OPHERUS. . .
Once upon a time there lived a man named Opherus. As he grew up he always wanted to serve the strongest and most powerful man in the world.
So, after serving the army he applied for work at the king.
He got the job . . . but after some time he noticed that the King always was praying, both morning and evening and before he should eat.
Opherus asked why he did that?
The King answered: “ You must ask for protection against the devil. He can disturb your night with nightmares, and cast spells on you or poisoned you food, so you get sick.”
Opherus understood then that the Devil was stronger and more powerful than the King.
He quit the work by the King and went searching for the Devil. After some time, he found the Devil and asked if he could work for him.
The Devil welcomed him with a big party, and every night they went around the world to trick and trap people.
But one time, in the hid of the dark, they met a priest. The Devil stopped and run to hide behind a tree.
Opherus asked why he did that.
The Devil answered: “Didn’t you see the cross on his chest?”
Opherus said: “Yes, what about that? Is the cross a danger for you?”
“No” The Devil said: “But the priest is serving Christ and I don’t want to be exposed by the light of Christ . . . it can kill me.”
“Really” Opherus said, highly surprised “Is Christ stronger and more powerful than you?”
The Devil had to admit so . . .
Opherus then left the Devil, and started to search for Christ in person.
He traveled all over the world, he searched in all countries. He served inside many religions, but never found Christ in person.
At the end, as an old man, he built a house at a river. He earned money for his needs, by carry people over the river in a little boat he had, from the one side to the other.
He had by now found peace in that he would never find Christ to serve him in person.
One night as he was fast asleep, he suddenly woke up by someone calling his name . . .
“Opherus ! ! Opherus ! !”
He sat up in his bed and listened . . . but everything was silent.
He thought it had only been a dream, so he went back to sleep again.
Then he suddenly heard the voice again, calling as if the person was in danger. . . . but this time he heard the voice of a child.
He rush out of the bed. He looked around, but couldn’t see anybody.
He called: “Is anybody there?”
No one answered . . . He went back to bed again, but had difficult to fell asleep. He was afraid his mind was making a trick on him.
Then he heard the call from a child again, filled with sorrow as if the child was crying.
“Opherus. Opherus. Come and help me!”
Opherus rush out of the bed and to the river-side and called: “Who’s there? Who’s calling me?”
There . . . on the other side of the river was a child, about 5 years old.
“Opherus. Please help me over the river.” The child cried
The water in the river was low, so Opherus didn’t take the time to bring the boat. He only run out in the river to the other side to bring the child over. He thought the child maybe was lost, so his only thought was to bring the child in safety until morning came.
He took the child on his shoulders and started to cross the river. But as he walked the child become heavier and heavier for every step he took.
When he came to the middle of the river, the child was so heavy so he almost could not carry him and he fell down on his knees.
He crawled on hands and feet but still the child got heavier and heavier. At the end the weight of the child pushed him all under the water . . .
Then . . . at the same time Opherus was covered with water, the child suddenly become light as a feather.
Opherus stood up and brought the child to the other side.
There he asked the child: “How come you became so heavy, my child?”
The child answered: “I am Christ . . . and as you carried me from the one side to the other, I was thinking about all the sufferings people undergo in the world, which lay as a burden on my shoulders. The heaviness you felt was the weight of the suffering and sorrow in the world. At the moment you fell under water, the weight disappeared. That was a sign of that I’m doing the same for the human as you did to me. . . when you though I was lost, you came rushing out from your bed and your sleep and cross the river on your bare feet. You didn’t even take the time to bring the boat.
Like that . . . I am also there for the human, when they believe they are lost. . . if they only call my name, I will run to rescue them without hesitation and nothing shall stop me in that act.”
The child continued: “ You have served me tonight. Because of that . . as a sign of who you have served, your name is not Opherus any more. Your name is Christopher . . .
Always remember . . . The way you treat one of the smallest and most vulnerable . . . that is the way you treat me . . . CHRIST.”