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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Church (12/06/07)

TITLE: Union
By Holly Westefeld


Curled up on the couch with one tabby nestled in the curve of my belly, the other sprawled along my hip and side with her head on the back of my shoulder, I drowsily await my husband's return from a late night at work. The next thing I know, a shout awakens me, a trumpet is sounding, and, much to the cats' astonishment, I am speeding through the air, unimpeded by the living room ceiling. Before I can even catch my breath, a face, new yet familiar, more radiant than the sun, though not blinding my eyes, greets me with a glorious smile and penetrating eyes. His voice, the timbre of which gives fullness to the still, small voice I have known for years, tenderly speaks my name.

"My Savior and Lord," I whisper, slipping to my knees without shifting my gaze from His countenance. At length, as He extends a hand to raise me to my feet, I draw my eyes downward to glimpse the faint scar, but it now pales in intensity to the love enveloping me from His eyes.

"Come! There are so many with whom you will have a joyous reunion." He guides me toward such a multitude, that I am certain it will be impossible to locate a single familiar face, but as He moves on to welcome others, I am caught up in a powerful bear hug.

"I remember you," I laugh somewhat breathlessly. "You were the Sunday School superintendent at the church I grew up in. No Sunday was complete without one of your hugs. They made a little girl, dropped off for Sunday School with just siblings, always feel so special and welcome."

Out of the corner of my eye, I see a sweetly smiling lady approach, who enfolds me in her grandmotherly arms. "You taught Sunday School, though not my class. Still, you invited me to your home, along with your students, to decorate Easter eggs, and asked me to accompany you to a nearby nursing home to sing at Christmas time."

I excuse myself as I spot another woman over her shoulder, running to throw my arms around her. "You started out as my sixth grade teacher, igniting and nurturing my love of writing, but soon metamorphosed into one of a number of extra "moms" the Father blessed me with. During the pain and confusion of my parents' divorce, and other teenage turmoil, you were my human anchor, always listening, full of wise counsel." I chuckle. "And just the other day, we were wondering when we'd be able to get together next."

Reluctantly, I relinquish my dear friend, as others await a word with her.

Winding my way through the throng, I spy a couple encircled by many brothers and sisters, and patiently await a chance to thank them. "You picked me and my friends up regularly for Sunday School and youth activities, even though you had a small child to care for, and faithfully laid a foundation of God's Word in my heart, which I'm certain prevented me from sinking in future storms."

Stepping aside so others may greet them, I nearly collide with another one of my "moms", and we steady each other with a tight hug. "You drove me, week in and week out, to practice with the handbell choir, even though the mornings we played were the only times I was present in your Sunday School class, as I spent most of my time with friends at another church. What touched me even more, however, was that you listened to the prompting of the Spirit and coordinated a collection to buy me a second-hand piano for Christmas, an answer to a prayer of which you had no human knowledge. I never stopped playing."

A tap on my shoulder causes me to turn, and I am instantly swept into a most special embrace. "I had the incredible privilege of leading you to the Lord, you who would then love me even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it."

We move on together, greeting those whose lives have blessed our union through the years, pastors, brothers and sisters with whom we worshipped and served, missionaries for whom we prayed, two couples with whom we shared sweet fellowship over lunch at a resort, all of us moving on together, unraveling the profound mystery of the church, the bride, now in union with our Beloved for all eternity.

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This article has been read 885 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Millicent Njue12/14/07
An amazing account of the coming together of God's church.
Jan Ackerson 12/14/07
I love the first paragraph, with the cats startled by the second coming!

Some POV switches in the main body of the story threw me off a bit, and some of the dialog seemed a little stilted. But I really could picture the scene, and it was encouraging to imagine such a reunion.
Yvonne Blake 12/15/07
Good beginning! I like how you called all the mentors in your life, your "moms". :)
It was a little repetitive. Perhaps you could have concentrated on just one or maybe different personalities.
Very interesting essay!
Karin Beery12/18/07
I like the thought of being able to quickly i.d. people from our lives...even in the midst of SOOO many saints in heaven! That is such a fun, exciting idea.

It would have been nice to meet a few other people from her life, beyond those people she met at Sunday School, but the concept is a good one.
Sara Harricharan 12/19/07
Very nice, the descriptions are well done. There were a few moments of awkwardness where it seems like she is not quite saying the words, because they seem to fit better as her thoughts. I did like the touch of calling her mentors 'mom's'. So sweet. Good job on this!
Angela M. Baker-Bridge12/20/07
Congratulations on your win!
Jean Thornberry12/20/07
Congratulations on your win, Holly! I'm proud of you! You really shine for our Lord! God bless you and may He continue to use your writing to make a difference in people's lives. He works through your writing to give people a glimpse of His love. Keep loving and serving Him- He does great things in you.
Holly Westefeld12/20/07
Wow! I am amazed and excited!
Many thanks to those who read between the lines to see my heart. Other than its speculative form, this piece is completely autobiographical, and, of course, only scratches the surface of those individuals through whom God has touched my life. I thank God often that my parents at least were willing to drop us off at Sunday School, even if they only came for our programs.
Sheri Gordon12/20/07
Congratulations on your 2nd place. Great job with the topic.