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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)

TITLE: Contemplating History
By Joanne Sher


A man - jaw set, countenance firm -
looked out in the distance
contemplating history,
recalling events of the past.

They said they loved the Lord,
that God was their Father.
Yet, Adam and Eve disobeyed,
eating of the forbidden tree.

And the man pursed his lips.

He said he would follow God,
that he trusted His direction.
Yet, Abraham bedded Hagar
to sire a son his own way.

And the man cringed.

They praised the Lord for miracles,
declaring their devotion to Him.
Yet the Israelites built an idol in the desert,
bowing low to a calf of gold.

And the man sighed.

He said he would fight for God,
that the Lord was his portion and provision.
Yet, Achan defied God's decrees,
stealing the spoil from his Maker.

And the man clenched his fist.

He said he would rule for God,
that he would lead His people righteously.
Yet, Saul took power into his own hands,
offering an unholy, forbidden sacrifice.

And the man closed his eyes.

He said that God was his shepherd,
that the Lord would meet his every want.
Yet, David sent a man to his death
to satisfy his own lust.

And the man wept.

He said he wanted Godly wisdom,
That he would serve Him only.
Yet, Solomon took wives by the hundreds,
and followed each of their gods.

And the man shook his head.

He was a prophet of the Most High,
speaking His pronouncements far and wide.
Yet, Jonah turned from Ninevah
and entered the great fish's belly.

And the man bowed his head.

They praised God with singing,
celebrating their return to the land.
Yet, the remnant neglected His temple,
letting its gates disintegrate.

And the man bit his lip.

They taught God's Word to the masses,
rebuking those who defied their authority.
Yet, the Pharisees hated His Son,
and worked to destroy Him.

And the man grit his teeth.

He marveled at Christ's miracles,
following and speaking for Him.
Yet Judas betrayed Jesus,
sending Him to death with a kiss.

And the man grimaced.

He said he would never leave Jesus,
declaring Christ was the Son of God.
Yet Peter turned his back on Him,
denying Him thrice in one night.

And the man scanned the crowd.

They said they were God's chosen,
following His laws and precepts.
Yet, the crowd rejected God's Son,
condemning Him to death on a cross.

And the Man examined His hands and feet.

"It is finished," He cried, and He gave up His spirit.
At that moment, the curtain of the temple
was torn in two from top to bottom.

Based on Genesis 3 and 16, Exodus 32, Joshua 7, 1 Samuel 13, 2 Samuel 11, 1 Kings 11, Jonah 1, Nehemiah, and the four Gospel accounts.

The direct Bible reference is taken from John 19:30 and Matthew 27:50b-51.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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This article has been read 1885 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ann Renae Hair02/28/08
This is so deeply moving and powerful and excellent and inspired, I have tears and goosebumps at the same time. Wow and WOW!
Catrina Bradley 02/28/08
When I got to the end and realized who the "man" was, it struck me in the heart. I re-read it, and I saw it all through the "eyes" of Christ as he hung on the cross. Masterful.
Shayne Catoe02/29/08
I really enjoyed being led through the scripture with the eyes of the Lord. Thank you for putting so much thought into this story. I found the format very creative. I was spiritually fed by this story.
Seema Bagai 02/29/08
Wow! Masterfully written. You truly have a gift of taking Biblical stories and crafting challenge entries from them.
Karen Wilber02/29/08
Wonderful. There's so much depth in this simple piece..."they said/yet" and Christ's expressions. This is a beautiful piece for Lent.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/01/08
I love the Bible stories here, tied together by the comments. Wonderful entry.
Glynis Becker03/03/08
So powerful! This is perfectly done...and the change from "the man" to "the Man" is subtle and so poignant. Bravo!
Patty Wysong03/03/08
Beautiful and convicting. I love the single lines and how they build to finale, adding the punching and bringing conviction. Great job!!!
LauraLee Shaw03/03/08
Whoa, I have goose pimples. Anointed piece. Wow.
Chely Roach03/03/08
It's absolutely phenomenal. Superb job, Joanne...I loved it.
Jan Ackerson 03/03/08
Joanne, this is truly marvelous...love the single lines between each stanza, and the growing realization of who the Man is.

Red Ink--this is lyrical and beautiful, and deserves a lyrical and beautiful title.

Have your church run this in the Good Friday bulletin, perhaps?
Rita Garcia03/03/08
Anointed indeed! WOW!
Debbie Wistrom03/04/08
I can't help but see a EC here. So much history, thanks for a great, thought provoking read.
Celeste Ammirata03/04/08
Beautifully written. Powerful and emotional. God Bless.
Mariane Holbrook 03/04/08
I'm breathless. This is so good I keep reading it over to make sure I didn't miss a thing! Your title needs a re-think because it's almost like your poem is a a gorgeous, silk designer dress BUT with inexpensive buttons. If this doesn't win first prize, call me. It's so superb I can't begin to tell you, and yes there's no question but that it was inspired. No question at all! I LOVED IT!
Betty Castleberry03/05/08
Oh, so good! I love it because it is unique, meaningful, and lyrical. Very well done.
Joshua Janoski03/05/08
I love the layout of this piece. It flows so elegantly. The hair on my arms stood up when I realized who the man was. Wow. I see this making the top 3 this week. I also see this being added to my favorites list right now. :)
Laury Hubrich 03/05/08
Wow! Truly masterful! And yes, share this with your preacher! Must share it!
Tim Pickl03/05/08
This is literally a MASTERpiece! Each section of this reads like a drama--showing what happened between each of Christ's last labored breaths. It would make an exceptional Easter play. Wow.
Mandy White03/05/08
Joanne, it's just wonderful. It HAS to be read again once you figure out who the man is. So Moving.
Julie Arduini03/05/08
Joanne---this is a jewel if I ever saw one. Wow. It takes my breath away. Excellent.
Sherry Castelluccio 03/05/08
Yep, as always you leave me breathless. This is wonderful, as usual. And the woman was impressed.
Pat Guy 03/05/08
Awesome Joanne! I was carried away by each scene and emotion. I loved it.
Lyn Churchyard03/05/08
Beautiful Joanne! I wasn't expecting the way it ended. This was certainly from God. So very good. Wonderful!
Joy Faire Stewart03/05/08
You bring Bible characters to life with your story-telling and I always look forward to reading your work. But, this has to be my all-time favorite. It's incredible.
Sara Harricharan 03/05/08
This is beautiful! Your title was ok, but I can't think of anything right now that captures all of that. You gave me goosebumps! A truly beautiful piece of writing. I didn't quite see that end coming, though I guessed sort of, at the end and was glad to see I was right. I loved the lines in italics. Really wonderful writing! ^_^
Hanne Moon 03/05/08
Joanne, this was so beautiful. Very powerful and haunting. It makes me look at myself and wonder how my life looks before God. It really is an awesome piece!
Beth LaBuff 03/05/08
I love everything about this! It is so well thought out and beautifully and poetically written. I wanted to analyze each line between your stanzas.
Peter Stone03/06/08
What an amazing article. I love the reflections from history that the 'Man' contemplates while on the cross.
Ann Renae Hair03/06/08
Funny how we see things...I actually LOVE your title. Just wanted you to know that. Love ya.
Ann Renae Hair03/06/08
5th AND 5th EC!!! Congrats! You're awesome (because you listen to your AWESOME God when He speaks to you!) Great writing girlfriend.
LauraLee Shaw03/06/08
Sara Harricharan 03/06/08
***Congratulations, Joanne!*** Awesome writing! ^_^
Mandy White03/06/08
Congrats Joanne. This piece amazed me.
Sheri Gordon03/06/08
Congratulations on your EC, Joanne. This poem is too incredible for words--absolutely amazing.
Yvonne Blake 03/06/08
WOW, Joanne,this is great!
I love how you brought the different stories to mind and Jesus's reactions to them.
You definitely deserved winning. Congratulations!
Grace V08/14/08
It takes God's great wisdom to write a lovely piece like this that touches souls of Lord's children. You truly have a close relationship with the Lord. Btw, your blog is very beautiful. Lord's wisdom showers in different colors through your writing. Thank you for your comment on my article. God Bless
Mona Purvis05/20/09
Joanne, this is special, lovely, haunting, true, and full of mercy.
I could read this daily as a devotional and never tire of it.