Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Era (02/03/11)
TITLE: The Good Friend Bill
By Frank Heubner
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Crossing to the center of the room Thomas found the pull cord for the single bare light bulb. With a satisfying tug on the string, a sixty watt bulb chased the shadows out of the small room with its pale yellow light. The light on, he went back to the door. He took a quick look around the yard to make sure none of the neighbors had seen him. Swinging the door over his head, he locked it from the inside.
He pulled the faded bed sheet sheet cover off the card table and folding chair he had set up near the light a couple of days before. As he sat in the cold chair he inventoried the items on the table. Several small notebooks. A ceramic coffee cup filled with pens. And, a Bible.
Two years ago, the President of the United States and passed the Good Friend Bill. A law that was promised to bring about a new era of peace and understanding between the peace loving left, the intolerant right, and people of all religions. Instead it had made Christians the target of hate crimes and persecution. Thomas had seen churches burned while firefighters watched. He had seen family after family forced to leave their homes as the vandalism and threats became too much for them to bear. Preachers were being arrested for speaking out. His pastor had been arrested the week before. His church had been torn down with bulldozers. Now his church was a basement, hidden in the ground. He was the lone parishioner
Opening the Bible with the faded red silk ribbon book mark attached to its spine, he read aloud to himself. Starting in Romans chapter 8 verse 35. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Thomas paused, the stone walls soaking in the words as they floated in the room. In that silence Thomas heard a small sweet voice. “yes Lord, I am ready, give me courage.”
Feeling the low rumble of a large truck on the street outside, Thomas rose to his feet. Hearing a boot smash the lock on the front door, he knew his time was at hand. Dust fell on him as the men above stomped back and forth searching his house.
“Out here” a voice yelled from the yard.
The cellar door shook, the lock straining to keep the men out. Thomas dropped to his knees, placing his hands together in front of his chest.
A gun blast blew the lock from the rotted wood. The sound hit Thomas in a wave. Bowing his head, Thomas began to pray. “Lord, you have gone before me, I am not afraid.”
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