Tortilla of Life
Peter waited in the library for a guide. Typically, he did not need to wait for a guide very long, but when one of the angels in Raziel's employment did not appear for several moments, Peter began to wonder about the staff. On the opposite end of the room, Jesus conducted children's lessons and then led the children through another hallway. Peter began to feel somewhat bothered at the absence of angels. Only God could navigate himself through the library without a guide. Even the guides themselves needed maps on occasion.
And without an angelic guide, how would Peter find the book he wanted? Raziel had arranged the library according to genres, languages, cultures, time periods, target audience, etc, which resulted in a massive labyrinth of books. Close to the entrance floated several amorphous white tufts beside a sign that read: 'send a puff of white vapor for assistance!" Peter considered this, but as he felt more annoyed he speculated that even if he did receive a guide, the book might not be in stock. A thousand copies of any particular writing proved themselves far too few a number, but Raziel liked the concept of a limited book supply, making the people wait to read.
Finally, the librarian appeared and hurried up to greet him.
"I wondered when you would arrive," said Peter.
"I hope you have seen Baruchiel," replied the harried librarian.
"No. I have been waiting for a guide for several moments now."
"Well..." Raziel's shoulders seemed to sag and his two long wings drooped. "Some of the angels left to greet the new arrivals at Heaven. Then, Jesus sent Baruchiel on an assignment to Earth. Of course, He has every right, but Baruchiel has not returned! Then, Jesus gave missions to some of the other angels. God has understaffed the library."
"God has more important things, you know."
"Yes, yes, I know, but Baruchiel has not returned, and that blessed angel should have completed his assignment already! God had given Baruchiel enough to complete the assignment and return to Heaven for his work here. Something has delayed Baruchiel's return to Heaven."
"Hm." A more serious matter, then.
Raziel pushed up his glasses - a fashion statement in his eyes - that rested on the rim of his nose. "Well, allow me to guide you through the library."
As Peter followed Raziel, the apostle commented, "I had considered sending that white vapor to find a guide for me. The idea of sending it seemed normal, but I remember it once seemed very bizarre. Strange to realize that everything in Heaven now appears normal and mundane to me."
"Hm." Raziel slowed his pace. "Yes, you apostles certainly felt alarmed at all the basic normal things of Heaven. I suppose that Heaven now seems so normal and mundane that now the ordinary of Earth would appear strange."
Peter had nothing to say.
Raziel continued, "I remember when God Created all the fish. How fantastic and strange they seemed! And when we saw them eating the algae, we angels went to God and told Him that we considered His creation quite silly."
Peter chuckled. "I cannot imagine anyone telling that to God."
"Oh, we thought like children at the time. And yet, try to imagine watching a creation eat when you never needed to eat in your entire existence!"
Peter considered this. Yes, eating did seem strange now. 2000 years had passed since his last meal. As an inhabitant of Heaven, he never required food.
"But what seems unusual now," resumed Raziel, "an absent Baruchiel." Raziel stopped at a four-corner intersection of the library. "And I have tried asking James bar Zebedee about Baruchiel's whereabouts, but his attention has stayed resolutely upon that viewing screen. James bar Zebedee saw Baruchiel right before his mission."
Peter turned to look at the other apostle. Indeed, James stared at the viewing screen with rapt attention. Peter walked over to him. James did not seem to notice. Peter looked at the viewing screen to see what caught James's interest.
Then, he realized what had delayed the angel Baruchiel. After completing his mission, the angel had decided to linger on Earth for some holy mischief. Baruchiel had went to Espanola, New Mexico to the home of David Sandoval and caused the image of Jesus to appear on a tortilla.
James bar Zebedee said, "I want to see if he eats the tortilla."
"Oh, he never will. James, we are the only people who ever ate any foods dignified by the Messiah. There will never be a 'tortilla of life,'. More than likely, this David Sandoval will call the news and find some manner to preserve it."
Nevertheless, James stared at the screen and did not stop staring at the screen.
Peter wondered: have we truly been in Heaven so long that a simple meal could fascinate us? After all, James bar Zebedee had been the first apostle to enter the gates. Have they been in Heaven so long? Were they now so thoroughly accustomed to the wondrous activities that basic foods now amazed them? Certainly, there must still be plenty of amazing and entertaining things in Heaven.
"James, perhaps you should check on the petition for a race track. Many of the inhabitants over the past century would like to have some car races here."
James continued to stare at the viewing screen.
Peter frowned. "How about a visit to the angels' Lunar mansion? I don't think we have visited there ever since Galileo came over, almost 400 years ago." When that suggestion did not work, he offered another suggestion, "Perhaps you should go down to the archives, open up a scroll, and observe some star formations. A triple star system."
James leaned closer to the viewing screen. "Come on, eat the tortilla!"
Peter's frown turned into a mild scowl. "James bar Zebedee, you need to go to the third level of Heaven and enter the Garden of Eden. Select one of the orbs connecting to the habitats for the creatures before humanity, and spend a century there. Always interesting to see how the new arrivals react to the velociraptors. Friendly creatures, although -"
James bar Zebedee had no reaction whatsoever.
Thoroughly perturbed, Peter again looked at the screen and saw for the first time in two thousand years, something new to his experience - a tortilla. "So perfectly flat and round... I wonder how they shape it to be so perfectly flat and round." and eating did appear very strange! How could people just sit there and simply move things within their mouths?
James bar Zebedee exclaimed, "Oh, you should see taco shells! Well, not actually a shell, somewhat rectangular..." Because ancient Judaea lacked any foods resembling tortillas or taco shells, the apostle could not find a way to describe adequately those foreign foods.
Peter listened to James talk about food. Finally, on the viewing screen, David Sandoval tore off the piece of tortilla, took a picture of it, set the piece in a tiny box with some cotton, and called the local news.
Peter clapped his hand upon James's shoulder. "I knew he would never eat it. That happens all the time."
Peter walked back over to Raziel who had been preoccupied answering questions about directions.
Raziel wondered, "I hope you obtained more information about Baruchiel than I did."
"Baruchiel had decided to remain and make the image of Jesus appear on a tortilla."
Raziel shook his head. "I cannot understand that angel's obsession with food."
"Well, at least this time, he choose a more suitable foodstuff than a Cheeto."
Peter smiled. "And when Baruchiel returns, I shall ask him a question. I shall ask him if tortillas qualify as unleavened bread!"
Eryn Sun. "NM Man Claims Face of Jesus Appeared on Tortilla During Lent." The Christian Post. March 1, 2012
No Author Listed. "Espanola Man Finds Image of Jesus In Tortilla." www.koat.com Feb 29, 2012
The Book of Legends. Translated by William Baude.