Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Search Engine (10/06/11)
By Robin Jones
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Pictures of protestors, their posters, and a blueprint of the park appear.
“These occupiers don’t even get what they are protesting about. Corporate greed my Aunt Fannie. Dumb hippies, taking over a private park like they own it. Pinko commies. I’m going down there.” The man gathers the materials to make a protest sign of his own.
Later, a helicopter circles the night sky above Lower Manhattan. A spotlight wanders to and fro trying to locate something specific in the chaos. The machine maneuvers through the smoggy skyline, slows down and zeroes in on Zucotti Park. The light glints from sign to sign:
"Mr. Obama, bailout the people,"
"For Sale America,"
"Poverty is the worst kind of violence,"
"Eat the Rich,"
"I deserve a better government".
Dodging back and forth, it seeks out just one hit like a computer search engine narrowing down the results of a query. The helicopter’s motor hums and whumps as the beam bears down on one man. The man kneeling in the sacred place cranes his neck to see the source of the shimmering light.
Instantly, his eyes are flooded with stars and fireworks. Using his picket sign for balance, he struggles up from his knees. Boom, down he goes, keester over tea kettle, placard clattering beside him on the ground. He is out cold.
The radiance of the ray warmed his motionless body. Out of the shaft of light, a gentle and melodious voice inquired, “Jim, can you hear me?”
A trio of soulful voices harmonize in the background. In unison, they break down the voice’s inquiry Motown style, “The Lord said,James can you hear Me?"
“Yes, yes I am here. I can hear you… um…all of you, but I can’t see anyone.”
“I’ve been searching the world over for a man with your heart.” The chopper engine revs and hums again. The light hovers on Jim’s unconscious form while his subconscious carries on the conversation.
The backup choir and pipe organ ring out, “The Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and evil thought. Slap your neighbor and say Tes-ti-fy!”
“Son, your heart stands out among these protestors. Its sentiment is on your placard.”
“My picket sign?” Jim couldn’t even remember having a sign.
“Yes, your poster. I heard the distress in your mind while you prayed for the nation and decried the youngsters’ sins. It pained me to remind you of a short list of your own issues: worry, anxiety, overwork, over eating, and harsh words. Instantly, you fell to your knees in repentance. I caught each tear you cried while you were at the cross. Your prayer wafted from the earth to my throne as the sweet aroma of a broken and contrite heart. I smiled as I flooded your heart with my mercy and grace. Do you remember what I impressed upon you?”
The Motown singers vocalize, “Remember, sayeth the Lord!”
Jim’s mind scrambles to visualize what he wrote. The words come into view but are blurry. His head throbs as he tries to focus. Slowly, Jim turns his mind toward the Lord.
“Yes, I remember now. I remember two questions. One was ‘How long will your people turn my glory into shame?’ The other was like it ‘How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?’ I remember tears springing to my eyes because I realized that my own sin was as deep, if not deeper, than those who are occupying Wall Street. I am as over taken and possessed as they. I judge critically while they cry out for equality, justice, and freedom from corporate greed. I am immobile as they seek their respite from financial oppression from a bloated, dysfunctional, and deceptive government. Time is short. I must show them the only hope for all of us...Jesus.”
Suddenly, Jim wakes and sits bolt upright. His hands grip the rough hewn post of the sign. Splinters gouge his hands and blood trickles down his sleeve.
The Motown trio riffs one last verse, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Finally, the picture of the sign crystallizes. On it is a large cross with three simple words ‘OCCUPY OUR HEARTS’.
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