Introduction

The Phone Rang

   "Hello."

   "Hello; Mr. Wirt?"

   "Yes."

   "My name is Bruce Marchiano. I'm an actor and a friend of Teres Byrne."

   "Teres! Where is she?"

   "Here in Hollywood."

   "She's funny, that one. I'd say she's the best comedienne since Fanny Brice. How is she?"

   "Oh, she's fine. Busy. Mr. Wirt, I'm calling about your little paperback book, Jesus, Man of Joy."1

   "Join the crowd. They're all calling me from everywhere wanting a copy, but I'm sorry to tell you it's dead. I'm down to one copy."

   "It's not dead, sir. It's a terrific book. It helped me fill the role of Jesus in our new motion picture, The Gospel According to Matthew."

   "What?"

   "I'm telling you, when I found that book it was a treasure trove. Jesus began jumping off the page at me. Joy! Exactly what I needed. And I took it to Morocco to begin shooting."

   "Did you say your name was Bruce?"

   "Yes, sir."

   "And you're a Hollywood actor?"

   "Yes."

   "Well, may the saints be glorified! And you took that book of mine to Morocco?"

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   "I sure did. I copied parts of it, memorized parts of it, and carried it everywhere."

   "Bruce, that little tome has been embalmed and buried six feet deep for the last two years. You might honor it with a moment of silence."

   "No, sir, it's due for a resurrection. I'm sending you four video-cassettes of The Gospel According to Matthew.2 And I'm sending with them my new book, In the Footsteps of Jesus. It tells about you and your book and how it helped me."3

   "What did you say about it?"

   "I said every page of your book was loaded with gems. I said I couldn't highlight phrases or scribble notes fast enough. It was the guide I'd been hunting for. Since the night I found it, I've read it over and over, cover to cover."

   "In what field did you find this treasure trove that filled you with all that joy so you bought the field?"

   "In a Glendale bookstore, the day before we left L.A. It was hidden behind another book and it turned out to be just what I was looking for. The director told me he wanted to portray Jesus as joyful. I kept looking and looking for a book like that, and yours turned out to be it."

   "Flabbergasting. That's what it is. Mind-boggling."

   "Can I tell you a story about Jesus and His joy?"

   "Okay."

   "It seems Teres is a kind of honorary aunt to three kids in her church she calls 'The Bunny, The Buddy, and the Budley.' Well, Teres told these kids that she knew me, and that I was going to play Jesus in a new movie. So then the 'Bunny, Monica Farrar, eight years old, spoke up and said, 'Well, I sure hope He smiles a lot, because in the other movies Jesus never smiled, and I know that Jesus smiles all the time!"

   "Right on! I'd like that in my own book."

   "I told Teres that little Monica lit fireworks in my heart. Wait till you see the film. It's all taken right out of the Gospel of Matthew. My only words are the words of Jesus."

   "Mr. Marchiano Bruce thanks. You've set off some fireworks in my own heart. God bless you."     S.E.W.

____________

1. Jesus, Man of Joy was first published by Here's Life publishers, San Bernardino, CA, in 1991, and was reissued by Thomas Nelson in 1992. That paperback edition is now out of print, but many of its chapters appear in this volume. [BACK]

2. The "Matthew Film" address is Box 5068, Clifton, NJ 07015-5068 [BACK]

3. Bruce Marchiano, In the Footsteps of Jesus (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1997) [BACK]

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