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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "It's No Use Crying over Spilt Milk" (without using the actual phrase or literal exampl (02/07/08)

TITLE: Death’s foul despair
By Gregory Kane


Death leapt upon us unannounced. A sudden fever, a rasping cough, an urgent summons for help; followed by the solemn hush of familial loss. Shock, disbelief; an adored brother snatched cruelly away by the arbitrary whim of an unheeding deity. Does Heaven possess our beloved? If so, God has callously abandoned us. Hell’s filth and foulness has been poured without mercy on the righteous.

Not so. These are words of sorrow, not of truth. I recant. But why, oh why did he linger? Two whole days he dawdled, idly killing time while our brother’s corpse rotted in the grave. Cold flesh will not long endure. Already the unseen agents of decay are at work, putrefying his inner organs, filling that sepulchre with the pungent stench of unrelenting corruption. Eyes that gazed with laughter upon this world’s beauty; now sightless orbs, soon the breeding den of nameless larvae. Hands that caressed loved ones, skin so tender to the touch; now turning rigid, twisted, the texture of ancient pigskin. Much later the chalk-white of polished bones.

Death sunders all. Hope flees. Faith shrivels. Plans fade to ashes. Memories mock. Promises shatter. Where is God? What glad purpose has he accomplished here? And now his prophet approaches, our dearest friend. Were he truly a friend, he would have moved Heaven and Earth. He would have spoken but one efficacious word and banished death, sending it scurrying into the corner like some mangy cur.

Where is his much vaunted authority now? His fine sayings, his clever, compelling stories. ‘I am the bread of life,’ he boasted. But death reigns here, not life. And bread turns to stone, defiled, useless to man or beast. ‘I am the light of the world.’ What use has anyone for another lamp when the sun shines so vaingloriously in the sky? The light we left inside our brother’s tomb has long since burned out. He sleeps for eternity in the blackest night. ‘I am the door.’ What mockery, what futility. The only door here is carved from hardy basalt, separating the living from the dead. No mortal man may pass through that portal. No handle beckons entry. It speaks a word of finality, of doom that beckons each of us in turn.

Clever preachers’ words mean nothing, hollow harbingers of celestial delights. Loss laughs in the face of holy fervour, strips it of idle confidence, leaves it bruised and bleeding; a message of hope only for those yet deluded by religion’s impudent jabber.

God’s prophet remains undaunted; my caustic grief does not scald him, he does not withdraw in haste as have so many others. ‘I am the resurrection and the life.’ More sermonising? No. Something profound nips feverishly at the periphery of my pain-seared soul. Life after death is but small comfort, a vague imagining that this life is not all that there is. Who can say with any assurance what is or is not true? The dead only rise in fairy tales.

Madness. How can anyone be so insensitive? The stench will overpower us; disease may yet strike us down like a plague. Is it because he arrived late that he dares this sacrilege? Will he pay his last respects in person to a comrade long since departed? Would that another might stop him! Instead, mesmerised, they obey his every fancy. They move the stone.

“Lazarus, come forth!”

Black is white, north is south, hot is cold. The old certainties have gone. Life has sprung from death, light from darkness, hope from despair. Our brother does not walk, he skips. He does not whisper in muted wonder, he laughs in boundless joy. The world is no longer the same. Only Jesus stands permanent, a solid rock in a maelstrom of unanswered questions. He is indeed the resurrection and the life. He is my soul anchor, my unswerving confidence for all that lies ahead.

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Member Comments
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Shirley McClay 02/14/08
EWWW! WOW!!! Such a powerful story! I had no clue who it was until the name Lazerus was mentioned. Excellent. Amazing. Nitpicking here... I think it's spelled sermoniZing.

Awesome writing.
Lynda Schultz 02/14/08
Elegant descriptions and a wonderful use of words and phrases. Great writing.
Dee Yoder 02/15/08
Masterful story-telling. The wondering and analyzing of each "fault" of Jesus led to a powerful conclusion.
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/15/08
This is powerful writing, word upon word carefully placed in this emotional story.
Joanne Sher 02/15/08
Masterfully powerful and amazingly descriptive. Wow.
Patty Wysong02/15/08
That last line is fabulous! "He is my soul anchor, my unswerving confidence for all that lies ahead."
Sally Hanan02/15/08
A lot of love and care went into this one. You get into the emotions and thoughts well.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/20/08
This is deep and very powerful. You drew me in with the feeling of present-day, and gave new meaning to an old familiar story.