Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Charade (08/14/08)
TITLE: Tom’s trial of trust
By Josiah Kane
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Tom could see that each of his ten companions had reacted slightly differently to the disaster. But somehow they had stayed together. It infuriated him. Couldnâ€™t Pete see that without Jesus the band was nothing? Or perhaps his pride would not let him admit that. Or maybe Pete had his own designs on the leadership. â€śYes,â€ť Thomas the Twin reasoned, â€śHe is acting, pretending. He knows we are nothing. His hands held high are a jest. This whole stupid group is as much a joke as a squadron of fish trying to conquer dry land.â€ť
True, when Jesus had been there, things had been different. The miracles were fabulous. Gathering a legion and holding them captivated for three days - then sating their stomachs completely with - as Matti had so elegantly put it - one tuna sandwich per thousand men. Stopping storms, healing the helpless, demolishing demonsâ€¦. But Jesus had been arrested. Their last crumb of faith had been renewed slightly when he mentioned angelic armies, but no such supernatural swat team had materialized. And now the master was deadâ€”and so was the band. They ought to disintegrate, return to what of their lives could be salvaged, and put the last three years behind them.
Pete was sure that he had seen the risen Lordâ€”but that was typical Pete. It was not that Tom had less spiritualityâ€”he just had a little more sense. At that moment Tom decided that he would not waste the rest of his life in a splintered sect. He was not a magus, nor a missionary, nor a musician. Nor was he interested in pestering the Sanhedrin any longerâ€”they all knew the terrible consequences that would have. Pete could preach, John could play, Phil had prayer power, but Tom didnâ€™t care if they continued the ministry of their mentor. He wanted out. â€śI will not believeâ€ť Tom proclaimed, â€śthat Jesus is alive unless I see the scars on his hands and feet! Until then, this circus is not for me.â€ť He stormed toward the door and barged a startled Phil to the side.
He took one more furious stomp forward, but it slipped to find itself on soft skin and sandal straps instead of sturdy slate squares. Tomâ€™s face was engulfed in a spotless white robe. Tears gushed out and streamed into the fabric. His knees collapsed to the floor as his face flew up to heavenâ€”and the startled but smiling face of Jesus. Someone jokingly pointed out how rude it is to enter without knocking, but to Thomas Didymus that someone was worlds away. In his chest love leaped and spirit swelled.
As one knee clunked onto the tiles he burst out â€śMy Lordâ€ť
As the second grounded he wept, in guilt and joy, â€śMy God.â€ť
And as his torso folded in toward the twisted legs, Jesus picked him up with holy holey hands. The instant Tom was offered the proof heâ€™d requested, he knew that the kingdom is not a charade, an act played by glum â€śGodâ€™s Gladiators.â€ť The act was over. He could not wait for the action to begin.
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