Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)
TITLE: Battle of the Bans
By Tim Pickl
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Clasping his hands behind his back, The Father silently strolls six times around The Coliseum, contemplating today’s agenda. With every step, his long, white beard flaps against a flowing, shiny robe. He circles The Coliseum a seventh time, and faces the entrance, raising both hands.
He shouts, “Praise the Lord!” then softly adds, “Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”
Then, The Father steps through the door. Simultaneously, the fog dissipates and the sun shines on The Coliseum’s entrance, revealing a hastily hung banner:
Welcome to THE BATTLE OF THE BANS
Inside The Coliseum, The Father gently locks the Sound Booth door, and sits in the Commander’s Chair.
The Sound Booth becomes his prayer closet.
Lord, I pray they become One, as we are.
A few hours later, half of The Father’s 12 children, with their families, drive up outside of The Coliseum in several aging Alternative Fuel Vehicles. Unpacking large signs, they begin a protest march, walking back-and-forth by the entrance in pairs. Bored, they whine and complain about the previous unfair BAN battles.
Two stroll by, revealing painted messages on double-sided signs, scrawled in large, black letters:
Then, another pair:
Then, the last pair:
In a cloud of black smoke, a rusted, yellow School Bus pulls up near the protestors. Since The Great War, diesel fuel is difficult to find, so The Children use whatever bio-fuel they can scavenge.
Three more of The Father’s children get out of the bus, squinting in the morning light, followed by their families. Together, they push their way through the protesters and enter The Coliseum with little resistance.
PRAZORS is proudly painted on the side of the bus.
Another bus pulls up behind the School Bus, adding to the cloud of smoke. It’s an abandoned Tourist Bus--very plush inside. The last three children of The Father, along with their families, exit the bus, and peacefully make their way through the entrance.
In neat, even letters, WORSHIPPURRZ is painted on their bus.
The Prazors and The Worshippurrz make last-minute preparations for the big competition. Electrical generators are fired-up and sound equipment is tested.
Meanwhile, hiding in the Sound Booth, The Father works alone, praying, while making sound board adjustments.
Hundreds of Survivors of The Great War hobble into the open-air Coliseum, simply happy to have some entertainment. Soon, the atmosphere is filled with the cacophony of conversation.
At 11:30 a.m., The Mayor steps up to the microphone, waves a hand, and waits until everyone is quiet.
“Good Morning. Today is a great day! While we await The Father’s return, we will finally determine the best way to honor God, either by praise—“
The Prazors enthusiastically cheer.
“—or, by worship!”
The Worshippurrz bow down on the ground.
“LET THE BATTLE BEGIN!”
The Survivors erupt into excited shouts of approval. Outside, the pair carrying the BAN BLARING sign disapprovingly shakes their heads.
The Worshippurrz step onstage to 3 microphones, as their children go to musical instruments behind them. One of them sincerely pleads, “Come, let us worship, and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. Worship is deep—it’s sung from the heart. It’s a slow song.”
As The Worshippurrz sing “Amazing Grace”, most of The Survivors cry, while others kneel in the mud that once was grass, weeping.
In the Sound Booth, The Father weeps.
Finally, they stand and applaud--except The Prazors.
Then, assertively, The Prazors take the stage. One starts a fast drumbeat, and the others clap in synch. Wiping tears away, half of The Survivors clap with them.
One Prazor shouts, “Let’s ALL praise the Lord with a cutting-edge FAST SONG!” Then, he raps Psalm 150. As he begins each verse, another musician joins the crescendo. Finally, he roars the last verse, “Let everything that has breath, Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!”
“Hallelujah!” The Survivors shout excitedly in agreement.
Suddenly, like a mighty rushing wind, The Father appears before them. With authority, he asks, “My dear children, why battle amongst yourselves? We honor God when we worship, and praise, from His Word. That way, everyone in Christ wins!”
One Survivor starts laughing contagiously. Soon, all join her.
The joy of The Lord causes The Children to become One.
Reference: Psalms 150, 96:9, 95:6, 133:1; John 17; Acts 2:4; Nehemiah 8:10
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