inscribed on it. Nothing was there. He slid the ring on the middle finger of his right hand. The ring seemed to resize itself to fit his finger and turned a skin tone to match his finger. He felt a slight irritation on his finger under the ring. He knew. ... Immediately, he knew he was chosen. For what, he had no idea. Suddenly, the sounds of trumpets sounded in the sky. It wasn’t like a band played the sound, more like two huge pieces of metal being dragged against each other. It made him flinch with surprise. Peter looked up in the sky. “What the hell was that?” he asked aloud.
Peter walked home. He lived a few short blocks from the beach in a rundown two-bedroom house his folks had owned. It was just a little past six in the evening, but he went to bed anyway and slept like the dead. He slept like he hadn’t slept since he was a kid. He dreamed, but the dreams seemed to be more of a history lesson of the ring that had chosen him than the terrifying dreams that so often accompanies his sleep over the past few years. His only memory was that of a father figure telling him, “Sleep and rest. Your mind will be settled. We have work to do, and the harvesters will be here shortly.” It seemed he didn’t actually hear the words so much as he felt them and he didn’t understand the meaning.
When he awoke the next morning, the sun had already risen fairly high in the sky. Peter looked at the clock, it was ten thirty in the morning, and he thought to himself, “Wow, I feel great,” even though it seemed he had strange dreams most of the night. There was a sense of urgency to get started, but he wasn’t sure what he should start. Usually, he would have a beer or two for breakfast to wash down the regimen of anti-depressants and painkillers he habitually took. He had no desire to take the medications this morning or even the beer. The refrigerator held nothing of interest, so he dressed quickly in shorts and t-shirt and drove to the local Walmart.
He went to the meat department and browsed the steaks. Most of them smelled overwhelmingly like chemicals and ... well, poison, even through the plastic wrapping. He picked a couple of the organic ribeye steaks after sniffing them. They were better but still had the slight smell of chemicals. He went to the produce section and picked out some organic fruit and vegetables. Much of the produce had a heavy chemical smell to them, as well. The organics weren’t terrible, but he could still smell the poisons. He figured he might be able to wash a lot of it off, but some of it would remain. “That will be a priority; get the food supply edible again,” he thought. Then, “How the hell am I going to do that and why do I know the food is full of chemicals and poisons?” He made his way to the checkout, and the lady checker looked at him strongly like she recognized him.
“Nice tan!” she said.
Peter could feel that there was no malice in her voice even though he knew he had stayed inside most of the time, rarely going to the beach or even staying outside very much. Between the medications and his erratic sleep pattern, his pallor was more that of a dead fish than anything else. Peter thanked her and drove home to make his meal. He felt famished and needed to eat soon.
He got the grill ready with charcoal and lit it. He thought about what the checkout lady had said and went into the bathroom. He peeled the t-shirt off and looked at himself in the mirror. His normal dead fish complexion had been replaced with a slight bronze tone. His upper body muscles appeared to be tightening up, replacing the sagging, atrophied muscles he had become accustomed to from the drugs, medications, and lack of use. He felt stronger. His hair was healthier and fuller. His brow was much less furrowed. Not only did he feel more of the youthful strength, his body appeared to be stronger, and he even felt taller. “Naw, I quit growing years ago,” he thought, “I’m probably just standing up straighter because my head is clearer.” Still, his normally six-foot height appeared to be increased.
He went back out to the grill and cooked one of the pound and a half ribeyes. He cut up the fresh vegetables and fixed a huge salad of the raw greens, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots. Some of the items smelled like a bleach bottle and were discarded. Peter set everything on the table and had a maddening urge to pray. He wasn’t very proficient at the praying part although he had prayed silently enough when he was in Afghanistan and had most assuredly prayed for God to take away the dreams and flashbacks. He bowed his head and prayed. “Lord, please let this food nourish my body and mind. Lead me in the direction I need to go. Amen.” He ate it all and was still hungry, so he grilled the last ribeye and made more salad. He couldn’t remember when he had been so hungry or eaten so much. He finished it all off with a quart of purified water and a resounding belch. He looked around the kitchen and said aloud, “That should have scared the small animals.” He smiled at his own joke.
He thought about the chemical smell and taste on the food he just ate. “We have to get rid of the poisons; we are killing ourselves,” he thought and set about gathering drafting equipment and paper. Peter’s rudimentary knowledge of electronics and computing parts seemed to increase exponentially, and his hands flew across the paper. He understood everything he drew and each part’s function to ensure the device was properly designed. To him, it was simple, a mixture of certain light rays passed over any edible would remove the toxic compounds on a molecular level. All the parts and pieces were readily available except for the crystal needed to pass the light through. He knew the exact location of the closest crystals that would work until he completed the device and could refine other crystals. They were in the ruby and sapphire mines near Franklin, North Carolina. He felt an almost overwhelming urge to go there immediately. He was amazed at the things he knew, how to make them, and where to get the raw materials to make them work.
He knew his small income wouldn’t carry him very far and he had to continue playing the compensation game ... for now. He counted the cash he had on hand and added the money that was in his bank account. All total, he had a little over twelve hundred dollars. That wouldn’t get him far; he would have to supplement this quickly. For some reason, he knew there was gold in the rivers of the Carolinas, all of which was “placer” gold, which was left by the glaciers after the handful of ice ages over the last two billion years. It would take him a while to dig the bigger nuggets, but he would need it to finance his projects for a while.
He needed some help, but not just anyone would do. “Who ... who can I enlist in this mission? They must possess a kind heart but be able to see the “dirty jobs” through. There are some “dirty jobs” coming, and they have to be dedicated to our cause,” he thought. “Paul ... Paul Malloy is my first.” Paul was stationed with Peter in Afghanistan. Paul was a good soul and a true believer; he carried his Bible with him everywhere. Paul prayed regularly over every mission to bring them all back safely. He was kind and caring to people when he wasn’t in combat mode. In combat mode, he was precise and ruthless. Peter again looked around the kitchen and wondered, “My first what?”
Peter dug out his book of phone numbers and grabbed his cell phone. He had qualified for Obama’s free cell phone and service. He punched Paul’s number in. It was Paul’s parents’ number, but they would know how to track him down.
“Hey Peter, been expecting your call. Not sure why or how I knew you would be calling, but I drove to my folks’ house this morning from Asheville. So, what’s up?” Paul had answered, not even saying hello, just knowing that he had to be ready to receive Peter’s telephone call.
Peter was taken aback by Paul’s premonition that he would be called and stammered, “Uh ... uh ... hey buddy, since you knew I was going to call you, do you know what I am calling about?”
Paul smiled to himself. “Don’t have a clue, old son, but I’m ready ... for what, I don’t have a clue about that either ... but I’m ready. It seems I was born to be part of whatever we are doing and not lose my head for doing it,” referring to Paul the Apostle being beheaded.
Peter thought for a second and asked, “Does your dad still do the prospecting for gold stuff?” Peter had remembered Paul’s stories of going prospecting when Paul was a kid.
Paul had always said that they had never found much but “any color in the pan was a thriller” and spending the time with his dad and his family was always a joy. “Not like he used to, he’s getting kinda long in the tooth and can’t hump the hills and riverbanks without fear of breaking something. He still has all his equipment though. I will get it out and get it ready to take with us.”
Again, Peter was surprised at the comment. It was as if Paul knew what they were after without being told. “Great, I should be able to get to your folks’ place in Charlotte by about two o’clock tomorrow afternoon. Hey Paul, what about your job? What about your wife and kids?” Peter asked.
“Well ... Sara knows something is happening and that I am a part of it. She and the kids are good with it. As far as the job, Sara always says, ‘The Lord will provide’ ... and I am sure he will,” Paul answered.
“Okay, Paul, I really look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Send me your folks’ address. ... You have my email address?” Peter asked.
“You bet. It’s stuck here in my brain for some reason ... not sure why but it’s plugged into my noggin. See you tomorrow,” Paul said. They both hung up.
Peter thought, “Wow, it just keeps getting stranger and stranger, but it feels right.”
Peter gathered his things for the trip the next day. He tried several pairs of pants and changed several times because the waist was too large and the waistband would fold over when he put his belt on. He looked at himself in his mom’s old full-length mirror. The pants length was too short, and he looked like he was expecting high water. “I couldn’t have grown. I’ve worn the same size pants since I got out of boot camp,” he thought as he looked at the hem of each pant leg. They rode almost two inches above his ankles. His shirts and t-shirts were tight and stretched at the shoulders. His gut that had formed while taking the anti-depressants and pain pills had flattened noticeably. “I wonder if the ring had anything to do with this,” he thought as he looked at the ring on his finger. It was almost invisible against the skin on his finger. He pulled at the ring, and it refused to budge. It was like it had grown onto the skin. “Hmmm ... looks like every place on the old bod is kicking off the fat and moving it to my fingers.” He laughed at his own joke then laughed again. “Why not? I’m a funny guy!”
He was going to have to get some clothes that fit before he left in the morning. He drove back to his favorite home away from home ... Walmart. Peter went to the men’s section and tried on several pairs of pants in his size; they were too big in the waist and too short in the inseam. He got a measuring tape and asked one of the Walmart employees to help him measure himself. The employee was a young girl who appeared to be about twenty-two or so, and she was thrilled to help him.
“What’s your name?” he asked her.
“Faith,” she replied pointing to her name tag.
“Peter,” he responded, sticking his hand out.
Faith shook his hand and felt a rush of excitement. It felt like a warm breeze had just brushed by her. He could feel this young lady was just that—a lady. She had a good heart, and he could feel that she was close to God. She was a single mom, a bit over twenty-three years old, with a three-year-old son.
“You just had a birthday; happy birthday,” Peter said having known all about her just from the handshake.
“Well ... yes, I did. How did you know?” Faith asked.
“Your name tag also has ‘Happy B’day’ on it. I put two and two together and came up with twenty-two,” he joked.
Her giggle thrilled him. Life was hard on her, but she was faithful that a better life and other good things were on the way. “Faith, that is a magic word,” Peter thought to himself.
After measuring his waist and instep (she blushed when she placed the tape close to his crotch), she gathered several pairs of jeans and casual pants for him to try on in the fitting room. They were a perfect fit; his waist was four inches smaller and his leg length three inches longer than it had been a couple of days ago. He asked her to measure his overall height, and she backed him against a wall, taped the end of the measuring tape on the heel of his shoe, got a step stool and a one-foot ruler, placed the ruler level with the top of his head, and measured six feet three inches. He had grown three inches in as many days.
Next, she measured his chest and across his shoulders.
His chest was forty-four inches, and his shoulders were equally wider, as his body seemed to have lost the fat and replaced it with good, solid muscle. “I haven’t lifted anything heavier than a fork lately. I wonder how that happened?” Peter thought.
Faith brought him several shirts and a pack of colored t-shirts that she thought would fit him. He went into the fitting room and neglected to shut the door before he tried them on. He peeled the shirt he was wearing off as it fit snug. Faith was standing outside looking at some more shirts he may want when she happened to turn toward the door and saw him with his shirt off.
“Oh goodness, you’re beautiful!” she exclaimed and blushed immediately. “I am so sorry; I shouldn’t have looked!” she said.
Peter looked in the full-length mirror at himself. His skin had turned a deep bronze goldish hue. The hair on his chest had changed from the dark brown color, he had noted before, to a copperish color. The muscle tone of his upper body had increased dramatically. He patted his belly and thought, “I have traded my pony keg in for a six-pack. Wow.” He subconsciously reached down and spun the ring around his finger. Peter looked out the door at Faith, who was still bright red but hadn’t looked away.
“That’s okay. Looks like some things are paying off,” implying he had been working out. Not quite a lie, just an implication. He tried on several of the shirts and asked Faith to get some of the shirts and pants in a bigger size. He thought he would be clothes shopping again soon.
Faith gathered the final choices together, and Peter thanked her.
“Thanks for your help. Um ... I am leaving in the morning for a couple of weeks. Is there any possibility of meeting you for some coffee or a glass of tea when I get back?” he asked Faith.
She looked at him as if she were mesmerized. “Sure. I am here Sundays after church, Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from one until nine. Come see me,” she said.
“Count on it,” Peter replied and made his way to check out.
The night before, hours after placing the ring on his finger, Peter had dreamed of the origin of the ring. His vision began as if he were watching from another’s viewpoint as two neutron stars revolved around one another.
The twin neutron stars circled each other, ever closer. Faster and faster, their extreme gravities pulling at each other, each star only twelve miles across, their density so great that a spoonful of material has the mass of a billion tons. Their crusts were smooth, solid, and ten billion times stronger than steel. When they reached a proximity of two hundred miles apart, they revolved around each other at thirty times per second. The gap between the two lessened until their revolutions reached two thousand orbits per second, then they collided. Intense bursts of gamma rays, emitted as shock waves, rushed through the jets of matter funneled out of the poles during the monumental impact of the collision. The matter was the stuff of modern man’s wealth. Gold, silver, platinum, palladium, uranium, all the metals heavier than iron are manufactured in neutron stars.
The ring maker watched as the matter streamed into space, launched by the tremendous explosion of the two stars. The remaining black hole began pulling the materials closest to it back into its maw; the gravitational pull was tremendous. He caused a particular blob of the matter and a very special item to escape the gravitational pull of the black hole and sent them hurtling through space toward a small planet one hundred thirty light years away. They had a special purpose, and their progress was hastened by the ring maker.
The ring, manufactured by thought alone, had been delivered to Earth nearly forty thousand years ago and into the hands of early man that could, possibly, understand the concept of a rational society.
The ring was brought by an asteroid that hit in the bowels of the African continent in, what is now, Gauteng Province. Landing outside the crater, it was found by a small tribe of early Homo Sapiens and the one that found it put a leather thong through it and wore it around her neck instead of on her finger where it would be effective. The tribe was utterly wiped out by a band of the last few Neanderthals. The ring maker rendered the Neanderthals sterile, and their kind died out shortly after. It would be tens of thousands of years before the ring was found again and taken into a populated area in a region around Nazareth and lost again by the carrier.
The ring had been found by Mary while making her rounds to the markets of Nazareth, a mere nine months before Jesus’ birth. She had been betrothed to Joseph, a widowed father of five when she turned twelve and had immediately become a centerpiece in the Joseph family. She was the little sister, daughter, granddaughter to them all. She was loved by them all, and there was no jealousy toward her from the other members. They all felt tremendous love and trust in her. She was taken into the home and given tasks to perform as any functioning member of a large household. Joseph was not a poor man. He was a recognized educator in the finer arts of carpentry and drew a good remuneration for his teachings. Fathers rarely betrothed daughters to anyone who could not afford the dowry and the ability to care for her properly once betrothed. Such was the faith of Mary’s father, plus the dreams and visions he had for several years prior.
Mary was being trained to shop for the household and was on her way to the market when she saw a shiny object alongside the road and pulled the ring from the dust. It had unfamiliar markings on it. She slipped it on her finger, and it immediately resized itself to fit her properly. The tone of the ring turned from bright gold to a dull brown matching her skin color. It could barely be seen as it camouflaged itself against the color of her hand. The ring had accepted her; she had a true and kind soul.
There had been reasons behind the betrothal to Joseph. Joseph was ninety years old at the time Mary’s father set the betrothal and was believed to be too old to consummate the marriage, much less father any more children. Joseph was more like a godfather to Mary and honored her by taking her into his home and adding her to the lineage of David through his marriage to her. Mary had committed to staying celibate from a very young age. Mary’s mother had died several years before her betrothal, and her father honored her vow of celibacy by arranging the betrothal. Mary had had dreams and visions herself, knowing that she must save her womb for something precious.
The ring exuded a very small needle and barely pricked Mary’s finger. It injected just a few molecules of material that the ring maker had placed in it as the neutron star collided with its sister star and exploded. He sent the ring that was just completed and some of the materials in the destroyed stars across the universe and directed its path to our solar system, where the third planet from the sun served as a Petri dish and incubator for the ring maker.
The materials the ring maker trickled into Mary’s system caused her to have her first female cycle where it prompted her to drop all but three eggs, placing the next in line to receive the holiest of gifts, the seed of the ring maker. The next month Mary became pregnant, never having been known by a man and her hymen intact. Few questioned her pregnancy as the ring maker had sent messages and messengers to them telling them of the coming of her child. The ring maker had also sent emissaries to her that said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
After Mary gave birth, the ring maker instructed her to place the ring on the baby’s middle finger. The ring immediately resized itself to Jesus’ finger and again, camouflaged itself to blend in with the baby’s skin tone. There it stayed until the day he was killed.
The rest is as it was “mostly” told in the Bible. Jesus grew to be a man and began his ministry and teaching when he was about thirty years old. The ring maker’s script was laid out to him and could not be denied. He attempted to place righteousness in the hearts of evil, charity in place of greed, and the gospel of the kingdom of God in the hearts of all decent men and women. Three short years later he was crucified for sorcery and blasphemy.
The ring could feel there was no more life in Jesus’ body and released itself from his finger just as the ring maker brought his son’s soul home. It dropped to the ground and assumed its color of bright gold. This is what attracted Joseph of Arimathea’s attention and started the ring on its next journey to find a worthwhile wearer.
The ring could feel its next wearer was close and it flipped out of the ocean onto the edge of the shoreline, confident it would be noticed. Its golden finish sparkled even in the cloudy overcast skies to attract the attention of the next wearer. It had arrived at its new home as Peter picked it up and slid it on his finger. Peter understood he had been chosen. Exactly what he had been chosen for was still a mystery.