An old man kneels before a low table. Spread out in front of him is quill and parchment – lit by the guttering flame of a well-used candle.
He picks up his quill, dips it into the small bowl of ink, and poises his fingers over the parchment, ready to write what is put on his heart.
Before he puts quill to parchment he pauses – staring into the darkness that is fended off only by his one candle, and begins to remember…
* * *
He huddles closer to the fire, drawing his cloak against the chill of the night – but it does nothing for the chill coming from within.
He hears commotion from inside the house – the sound of shouting, and of blows being struck – and shudders in terror. What will happen if he is found out? Will he, too, be killed?
None of the soldiers or servants nearby seems to recognize him; for that he breaths a quick prayer of thanks.
Then a servant-girl steps into the circle of firelight, bearing a jug of heated wine to ward of the chill night air. As she makes her rounds, pouring wine into outstretched goblets, she watches him.
He cannot help but notice the girl’s regard, “Does she know who I am? Will she have me arrested?”
Then the girl speaks. “Were you not with Jesus, the Galilean?”
Frightened, he replies, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Then he stands up, leaving this dangerous circle of light, and makes his way to the gate. He has barely arrived when another servant-girl – this one bearing a basket of bread – confronts him again.
“This man was with Jesus of Nazareth,” she calls out.
Who were these girls? How could they know him? Were they agents of the dark one, sent to see him to his death? “I swear, I do not know the man.”
The girl shrugs, and leaves.
He remains huddled in the gate – afraid to draw too close to the house, afraid to leave. He is pulled from the depths of his own thoughts by yet another voice, “Surely you are one of them – your speech gives you away.”
“Curse you! I’ve told you, I do not know the man!”
A rooster crows.
* * *
The old man is jerked back to the present by the crowing of a rooster just outside his window.
A single tear rolls down his face as he looks to the heavens and whispers, “Lord, after all that, how can I be considered worthy?”
Then peace washes over him, like the waters of his baptism all those years ago, and he finally begins to write…
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen…
Author's Note: Scripture reference taken from I Peter 1:1 (NASB)
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