16. The Da Ninci Code
Early one Sunday morning I was watching a religious program on TV called “Mass for you at home”. A lady was reading from a large bible placed on a small pulpit. The bible looked as if it was open to one of the earlier books, Genesis, Exodus or Numbers. What puzzled me was the lady appeared to be reading from that bible, but the verses she read were from Isaiah, toward the centre of the bible. This happened a few times, even when the New Testament was read.
I traced an email address of an organisation dealing with the Anglican Media. They would understand my surprise observation. While emailing them I remembered a theological practice I had observed in traditional Anglican services. This was a good time to ask about this and other questions:
Subject: ‘Mass for you’ query – 29/11/04
On Sunday 28/11/04 Fr. J. did the Mass on Channel Ten TV. I have a couple of
queries, if you don't mind:
1. The prayer right at the beginning scrolling down, included a prayer to the Virgin Mary.
I thought that only the Catholic faith practices praying to Mary.
2. I have noticed in churches that a communal confession is on the agenda. This makes
me think: Have I sinned this week? If one comes with such a frame of mind every Sunday, is it not easy to fall into the trap of thinking during the week:
“Well, I shouldn't do this, but I can always confess next Sunday”.
Isn't it better to address recurring sin and deal with it and go to church with a victory over sin - and still be humble about it? Is my thinking too outlandish to suggest that confessing your sin ought to be initiated by the person, not practiced because it is the next item on the agenda?
3. I get amused when the bible reading is from the New Testament, but on TV the bible looks as if it’s open to Genesis. Obviously, the reader has other notes to read from.
4. Does the scripture about the second coming, when one will be griving, sorry grinding, another sleeping, reflect that all will disappear at once? One is working (on one side of the globe), while another is sleeping (on the other?).
Thank you for your patience with a Christian who asks lots of questions.
Dieter R. Fischer
PS Another question: Could you please pass this on to Fr. J.? (I think it's Andrew, from Mooroolbark - if not I blame Google).
The question of the second coming in the scriptures, where one is taken and the other left, is one to think about. I heard it preached that it may reflect, as my question pointed to, the difference in time zones around the world. However, looking at the way I wrote it – one is working and one is sleeping – draws a dividing line of another kind, soldiers in battle and those on (permanent) R & R.
Staff at the Anglican Media were obviously too busy to attempt an answer to my queries. Then again, the subjects I touched on could not be covered with a brief email. Journalists are not theologians.
The following week, out of curiosity, I again watched the ‘mass-for-me-at-home’ on Channel Ten. As I wrote above, I had assumed that the large bible was there as part of the paraphernalia and the reader was reading from notes. This would be the only explanation, why somebody looked at a bible opened at the beginning of the Old Testament, but reads a scripture in Philippians.
That morning, on the eventful Sunday December 5th, it happened again. The reader was way off in the location of the bible verse. Toward the end something happened, which made me laugh out loud. I was afraid it would wake the family. In another email to the Anglican Media, I explained my amusement:
Subject: Today one better - 5/12/04
On Monday 29th Nov. 04 I sent you an email commenting on the Mass on Sunday on Channel Ten. I don't know if the message came through, but it almost seemed that the producer went one better this morning. I really had to laugh.
Not because the prayer of repentance for sins (with the help of Mary, which I don't think is necessary) was right at the beginning or the name of the Father (I think it was the same one as last week), but the reading of the scripture from Isaiah.
The bible again looked as if it was from Genesis or not far into the Old Testament. The lady reader appeared to be reading from notes, not the bible I assumed, because Isaiah is toward the center. We all know that. But just toward the end of her reading the young lady turned the page, which made me laugh so loud, I almost woke the family.
I love it. (Please read PS 2 below).
Dieter R. Fischer
PS 1 Thanks for reading the PS
PS 2 No kidding, as I was having coffee, watching TV this morning, I noticed a brochure of Betta … on the coffee table right in front of me. Their slogan - Go one better- certainly applied to today's reading of the scriptures.
My diary mentions that this Sunday had started at 4am. Watching the Hour of Power, I was a little confused, because the organist, who had received a send off greeting, had returned. Dr. Schuller also ‘boasted’ that their Christmas tree at Garden Grove was ‘one foot’ taller than a Christmas tree in New York. This was the time I first noticed the “Go one better’ brochure. I sent the following email to the Hour of Power’s Sydney office ½ hour after above email:
Subject: His – plus 1
Are the current Christmas programs (last week and today 5/12/04) repeats from 2003? The reason I ask is, I thought Chris P. had left and a new organist had taken his place.
Please let me put a smile on your face with the following, timely observation. The Garden Grove Christmas tree of 80 feet is just a little taller than 79 ft, but we are not into competing. A moment after Dr. Schuller sen. pointed this out, my eyes fell on the coffee table infront of me. The brochure right on top, near my coffee mug, was from Betta ... Their slogan in large print at the bottom caught my eye: GO ONE BETTER! You did that with the Christmas Tree. Just watch the tree in N.Y. They will place it a little higher on a pedestal. I wished they did that with the cross as well.
Thank you for a lovely program this morning. Thanks also for the 5 Shoe Inserts. I received some also directly from Sausalito. I'll have to pass them around now so people can forgive me, if I gave reason to. (My wife will want two for each pair of her shoes).
Dieter R. Fischer
PS The brochure, how incredible, boasts a Father Christmas with thumbs up saying - Santa approved! How can they claim that?
The brochure in question really did have a graphic of Santa Claus, with thumps up, exclaiming – Santa approved! Who on earth (or wherever) gave the approval? The shoe inserts I mentioned refer to little stickers, offered on the program by a guest from Sausalito, Ca. The organisation promotes healing by walking the steps of forgiveness. I liked that.
What else can a man want for his birthday than a pair of socks with a label that has a spelling error? Da Ninci would say - minus R plus T.
On the back of the label it says: "from the clever sock company".
In my occupation as driving instructor it was natural that I would see a fair number of Real Estate signs. In previous chapters I have written some strange connections and trails I followed after seeing houses for sale or space to rent. Incidences happened in Adelaide’s East on Glynburn Road and as far away as Victor Harbour. I was amazed how I was led to see signs and immediately knew it was God’s guidance by the name on the sign.
Two recent examples come to mind. I was driving in the Adelaide suburb of Gilles Plains, dropping my wife to her place of work at the Blind Welfare Office. Not far on a corner block I noticed a ‘for sale’ sign at the front of the property. As I turned the corner the name of the salesman jumped into my eyes. My code, without trying, made his name into Hi – sob!
For those not familiar with the whole story – ‘Hi’ was a sign I photographed whilst in the US. I was sure I was meant to be passing it, to arrive at the destination I was meant to be at. Sob is something I had done very much, but it also is the beginning of a Polish name I shall never forget.
When I arrived home later that morning (I was on my way for another miracle walk – details later) I emptied the letterbox. Amongst the junk mail was a flyer by, guess who – Mr. Hisob. The property on the corner, where I had seen the name, was listed on the Agent’s website - ID No. 1539.
Another unexpected encounter with a Real Estate agent’s sign happened the day before, on Australia Day January 26th. I conducted a driving lesson from the southern side of Adelaide. The hilly suburbs around Blackwood would give my client practice in using gears. While practicing parking in the shopping centre, opposite ‘I’ve Been Framed’ (Chapter 34, Mind) I noted how fitting the name of the Chinese Restaurant next door is – it starts with ‘Yan’.
We turned right at the roundabout down Shepherds Hill Road to practice U-Turns and three-point turns. Pulling over to park my client stopped right near a ‘for sale’ sign. I couldn’t help reading one of the names listed - Todd (Tod in German means death). I took little notice otherwise.
A little later, still in the same street, we did another three-point-turn, again I happened to see a Real Estate Agent's sign. What was different, I can’t tell, but I sensed something as soon as I saw the name – Jason. My feeling intensified as I pondered the surname to go with Jason. In my special code - I am tempted to name it the ‘Da Ninci’ code – I read the salesperson’s name as ‘I win’.
It was so strange to having driven ten kilometers or so, to practice with my student and seeing these two salesmen’s names in the same street. Still, I’d rather be associated with Mr. Win than with Mr. Death.
It sounds far-fetched, yet possible, that somebody read chapter 34 of ‘Mind’. They got together to set up a test for the bloke, who claimed that nothing is too hard for his God. From my point of view, I did nothing that I not normally would have done - conduct a driving lesson, chose a suitable street and practice turning. My eyes were open as always.
Just in case it really was so, I phoned the Real Estate office, making general comments about the locality of the property concerned. It felt unreal, as it had before, making enquiries and not being a potential buyer. If it was nothing, I only lost the 15 cents for the phone call.
A chain of events, rather complex and lengthy, started on Sunday January 23rd 05 and concluded on the Thursday following. It had been a long day, as Sundays usually start at 4 or 5 am. That evening God had directed me to visit the church service of the Salvation Army in Arndale. It was a blessed meeting, but nothing happened which confirmed that God indeed wanted me there that evening.
It was only as I was driving home on Regency Road that I remembered a reported hit-run accident a week or so earlier. A driver in a stolen car had hit a pedal-cyclist, dragging his bike 300 meters along the road. My memory of the brief TV News item was jolted passing the location of another cyclist’s death. He had been killed after being hit on the road on August 10th 2003 (Mind, Chapter). This latest fatality was only 2 traffic lights away. Considering less than ten cyclists are killed every year this must be classed as unusual.
It was a beautiful evening in Adelaide with plenty of daylight left. I parked my Suzuki in Mendes St. near bus stop No. 111. Just this number made me look around a bit further. Right opposite was a Sip ‘n Save’ Liquor Outlet. About 100 meters from that intersection is the bus shelter, where I took the ‘Classic Chocolate’ photo featured in Chapter 7. The name of the Hotel I decoded as “Re: P home”. The data all fitted into the picture. What picture?
I didn’t know what direction the bike supposedly was dragged. Starting at the nearest point to the yellow markings on the road, I took 300 large strides in a southerly direction on Churchill Road. I only guessed that this was the direction the bike had been dragged. After almost exactly 300 steps I saw a yellow T inside a circle, painted on the footpath; perhaps a marking by Telecom?
Looking around, it was almost too obvious to not be the right spot. The name of the business right at that spot, the type of business and not least, the numbers 123 in the last few digits of their phone number, all made sense.
There were a few more clues on the way back. A parked van, Rego … 009, the phone number belonging to it ended in … 3005. Was this really another one of those mysterious crash scenes? In 2004 I had visited a number of these, some up to an hour’s drive away in the Adelaide Hills.But why was I led to these scenes? What lay behind these crashes?