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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the ADVENTURE genre (05/24/07)

TITLE: O Lord, Give Us Jerusalem
By joe hodson


A crescent moon hung low over Jerusalem, and the dusk smeared a trail of blood across the sky before descending into the already dark valley between the Pope’s army and the Holy City. The Turks prepared for an invasion. Their watchmen hastened to light the landscape. Dots of fire decorated the city walls and moved sporadically down the holy hill like a handful of gold coins that had been flung down in the sparkling sun.

Gautier observed this from his horse. He bore a white cross over his armor. Alone, he had ridden ahead of the army to see the city before war ravaged it once more. He wished to share this moment with no other human on earth, only his Savior.

The ancient breath of the spread of desert and starry night moved over and through him in the subtle presence of a breeze. A soft snort came from his horse. He let himself down and removed his boots. He was on holy ground.

Gautier looked out at the city that now stood inside the glowing halo produced by the surrounding fires. It showed like destruction still looming over the city from the ancient days when God had laid waste to it first by the Babylonians, then again, seventy years after Christ, by the Roman army.

Gautier prayed that, instead, the city would once again radiate like the burning bush with God’s glory.

“We will take back your city and prepare a place for your coming, O Lord.” He said this evenly into the night stillness, addressing his vow to the Lord, and holding all the creatures of creation as witnesses.

The blade of the sword gleamed by starlight in the ground where Gautier had sunk the tip into the desert floor. It was not the first time he had noticed how the hilt and blade formed a cross. He had been taught at an early age to seek out the shape of the cross from his immediate environment and to meditate on the throne of Christ. “The good Lord gives us signs of His Son all around us,” Brother Michel had taught him as a young boy.

The breeze deadened, and he chased this memory in his mind until he could see clearly the tender monk who had raised him. They stood together in a field, Gautier not more than seven years old, Brother Michel kneeling down to Gautier’s level. The monk held a flower in his hand, gently spreading its pedals as if it was the most precious thing on earth, revealing its pistil. It formed a cross. “See, Gautier? All of creation declares God’s glory.”

Gautier’s thoughts returned to his sword before him. The sword stood pristine, clean of blood, declaring God’s glory in the form of a cross. It had been blessed by Pope Urban II before he had set out on the crusade. It held the power to kill and to usher in everlasting peace. This sometimes bothered him. The strange paradox slipped circles in his mind – blood for peace. But he always returned to the firmness of his higher convictions. Everlasting peace! Who could imagine? Then all the wars would end, once Jerusalem was again in the hands of His people. Then Christ could return the same way he had left. He would establish his throne. Swords would be beaten into plowshares.

The peculiar feeling of a nearness to heaven struck him deeply. Had it not been for the weight of his body, he was certain his soul would have lifted from earth. He rose from his knelt position and took his sword. It was time.

A steady rumble of thunder was heard in the distance. He had wondered if it was the voice of God before he realized that it was the sound of the coming of his army. From the line where the darkness meets the land, a stream of chariots and soldiers emerged. And going before them was the waving declaration of the truth of their strength - a flag of a white cross.

“O Lord, give us Jerusalem.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 06/02/07
Wonderful word pictures of a devastating moment in history. I like the way you describe his brief uncertainty over the means to the end he felt was justified. Good writing!
Julie Arduini06/04/07
Great descriptive writing here. I felt like I was there. Well done!
Sally Hanan06/08/07
Joe, I judged for this week of entries and loved yours. It was so descriptive and heartfelt, and might do well in some literary publications. If you want to get more comments or see if you made it into the top 40, go visit the message boards. This was actually 32nd out of almost 200 :) http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/