Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Snap( 09/04/08)
Wait...Watch... and Pray
By Johnna Stein
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Following through on this assignment would be easier if he would explain more. I can hardly fight the effects of my evening meal, washed down with several servings of wine. I yawn and breathe in a cool rush of air. I rearrange myself in a proper sit, straightened up against a tree trunk. That should help to keep me awake. A burning sensation crowds my eyes and my eyelids fight to stay open.
I’ll just close them for a few moments and keep my ears attuned to my surroundings.
I’m floating. No, I’m gliding along in my boat. Ahhh! The familiar aroma of fish fills my nostrils. I can’t believe how many we’ve already caught. The net seems bursting again; this time the three of us together are unable to draw the enormous catch in. I grab an extra pole to slide it between the net to create more leverage.
As we hoist it up higher, the weight from the net tragically bends the pole. I hear a resounding “Snap!”
I open my eyes and frantically look around. I’m not on my boat anymore. It’s not possible! I fell asleep. How long? Another “Snap!” as a sandaled foot cracks brittle branches.
I see Jesus standing over me and the others. “Wake up. You all fell asleep! Now pray with me.”
I have no words. I nod. I cannot bear to look him in the eye. Wait and watch and pray. I’d forgotten he asked us to pray.
Pray. Wait. Watch. These are things I can do. I’ll pray like he taught us.
Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Heaven, Heaven…
The burning returns. I have to close my eyes. Now where was I? Pray and watch. Heaven…
Where am I? I’m following Jesus. Oh, I love this place. I’m glad Jesus is bringing us to worship in the sacred area of the temple. The sanctuary always seems like a little foretaste of heaven.
However, as usual, we first have to wade through the myriad of animals and brazen moneychangers at the entrance. Jesus moves out front, takes a seat on the steps and deftly braids the three pieces of leather he’s carrying into a long whip. He scans the courtyard absorbing all he’s seeing.
He unfolds into a stand and slides the braided whip through his palm. He turns around and raises the whip high in the air. “Snap! Snap!”
“Are you sleeping again?” Jesus stands before us shaking his head.
I want to defend myself and tell him the reason my eyes were closed was because I was praying. But I realize, for a second time I have fallen asleep and was dreaming. Remembering.
“Never mind. The hour is here. Let’s go.”
“Snap! Snap! Snap!” A crowd moves through the garden, crunching the fallen branches. They close in on us.
Judas advances toward Jesus, “Greetings Rabbi.” He brushes the Master’s cheek with his lips.
Although unarmed, Jesus is assaulted roughly by a group of soldiers who arrest him.
I must defend my Master. I draw my sword and hear it slice off the ear of the servant of the high priest.
Before a word can be spoken, Jesus performs another miracle and his hand mends the man’s ear. The weeping man holds his ear.
“No swords!” Jesus tells me, “if you draw your sword, so shall you also die. I can call on my Father to send legions of angels to protect me. But, then how would the fulfillment of the Scriptures occur?”
He speaks to the awed crowd, “Am I an armed rebel that you come after me with your weapons of choice? You could have arrested me in public while at the temple. But this event must occur to fulfill the prophecies concerning me.”
Retaliation. They will come after all of us. They are so many and we are so few. Nausea climbs the ladder of my throat and I recognize the bitter taste on my tongue. Move. Run. Get out of here my mind urges me. I turn to run.
“Snap!” The dried twigs announce our cowardly escape.
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