Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)
TITLE: Among the Ancient
By Chely Roach
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The hour is surely near…
Though I tremble in anticipation of His arrival, I am just a fragment of the remnant who witnessed His departure. From this very garden—in the shade of the Mount of Olives—I watched Him go up to the clouds like a bird on the wind; the angels told us He would come again.
This I believe…
I was so young then; barely mature enough to provide fruit; my silvery leaves offering a paltry canopy of shade; a mere sapling in a garden grove of ancients; a shoot from one who had seen the days of David. Unworthy of His presence. Yet He chose me. He often knelt beneath my branches to pray. His back leaned against my already gnarled trunk as He taught His followers. I can still feel Him resting between my exposed roots.
He was truly God among us…
They laid their garments on the ground before Him, bowing down with palm branches in hand. Not a stallion did He ride, but a humble donkey. As He rode over the Mount, and past me in the garden, they worshipped Him as their king—their Messiah. Hosanna.
Scorned by the ones he came to save…
With glints of moonlight gracing the garden path, he laid prostrate on the rocky soil beneath me. He cried out to His Father; he spoke of a terrible cup—a cup of wrath—and prayed for it to pass over Him. Above that, He prayed for the Father’s will to be done. The soil is still tinged by the blood of His sweat. I yearned for lightning to strike me down so that I might crush those who came to take Him away.
The unblemished Lamb of God…
When the cup was poured out on Him—over and beyond on that dreaded hill of the skull—the foot of this holy hill felt the chill of darkness instead of the warmth of the sun; this garden shuddered in unison with all of creation. The ripe olives fell from my branches in mourning; the wind whined a dirge through my leaves. It was finished.
Sacrificed for the sins of the world…
But death held no power over Him; on the third day the tomb was empty; the shroud fell limp and vacant on the cold stone. He is risen.
He is risen, indeed…
And now I am an ancient myself. I can still hear His words being carried down the gentle mountain slope; He once foretold to His flock that this Holy City would crumble and fall. Yea, hardly a single temple stone was left in place, and the soldiers decimated this Garden of Gethsemane—we were trampled as the spoils of war. Though singed and scarred, I somehow survived. I survived to see many more wars and rumors of war; plagues and famines; earthquakes and great sorrows.
Come quickly, eternal Temple…
So as the last glimpses of twilight illuminate the clouds in shades of crimson, I search them earnestly for His familiar face; His hair blinding white like new wool; His feet like fiery brass. He will set His foot down above me on the Mount of Olives, splitting this holy hill in two. Every knee shall bow; every tongue shall confess. The rocks will cry out in praise, and the trees of the field will clap their hands. New Jerusalem will descend from the heavens in all its glory.
Oh, Ancient of Days, come restore Your Garden …
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