Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)
TITLE: Paying the Price
By Mary Barrow Little
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“..... in the name of JESUS!”
The voice filtered into my dreams, beckoning me into the day. I rolled over and opened my ears, it had been a long night of listening and I wasn’t anxious to let my eyes join the party.
“mmmdnngd mmendsy, JESUS!”
I’d heard a lot of things through that bedroom window, seeing how it was right smack dab above the entrance to a downtown liquor store; but someone calling out to Jesus at 6 a.m.? That deserved some attention.
Throwing off the covers, I swung my legs to the floor and reached over to open the window. A fresh morning breeze greeted me as I stuck my head outside and looked around. The sun was already shining bright, I love that about Alaska. I blinked my eyes, adjusting to the fullness of the day. Summer brought endless daylight and it would be weeks before I would experience the pleasure of arising before dawn.
Early mornings on Main Street are usually quiet, even in the midst of the famous Copper River fishing season. From May to September, commercial and sport fishermen alike converge on Cordova seeking the thrill of the catch. Long nights away from home are wiled away perched on barstools trading fish stories, celebrating good catches and mourning the losses.
The revelers of the night before where gone from sight, it would be another hour before people started moving along the street below. Looking down, I could see the top of a balding head, the source of the mysterious Jesus rant. A man stood with a large black Bible clutched to his chest, his hand extended towards the door of the closed liquor store.
“I come against this evil business in the name of JESUS!” the man was praying with some pretty good volume. “I curse this building in the name of JESUS!” he was lost in the heavy work of delivering his impassioned plea.
“Hey! What’re you doing?” I called out. I wasn’t quite awake and my sleepy mind hadn’t yet processed the scene below. Startled, the man jumped back looking around for the source of the voice. (Typically, the last place people think to look is up….)
I recognized him as the Pastor of a local Church. In fact, it was the same Church where I had been baptized 4 years ago. This man had recently arrived and knew me only as the owner of this business, a liquor store. The pressure of being judged by my occupation had caused me to leave the Church quite some time ago. I addressed him by name, “Henry, what are you doing?” He backed away with a wild look in his eyes; obviously this wasn’t part of his plan.
As if to swat away an unseen enemy, Henry waved his Bible in air. Looking up at me he sputtered, “You don’t know the evil!”
Ever one with a quick comeback, I yelled “And you don’t know the good! I’ll pray for you Henry!”
He spun around and traveled the two blocks to the sanctuary of his Church in record speed, it was Sunday morning and he would soon be due at the pulpit. He would share this story of spiritual battle and ask the congregation to stand with him, asking the Lord to close down this liquor store.
Stunned by what had just happened, I sat down on the side of my bed. I knew, for the most part, the local churches did not approve of liquor consumption, but it never occurred to me that I was actively being prayed against. I stayed put for awhile and let the Lord attend to my bruised spirit.
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