Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Church (12/06/07)
TITLE: What Would Jesus Do?
By Sharon Ross
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John had lived in his neighborhood all of his life. He had walked past the big church on the corner since he was a child. Zion Baptist was a grand red brick building that stood proudly as a majestic beacon to the Christian faithful for over 100 years.
When he was growing up, on Sunday mornings, the women of the church could still be seen in their hats, matching shoes and purses while leaving a trail of perfume as they hurried to their seats. Even the men looked sharp and stood tall as they escorted their wives and children into the church to take their places.
Over the years, the neighborhood has been in decline. John watched helplessly as he saw the place that he called home become a place of crime and despair. Zion Baptist still stood but these days it too was in decline. Membership was not what it once was and fewer people now attended. John used to attend many years ago but now he dared not to go inside.
John had fallen from grace and was living in hard times. He had tried to go to college on a football scholarship but injured his knees and could no longer play. His life took another dive when he lost his wife to a car accident. He returned home to his neighborhood a broken and troubled man. He had tried to pray and go back to church but the message the minister preached did not seem to be relevant to his situation or touch the deep distress of his soul.
His old buddies that were left in the neighborhood now called for him to join them. Football was all John knew how to do so since he couldn’t do that anymore, he was lost and without a real working skill. He joined his friends and when they offered him crack cocaine he took it.
At least it stopped the pain for a little while. Drugs took all he had. His money, his home and finally his dignity were all gone. John now spent his time living on the street begging, hustling or stealing for drugs. He was dirty and smelly. John was trapped by his habit. Desperate times call for desperate measures by now John had hit rock bottom.
One day, on his way to the drug dealer, he noticed some people coming out of Zion Baptist carrying out plates of food. Hummm…it smelled so good. It was so cold outside and John had not eaten in several days. He gathered his courage and approached some women coming out of the church and asked them for some food. “Hello ladies. Can you spare some food? The sisters grabbed their purses tightly, quickly and silently walked past him. They barely looked at him and offered nothing. “Have a nice day!” replied John. “Here comes another group, maybe they will give me some food,” thought John. To his disappointment, they too walked past him. “Here comes the pastor,” thought John. “Maybe he will give me something to eat.” Reverend Smith was in a hurry that day and had no time for this drug addict. “Hi Reverend, how you doing? Can a man get something to eat?” “Come back later, I don’t have time right now,” said the pastor. John lowered his head and walked away leaving his tracks in the snow. As he walked past the church and around the corner he gave up hope. The next day John was found dead in an abandoned building. Church, what would Jesus have done? What did He tell us to do?
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