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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Easter (05/30/05)

TITLE: Tell Me a Story
By Karri Compton
06/04/05


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Glancing at the glowing digits on his clock, Johnny jumped into the soft bed. Grandpa sometimes took care of him while Mom and Dad were out on one of their dates. Johnny knew if he got to bed on time, Grandpa would tell him one of his famous stories.

“Laila Tov, Johannes. Good night. I promised your mother I would get you to bed on time and I am a man of my word.”

“I know, but would you please tell me a story, Grandpa? Just a short one? C’mon, pleeeease?” Johnny pouted with pleading puppy dog eyes.

“Ah, very well. You take advantage of an old man’s soft heart.” Grandpa sighed as he sat on the nearby desk chair.

Johnny snuggled down in his covers, ready to listen.

“Long ago, our ancestors were slaves in Egypt. They were mistreated and made to suffer under hard labor. Then they cried out to the Lord, and He heard them. He raised up Moses to approach Pharaoh and demand that the Israelites be set free. When Pharaoh did not agree, the Lord sent plagues on the Egyptians – boils, flies, locusts…”

“and frogs, too,” said Johnny.

“Yes, frogs and other horrors. The tenth plague, the worst of them all, ensured the destruction of all the firstborn of men and animals in Egypt. The Lord instructed the Israelites to kill a one-year old lamb or kid…”

“That’s a baby goat.” Johnny accompanied his interruption with a baaing sound for effect.

“Correct. The animal had to be without defect. It would be slaughtered and roasted over a fire, eaten with bitter herbs and matzah, or unleavened bread. Some of the blood was to be sprinkled on the sides and tops of the houses’ doorframes. The blood was a sign for the destroyer to pass over the home and not touch anyone in it.”

“That’s why it’s called Passover, right?”

“Yes, right. At midnight the destroyer came and killed all the firstborn of Egypt. There was loud wailing unlike any before or after that. But the Israelites who had followed the Lord’s commands remained safe. Then Pharaoh let the Israelites go, along with many Egyptian goods and valuables. And so they departed Egypt while it was still night and were freed.” Grandpa paused as he finished the story, allowing Johnny to pipe up again.

“And Easter is coming up in a few days! It’s just like Passover because Jesus, who was perfect, was killed like the lamb and His blood saves us like the blood saved the Israelites.” Johnny proudly stated this part, knowing Grandpa would be glad he remembered it.

“Very good, Johannes. Ah, but many Jews don’t believe as we do. They don’t see Jesus as the Messiah who fulfills all the prophecies of old and who frees us from our sins.”

Johnny frowned at that. “Like Mom and Dad. They’re not bad people, are they?”

“No, of course not. We must pray that they will one day understand and believe the truth.”

At that moment, Johnny heard the front door close and his parents announce their return. His mother peeked her head into the room.

“Have you been telling Johnny stories again?” Johnny wasn’t sure if she was amused or mad.

“We were just beginning to pray. Would you both like to join us?” Grandpa gave Johnny a wink and a grin.

“Yeah, Mom. Will you and Dad come in here, too?”

“Oh. Well, I guess so, but only for a minute. It’s late. Let me go get your father.”

Johnny turned to Grandpa with a triumphant whisper. “Yesss!”

***

“…For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” I Cor. 5:7b, NIV.


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This article has been read 799 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Leslie Lamb06/06/05
I love a good Jewish story! How nice to read a story where Messiah is recognized and accepted! I make that my own prayer. Your character language was compelling and believable. I wish you luck in the contest; I think you deserve a big win!
Suzanne R06/07/05
I too love to read Jewish pieces (Chaim Potok is a favourite author) and even more so where the Messiah is recognized. You skillfully kept the reader from thinking it was just a lecture, too, but interjecting it with a little boy's perspective, the bleating of the baby goat etc. Well done!
Anthony Tophoney06/07/05
Skillfully simple. You used convincing characters and flowing dialogue to carry a weighty message almost effortlessly. Well done!
dub W06/08/05
Well done, congratulations.
Shari Armstrong 06/09/05
Bravo!
Debbie OConnor06/09/05
Great job! This is very believable, sweet and powerful too. Excellent writing.
WENDY DECKER06/09/05
Very sweet and well-written story. Nice job as always.(:
Linda Germain 06/09/05
Loved this one! Very well told.
Val Clark06/10/05
A delightful story, full of love and hope.
Delores Baber06/10/05
One is left with the understanding that this "prayer" will have a life changing effect on the parents. One generation passing on the good news to a third generation while living in love with the couple who produced this child of wonder. Even a Jewish person who has not come to know Christ as their true Messiah can read this without offence. Something that seems hard for gentiles to accomplish. Great writing!
Joanne Malley06/11/05
I love the hope in this piece! Great writing. I could envision the grandfather and child with much clarity. :)
Pat Guy 06/11/05
I don't know why but this brought tears as I got to the part obout the parents. It's so difficult to witness to someone of strong Jewish beliefs. Good job - loved grampa!
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/11/05
I loved the "'We were just beginning to pray.' Grandpa gave a wink." line! :-D

Since Grandpa is talking to a younger child, I would perhaps use some smaller words in the Bible story.

But I really enjoyed the story! I, too, especially liked how Johnny broke into the story with his own additions. :-) Good job!