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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)

TITLE: It's Not Enough
By Chely Roach


Gingerly I step down the road; the dust stirring and then settling on my feet. I keep my distance from the others walking around me, trying not to step on stones or divots in my path, as to not stumble and drop this most precious jar. It is swaddled in my best swatches of fabric: purple, crimson, and some gold. Velvet and plush, they have been protecting this jar for quite some time now, waiting for its special occasion—today.

I slip unnoticed in the door of Simon’s home which is bustling with activity and good cheer. Quickly I remove my shoes and wash my feet before Martha sees me and puts me to chores. As I approach our guest of honor reclined at the table, I hear my brother’s laughter across from him, and tears fill my eyes. It seems that it was just a moment ago that I held his lifeless body in my arms as I drenched him with oil, and tenderly wrapped him in his burial cloths.

As I begin to kneel in front of Jesus of Nazareth, His eyes lock with mine. I wipe away my tears, remembering the tears He also shed for my brother, so few days ago. The overwhelming gratitude swells in my chest; resurrection, like he gave to Lazarus, is mine as well. I can’t believe that I am here with the Messiah—my Rabbi—my friend. Emmanuel.

Slowly I uncloak the alabaster jar, careful not to spill a drop of the pure and fragrant nard. I do not ask permission; I do not need to. He closes His eyes awaiting the anointing, as the perfume covers His head and trickles down His face. I fall prostrate on the floor in front of Him. It’s not enough. I cannot worship Him enough. I empty the jar onto His feet, reach around to loosen my hair, and then use it to wash them; feet which have walked where angels trod. I am not worthy.

The fragrance permeates my nostrils, making me dizzy and euphoric. The loud and jovial voices quiet as the other guests take notice of me and the scent which has saturated the air. I can feel their stares, but I care not—not until Judas rebukes me for wasting such lavishness instead of giving its proceeds to the poor. I feel my face redden and my heart quicken as I search for the words to defend myself. Before I can speak, my Savior, Adonai, says to him, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

Jesus reaches for my hand and helps me from the floor. My body is on fire with a presence, like the spirit of Jehovah himself filling my soul. However my head is swirling with His words—“to prepare me for burial”.

My heart begins to sing a dirge.

~Matthew 26:10-13 NIV

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This article has been read 1527 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Marlene Austin02/28/08
Beautifully, powerful rendition of the passage. Nicely done. :)
Arlene Showalter03/02/08
with some smoothing out, this would be a super piece!
Catrina Bradley 03/03/08
Wonderful job showing Mary's emotions in worship. I love this piece - excellent!
Debbie Wistrom03/03/08
There is so much here. I had never thought of this story from this angle. Thanks for the retelling and keep writing!
Lynda Schultz 03/03/08
I often buy the flowers from which nard comes—their scent fills the house—it is truly a beautiful and powerful smell. So I could "smell" your story. The revelation at the end was particularly beautiful.
Joanne Sher 03/03/08
Absolutely excellent - you put me right there. Wow.
LauraLee Shaw03/04/08
Oh, this is powerful and moving. Excellent piece. Anointed.
Joshua Janoski03/04/08
This nearly brought me to tears. You transported me to the home, and I could picture Jesus sitting there. Wow. You have great talent. I don't think that you will be in Beginners for very long. Thank you for blessing me.
Tessy Fuller03/04/08
I really enjoyed this. It pulled me right in. I felt the emotions. Great job.
Lyn Churchyard03/05/08
This is one of my absolute favourite Bible stories and you have done an fantastic job on retelling it. What an amazing example of the topic. Excellent! Very well done indeed.
Mandy White03/05/08
You're no beginner! Keep writing!
Beckie Stewart03/05/08
I love when Bible stories are told in new way to bring new life to the familiar.
Leigh MacKelvey03/05/08
You are NOT a beginner writer! I see so much talent in your writing and I loved every bit of this story. I saw a few lines in the beginning that were a bit akward, but not enough so to spoil the reading. I'm so glad the women was Mary, Martha's sister, in your story. I've often seen her portrayed as a prostitute, but I think Biblically she is Mary from Bethany, Jesus's friend. Lovely writing ... you will go far on FW.
Tim Pickl03/05/08
Powerful, anointed and excellently written! God bless you.
Patty Wysong03/05/08
Beautiful and moving. Great job.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/05/08
This powerful rendition of the Bible story is way, way better than a beginner's. I was right there seated with the others around the Lord. You did a magnificent job. I predict you'll be moving out of beginners...soon.
Julie Arduini03/05/08
Your writing is so engaging I held my breath because the exchange was such a holy moment. You did an outstanding job, you won't be in beginners long!
Sherry Castelluccio 03/05/08
I love bible stories that come alive and this was wonderful. Great job portraying Mary. You won't be in beginners long.
Sara Harricharan 03/05/08
This is really well done! I liked the title with "It's not enough" It just struck me as being so fitting! I really like how you described it. The you-are-there atmosphere is really good. Nice job! ^_^
Lauryn Abbott03/06/08
Wow, this is a beautiful piece! Thanks for writing it and congrats on the win. Up to intermediate for you!
Mandy White03/06/08
Congratulations Michele! Looking forward to reading more of your work.
Sheri Gordon03/06/08
Congratulations on your 1st place. This is excellent writing, and a beautiful retelling of the Bible story.
Kris Paglusch03/06/08
You helped me experience the story as if I were actually there. That is a true God-given gift. Keep writing.
Arlene Showalter03/06/08
way to go Chely! congrats!
Lynn Jacky 03/07/08
Excellent story thanks.
Heather Randall03/07/08
Congrats! Awesome job!
Laury Hubrich 03/24/08
Wow! Great writing here! Loving it!