A new bank branch just opened on the corner not far from where I live. I took a walk up to the street corner to check it out. There was a sign just off to the side of the sidewalk. It was one of those signs where somebody has to open the glass panels and change the letters. Actually there was a man standing in front of it doing just that. He was just beginning to insert the large, black letters into the sign. All I could make out, while trying to read the sign around the man who was working there was, “Come and receive…” It was probably just going to say something like, “Come and Open a New Account,” I imagined.
I stepped into the parking lot of the bank, moving up closer to the building. I didn’t see the name of the bank posted yet, but there, above the entrance doors, engraved in what appeared to be a single, beautiful peace of marble stone, were the words, “The Richest Bank in the World.” Now, I have certainly seen many banks come and go in the neighborhood; sometimes they disappear as soon as their built. The way different banks merge with each other so often, you never know for sure how long a bank is going to be around.
I must also say, this was one of the most beautiful banks I’ve ever seen. It appeared to have been built out stone. It was a tall building. It must have been at least four or five stories high. The closer I stepped toward the bank, though the windows were partially covered up from the outside, I noticed that the windows were actually stained glass; each surrounded by what appeared to be a glowing, brushed brass.
Still very curious, I stepped up on to the sidewalk. I noticed that one of the doors was propped open, but I couldn’t get too close because there were a few cones and what appeared to be “caution tape” blocking them off. I got as close as I could. Peering in through the open door, I actually saw many people inside, walking around. Baffling however, I couldn’t make out anybody in particular. They all seemed to be wearing white suites and dresses.
A loud warning suddenly pierced my ears, “Look out below!” I looked up toward the voice and saw a man perched on a ladder. He was wearing white coveralls and even his cap was white. He must have been one of the painters. I then looked down around me and saw some sort of flat stone broken in pieces. When I looked back up towards the ladder, the man in the white coveralls was gone.
Never mind that this flat, stone just barely missed hitting me, my first thought was to look down and see what it was. It had some strange writing on it; I say strange because I didn’t recognize the language. Suddenly then, another noise vied for my attention, it was my cell phone; a text from someone I was supposed to meet back at the house. Wow! I couldn’t believe how long I had been checking out this new bank. I quickly snapped my phone back in its belt clip, and headed back down the street towards home.
Several days had passed and I had long forgotten about that new bank up on the nearby street corner. I had been too busy; busy running errands and shopping, but all my trips were in the opposite direction of the bank. The curiosity I had about the new bank quickly dwindled.
A few days later. I was sitting at home, working on my computer, when I had looked up and noticed the strong wind outside. From my home office I saw the tall palm trees bowing, as if they were acknowledging a king or a queen. Their large leaves were ruffling as if to be trying to get away. The sky was a beautiful deep blue. No doubt, the air outside would be clean and crisp, and fresh today.
Then I heard thunder cracking across the sky. It was loud and distinct, forceful yet seemingly reserved. I couldn’t even imagine where thunder would be breaking the silence of the sky. It was clear, bright, sunny day, even though the gusts of wind were pelting all that stood in its way.
Was a storm coming? I couldn’t see any sign of an impending storm. I couldn’t even glimpse a cloud, off in the distance. I wondered was going on outside. I had already been on the computer for quite a while, reading, so I thought I’d take a break and make the short walk up to Target, not too far up the street.
I reached in to the hallway closet to grab grabbed a light jacket. The search was much more tougher than I had planned. Then I thought to myself, “I can’t even remember the last time I wore a light jacket, after all, I lived in sunny, Southern California. Here in Southern California, one would either where shorts and a T-shirt or a warm, heavy jacket, and anything in between was frankly, questionable. I thought back to my younger days, when these light-styled jacket were actually called, “windbreakers.” That’s what I was struggling to find right now, a windbreaker.
I did eventually find one, and to my pleasant surprise, it still fit me. I grabbed my keys from a hook on the wall, near the entrance to my home and opened the door. But before I could get too far, the wind howled and pressed me back against the door. Then I heard it again, the sound of thunder. Then a thin streak of lightening shot down from the sky. “Wow!, that was pretty close,” I said to myself. It looked as though it was striking up the street, right near where I was headed for.
Suddenly, silence filled the air. The wind ceased. There were no more sounds of thunder, no sightings of lightening. It was as if Someone had simply told the wind to stop; told the thunder to keep silent. But, “better safe than sorry,” I thought. I took the opportunity to dash down the sidewalk and stride up the street to Target.
As I was walking up the slight hill, to Target, I caught sight of that new bank. It was across the street, opposite Target. I could see several men, oddly dressed in white, sweeping the parking lot of the bank. I didn’t give it much thought however. I was on a mission. Snacks, I was in search of some snacks. As I got closer to the store, I was able to notice that the windows of that new bank were not covered anymore, and indeed they were all stained glass windows.
If the large stone carving above the doors hadn’t read, “The Richest bank in the World,” I’d say in no uncertain terms, that this bank was actually a church. I chuckled to myself as I cam closer to the store. Again, my interest in the bank diminished. As I walked down the sidewalk in front of Target, heading for the entrance. Just as I started approaching the front doors, another ground shaking quake of thunder crashed across the sky. I looked up just to catch a quick glimpse of lightening strike the bank across the street. “Wow!” I exclaimed to myself as again my thoughts turned to more important things, getting some snacks to get me through the day.
After gathering the basic essentials at the store, I walked out on to the sidewalk just in time to see another streak of lightening strike the top of the new bank across the street. “What was that bank made out of?” I uttered to myself, as the startling crash of thunder followed. Then came eerie silence, as if once again, somebody had ordered silence across the sky.
It has been a long time since we’ve had this kind of weather in town, and I can’t say I’ve ever actually seen lighting strike a place in particular. I thought to myself, that “it would be wise to stay clear of that bank while this crazy weather was beating down on us,” even as I pushed that big button on the light pole at the intersection, waiting to cross over to the sidewalk where the bank was.
As I was waiting to enter the crosswalk however, I noticed that I had a good vie of that sign that I saw someone working on a few days earlier. It contained several statements. One statement read, “Open Your Free Account Today!” The next read, “Open 24/7.” A bank that’s open 24/7, it must be speaking of their ATM machines. There’s no such thing as a 24-hour bank.
The weather had been calm and quiet as I strode across the intersection. The wind had died down. There was no evidence that there had ever been any lighting strikes. Birds could be heard singing in the nearby trees that studded the bank’s parking lot. I couldn’t peer in through the windows, for they were all made from stained glass. Each stained glass formed images. They looked familiar but I just couldn’t say what they were.
I didn’t see anyone there before, but suddenly as I continued down the sidewalk, walking along side of the bank, there was a young man who was standing next to the sign, firmly planted in the grass, along the sidewalk. Other than what he was wearing, I couldn’t tell you much about him. I’m not ever sure I knew he was young. He appeared to be slender and tall, but not abnormally tall. He was wearing a very brightly-colored coat. It reminded me of an old “tie-dye” shirt from the seventies.
As I came closer to where he was standing, he waved his hand, as if he were ushering me into a theater or a church. “Odd,” I thought to myself. No. Not odd. It was downright, “strange.” He spoke to me, “Welcome! I am the manager of this bank, won’t you come in and open a new account?” I thanked him repeatedly but assured him that, “I didn’t have any money to open a new bank account with” But he said that I didn’t need any money to open this new account. He said that he’d been, “sent ahead, to provide for me.”
This was one weird guy, but I didn’t want to be rude, so I was inclined to see what all the fuss of this new bank was about. This man waked beside me, for a few steps, leading me to the entrance of the bank. I stopped just short of crossing the thresh-hold of the open doors and peered in.
Just then my vision seemed to be a bit foggy. I could vaguely make out a man standing inside the door. He greeted me with a hug, and welcomed me, “I am Stephen, if there’s anything I can help you with, I’ll be right here.” I found myself inside, stunned and shaken. What was this guy at the door thinking?
With my vision still a bit blurry, I started slowly making my way through what I thought was the main lobby. The first desk I came across, two people were sitting on one side while another sat at behind it. I noticed a sign hanging from the ceiling, dandling over the desk It had the name, Andrew, inscribed on it. Now, I realize my vision wasn’t the best, but if you had asked me, I would have told you that the sign hanging over that desk, was made of pure gold. Beneath the name, it read, “New Accounts.”
Before I know it, I’m being hugged by another man. This man introduced himself as Luke, and insisted that he give me a personal tour of the bank. Reality check. I was just looking for the quickest way out. He guided me through the bank, stopping here and there, to introduce me to the people in the various departments. Luke pointed towards one of the teller-windows, “This is Mary, she handles deposits,” he explained.
Luke pointed towards the next window, saying, “this is Mathew, he can answer any questions you have about money.” We now stepped across the room where there was a row of teller-windows. He said it was here, that I could redeem my benefits. He pointed to those at the windows, naming “Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, and Judas, also known as Jude.”
So finally, I asked him, What benefits will I get, from becoming a member of this bank. He took me to an office space near the back of the bank. Its door was opened. It was surrounded by clear glass, as though it was made from pure crystal. Luke invited me in, asked me to sit and said that someone would be right in to help me. All the while, I was trying to rub the specks out of eyes, searching for the nearest exit.
Suddenly, I spotted a way out. No one was looking. I stood to step towards my getaway when suddenly a man appeared, sitting behind the desk. I explained to this gentleman, that the man named, Luke had brought me here to get some answers. “What would like to know?” the man asked of me. I told him that I was interested in opening an account there and that I wanted to know what benefits I would get.
“Well then, I’ll be happy to help you.,” and he began to explain. “Some of the benefits you’ll receive from us include forgiveness, love, joy, friendship. You will also see glory, and see the light. You will be bold and you will be confident. You will be a son. You will live forever in eternal life and peace.”
“So,” I began to say, “what kind of bank is this?” He answers, telling me that “it’s the richest bank in the world.” I told him that it all sounded good and asked him what I had to deposit, to receive all of these benefits. The man simply replied, “They are all free.” I shook my head in disbelief. I said, “Surely, you aren’t going to just give me all these things for free. I do I have to do to get these benefits?” I asked, doubtful that I would get a real answer, but he said, “all that you have to do is to make a deposit of faith.”
“I’m sorry, what was that? I don’t think I heard that right,” he said it again, “All we ask of you, is that you deposit your faith in our bank.” This guy was making no sense. He’s telling me that I’ll receive all kinds of free stuff, and all I have to do is deposit faith in their bank. I said to the man, “I know little about it, how can I have faith in it.” The man stands up. I stand up. He comes nearer the door and he calls someone else over.
“This man will escort you to the President of the bank.” I turned and began walking with this man. As we walk, he says to me, “Was John able to answer some of your questions?” I affirmed that he had and as we arrived in the open doorway of the bank president’s office, I felt as though I had just spent many years, walking and listening to my escort.
As my escort brought me to the door, the man inside said to the man with me, “Thank you Peter, I will take it from here.” The bank president invited me to sit. He leaned back against his large desk, of what seemed to be a sea of glass. In each corner of his office was fiery flame, burning from out of nowhere. He was quiet for what seemed like an eternity. He just looked in to my eyes, as though he were searching my soul. I felt as if he were sizing me up.
It wasn’t long before I found myself trembling with fear. But I wasn’t afraid of him. I don’t know how, but I sensed from him, nothing but love, however, the silence was still quite scary. Then he moved forward away from his sea of glass and knelt in front of me. He reached out and gently took my hand, and said, “Do you love me?” There was no other word I could utter, “yes, I answered, I love you.”
Suddenly, as if awakening from a dream, I found myself standing at the entrance to the bank, holding in my hand, a receipt for my deposit. I opened my hands and gazed at a small wooden cross that I held, but there was something on it. There was something poured over the cross, something poured over my hands. It was thick. It was dark red and then Stephen said to me, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.”
Faith. Faith in Jesus Christ is what puts all these benefits within your grasp. He is willing to give you so many wondrous things. He is willing to walk with you. He’s will to share his breastplate with you. He is willing to carry you when you need him to. He’s willing to be your defender, to stand up for you at the time of judgement.
Faith. All he asks is that you deposit faith in to his bank, and when you do, You will begin to receive your free benefits. forgiveness, love, joy, friendship. You will also see glory, and see the light. You will be bold and you will be confident. You will be a son. You will live forever in eternal life and peace.”
Get to your local bank today! Make your deposit of faith and begin receiving you free gifts for opening that new account.
© Clayton Moore 2016