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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Write in the HISTORICAL genre (05/03/07)

By esther robinson


God can offer this boon – such that one could delay death. But I already know His unique plan and the time of my departure. Now, I suffer trouble as an evildoer, chained in a prison. This is the second letter addressed to my foster son from a jail. I wrote, “Greetings from our family friends namely Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia and others. Be diligent to come to me quickly. Do your utmost to come before winter.”

Many say, ‘Friends are like flowers in the garden of life’. However, I remembered my friend Demas who forsook me for worldly pleasures. Crescens and Titus also abandoned me. Pain is inevitable but how I take the pain matters. Alexander also did much harm. So I wrote, “Son! You also must beware of Alexander, for he has greatly resisted our words.” I heaved a sigh of relief recalling his acts.

Suddenly the image of Luke and Mark appeared questioning thus. “Did we not stay with you through thick and thin?” Then a smile blossomed on my face. Surely they are fragrant flowers, upon whose very thought, I forgot that there is a heart within me. Friends such as these are a sure balm healing hurts caused by false friends. I wrote the following. “Please ask Mark to accompany you. He is a trustworthy person to work with.”

The ink on the quill was drying up. I had started writing the letter at dawn but now dusk was approaching. I am in a hurry to complete the letter. Suddenly I remembered that wonderful mantle. Immediately a shiver went down my spine but an angelic face appeared and strengthened me. Earlier, I – a fanatic, had whipped women and men alike stating that I fought for a noble cause. “How dare this man belittles my clan? Who is he to brand us as stiff-necked?” I shrieked. The pride of my race and clan blinded my eyes. Brutal fun was child play for me.

On hearing the victim speak with authority, the people of my tribe were cut to the heart (now I realize this because truth is always bitter) and they gnashed at him with their teeth. When I was young, I stood watching him die. The witnesses laid their clothes at my feet and threw the mantle of the man being stoned on me. I looked at the mantle. It meant nothing to me then.

I consented his death saying thus. “I heard that you have mighty power. It seems you did great wonders and signs among the people and that they were unable to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which you spoke. Is that true? Then, let my own eyes witness it”. Stone him! I cheered the crowd from afar. After that merciless murder, one by one the witnesses took the clothes and left. But none had courage to take the cloak of the dead man from me.

As for me, I felt valiant all the more. In pride, I wore the mantle like a medal. I made havoc of the fellowmen gathering, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. On one such mission, on the way to Damascus I encountered the God of him whose mantle was upon me. I arose from the ground. My eyes were open but I saw no one. After being touched by One who dwells in inapproachable light, I had to be led by the hand like a meek lamb. For three days without sight, I neither ate nor drank but wondered about the God of the man who died. It seems as if the local disk has no space but I have many memorable incidents to record.

I felt the mantle and asked forgiveness. Although dead, his holy life had inexpressible power to intercede with the Almighty God that He descended to transform me - an unforgivable criminal. I yearn to see that powerful possession which drew me like a magnet to his side. The soldiers refused keeping this mantle as my belonging in the prison. Perhaps they knew power it carried. I never recorded these incidents anywhere except in my mind for the fear of the Roman soldiers. I intend to this cloak of Stephen to my son Timothy.

Finally I wrote, “Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come; and the books, especially the parchments.”

With a few words following, I concluded the letter and signed – Paul.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 05/13/07
How wonderful that you chose a relatively unfamiliar verse and were able to draw a whole story out of it!

I had a hard time following it at times; it seemed to jump about a bit.

Thanks for additional insight into Paul and his letters.
Myrna Noyes05/16/07
Very intriguing idea that the mantle Paul asked for so many years later could possibly have been the one belonging to Stephen when he was stoned! Interesting letter! :)