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The Fly in the Ointment
by Bill Shurkey
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It was near dusk when I slipped through the crowd
and ducked into a darkened alley. I leaned heavily
against a wall waiting for the people to hurry by.
They were calling out my name but I didn't answer.
I would see many of them again tomorrow about noon.

My body ached from too much walking. Or was it
the ride into the city? The back of an ass isn't the
most comfortable ride, after all. I hurried as best I could
to the house. It lay in shadows except for light from
the guest chamber windows. I could hear the men laughing
and joking inside, as if they didn't have a care in the world.

I started up the stairs, one bone-weary step at a time.
The rough timber of the railing, under my hand, felt familiar.
I could tell it was newly constructed and well built.
It would last as long as the city did. Ah, this city! My city!
If only you had loved me like I love you. One day the very
stones will cry out in judgment against you.

Is it really so hard to love?
I rested on a step halfway up and listened to the
night sounds I had grown familiar with.
I wiped my eyes on my sleeve and continued to climb.
I was exhausted and wanted only to rest but I knew I couldn't.
They were waiting for me inside. My hour truly had come.

The meal was ready and I was hungry. Yet it was
to be more than a meal. It was an act of love. A lesson.
My farewell. These were my friends, my brothers.
I had been close to them for three years.
Yet I could see in their eyes, some still didn't understand
why I came.

"My body must be broken," I said, "and you must eat.
My blood must be spilled and you must drink this cup.
As often as you do it, you will remember me. Remember me often.
If you desire greatness," I told them, "be a servant.
Honor lies in the dust and dung heaps of humanity,
not in palaces made by the hands of men."

I watched Peter. He only half-listened.
His eyes were fixed on the fly, as it circled the room.
He tried to kill it once, twice, three times.
The pest only buzzed away and circled the room again.
Peter gave up in frustration.

The fly flew at me. Buzzed my hands and my feet.
It circled my head once and then flew out the open window.
The door slammed closed behind me and my brothers shifted
uneasily in their seats. I suddenly felt nauseated;
a cold sweat trickled down my back.

My work here in this upper room was over.
After tonight, nothing would ever be the same.
I rose slowly to my feet and blessed the eleven.
I had to go now. I was meeting a friend in the garden
and I couldn't be late.

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lynne Fickett 05 Dec 2004
Bill, What can I say that hasn't already been said! The changes have only made it better and you have done even more to draw the reader into the imagery and senses of the moment--thoughts, smell, taste, sounds, all show the heartbreak of Jesus in His final hours. Very well done!
Joyce Poet 04 Dec 2004
What a thought provoking way to teach that story!
Jacky Hughes 04 Dec 2004
Bill, this as you probably already know is just the sort of poem I love. A new way of telling part of the amazing story. I just loved tis and can imagine it at its very best when read out at a poetry reading. It really needs that spoken voice to add to the atmostphere. I do think the changes make the ooem better. Now it really seems to flow to me, I love it. love jacxy
Debbie OConnor 04 Dec 2004
This is absolutely beautiful. I loved every line. I'm so glad you expanded it. I hope it reaches many, as it conveys a wonderfully written, powerful message.


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