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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Beginning and End (04/16/09)

TITLE: The Composition
By Rachel Burkum


The symphony starts...a slow, quiet tempo. Darkness envelops the scene - a hushed void. The bass notes rise. An eerie mist begins to form. The instruments create a steady almost-hypnotic beat.

Suddenly, the orchestra comes alive as a beam of light shatters the darkness. The notes thunder through the air, making those who listen tremble. The pounding of the timpani reverberates from east to west, announcing the arrival of a spinning sphere - the handiwork of God.

Stars, moons, planets and galaxies...they gather to hear the music play. The grass of the field waves to the beat, and the trees bow to their Maker. Birds and fish, cattle and insects - all hear the song as the gentle breeze blows. It is the whisper of the Lord.

The stringed instruments begin to raise the tension of the song as new beings are introduced. They are the most precious creations, made in the likeness of God Himself. A flute solo sings a sweet tune. It is the love and bond between Creator and creation.

A page is turned, and the symphony quiets. All seems well. But darkness rises behind the scene, ready to strike at the precisely-timed moment. The cymbals clash, the drums roar and the earth shakes to its core. Something is wrong. There is chaos across the stage. Notes fly in every direction, hurled with force through the woodwinds and harps.

And then...it is still. A sad oboe tells of the separation - the nightfall without a hope of sunrise. Slowly, chords rise again, the instruments bringing back order to the notes. It is a steady tune, but bland and empty. Something is missing. Restoration is incomplete.

Oh, but then the sounds, the beautiful sounds! A joyous French horn rings out clear. It is the announcement of the One who can bring harmony - the One sent by his Father to produce order once again.

The instruments rejoice. They blend together in sweet and festive song, the voices from Heaven joining the melody of ultimate love.

But the darkness lurks again. The minor notes hide behind the volume, infiltrating the scene. When least expected, they spring forth through the screeching violins. A chilled wind blows across the stage. The drums beat an angry tempo, driving fear and pain into the souls of the audience. The only remnant of the Son so loved is the shadow of an empty cross.

Grief-stricken, the melody suffers, forced and pulled into the open against the will of the strings. Tears mingle with the foreboding sounds. Hope seems out of reach and the world is dark once again.

But for those who wait, the gong strikes three. The darkness shrieks with a clamor of sour notes, chased offstage by the horns and bells. He has risen! He is alive! No shadow can remain. Prophecy fulfilled, the instruments play on. It is time. Time to live with a new law in place. Time to look to the golden horizon for soon...soon will be the glorious end.

The clock ticks relentlessly as the stage grows tired. The notes march on, weariness hanging on each measure - each turn of the page. The bells grow dim, the piano flat and hollow. But they must play...they must be heard...they must resist the unleashed darkness that swallows the weak, one by one.

And then...a glimmer, far in the distance. A hush falls over the orchestra as anticipation rises. Is it time? Yes! There He is! The trumpets break forth with vigor set free. All of the brass and strings breathe new life as the crescendo builds and builds until the heavens and earth shake. Singing blends with the instruments and tears of joy rain down.

From the void of darkness to the eternal light, the final measures play. Yet when the end of the song is reached, the Conductor turns one more page. Another composition beyond all imagination awaits.

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This article has been read 7637 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 04/23/09
Wow! I read through this twice to savor every line. Beautiful writing. Excellent work.
Lori Othouse 04/24/09
I love the analogy of the orchestra. And the last paragraph, wow, it gives me chills! Excellent!
Jan Ackerson 04/28/09
I'm a music-lover, so I found this gorgeous!
Sharon Kane04/28/09
A beautiful weaving of the story of redemption with the musical imagery. I love the analogy and I think your choice of specific instruments at various points in the story is very apt.

If I'm allowed to red ink it... I thought the last third got a bit heavy. In the first part you changed the focus at times (talking of grass waving etc,) while towards the end you focused almost entirely on the music. The actions played out on the world stage were only mentioned second. Also you started a lot of sentences with 'but' which became a bit same-ish. So stylistically I felt it floundered a bit.

Having said all that, this is the kind of expression of God's handiwork that I often feel deep within, but invariably fail to put into words! So sincerely, hats off to you!
Carol Slider 04/29/09
I definitely enjoyed the orchestra analogy! As I read it, I was reminded of several works that depict a monumental struggle (Mahler's Symphony No. 2, for example). Well done!
Joy Faire Stewart04/29/09
This is so beautiful. I read it several times. Wonderful!
Beckie Stewart04/29/09
This was so beautiful. I could hear it and see it in my mind's eye!
Johnna Stein04/30/09
Beautiful from the first note (oops) I mean first word to the last. Congrats!
Rhonda Schrock04/30/09
Very well done - articulate and beautiful. Excellent descriptions from the front row of the concert hall.
Lollie Hofer04/30/09
I like the flow of this story. It is so powerful and the descriptions were exceptionally strong. It had just the right touch of sentiment without overdoing it. Congratulations on a well-deserved win. (I learned a lot from this piece as well.)
Betty Castleberry04/30/09
Congratulations on your win for this poetic, beautifully written piece.
Gerald Shuler 05/01/09
Oh, my!!! This is writing at a level I could only dream of accomplishing! Congratulations on your MUCH deserved first place EC.
Connie Dixon05/01/09
This is amazing. Emotional, creative, inspirational. Loved this a lot. Congratulations.
Mona Purvis05/02/09
Rachel, this is in a league all its own. Superb! Totally envelops the reader. Mona
Jim McWhinnie 05/03/09
Wow and more wow!

I have already tucked this masterpiece in my treasure chest.
Glynis Becker05/10/09
Beautifully crafted piece and a much deserved first place. Congratulations!
Margaret Kearley 07/01/09
May I add huge congratulations to many more on your well deserved Best of the Best win. I had not read it before today. It is really beautiful and thrills the heart with wonder at what God has (and is) accomplishing. Thankyou so much.
Dianne Janak07/01/09
This was a masterpiece on so many levels. Thank you so much for this gift to all of us, and now I hope you celebrate the wonderful news of your win. SO well deserved!
Joanne Sher 07/01/09
Oh Rachel. This is incredibly stunning and SO deserving of Best of the Best. Now pick yourself up off the floor. Okay??? ;)
Lynda Lee Schab 07/01/09
CONGRATULATIONS, RACHEL, on your BOB win! This piece is definitely deserving of it!

I'll be in touch with some interview questions for you.

Wear that crown proudly! :-)
Paulette Winter07/01/09
"The Composition" is a breathtaking and glorious piece of work. My sincere congratulations to Rachel. Your composition is absolue beautiful. I could read it over and over and over again!
Very creative and artistic!

Paulette Rogers
Pat Guy 07/01/09
Congratulations BOB! ; ) Awesome...just so absolutely awesome. You did it girl. Enjoy the clouds! Love, Pat
Jesus Puppy 07/01/09
Way to go Rachel. This piece does in fact stand out, good job, and congrats on winning the crown... BOB. ;-)
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/01/09
Congratulations, Rachel, BOB. This winning piece grows more beautiful and more inspiring with each succeeding read.
Chris Surber07/01/09
Very well written. Congratulations!
Loren T. Lowery07/01/09
Congratulations, Rachael. A perfect composition melding both music and words into a memorable story.
Diana Dart 07/01/09
I am shivering... beautiful. Sharp. Soulful. I can't think of the words, cause it just plain rocks (although that seems out of place with the musical style ;) ). Love it. Big, big congrats Rachel on the BoB win.
Loren T. Lowery07/01/09
Had to come back and add that this piece reminds me of "Peter and the Wolfe" a story told with musical instruments. Going to the concert to hear it was a Christmas holiday tradition when I was growing up. Something I always looked forward to and learned musical instruments could have voices as well. Thanks for the memory! : )
Sheila Deeth07/01/09
Charla Diehl 07/01/09
Congratulations on this superb entry--not surprised that it earned the BOB award. Wear your crown with a big smile.
lynn potter07/01/09
Blessing and honor to the One who has given you the prophetic voice to trumpet a story with such passion and glamour. A truely remarkable piece that should be in print for all who have eyes to see and ears to hear. Glory to God the Father for bringing to us this magnificant writing.
God bless you and increase your gift to His body.
Dorothy Stroup07/01/09
WOW! I can hear and visualize the scene you have set, salvation's past, present, and future. You captured salvation's story in a short essay. Quite a feat! Your short sentences carried a punch. Your choice of strong visual words make it easy to see the whole scene in the reader's mind. Well done...
Allen Stark07/01/09

I had just finished reading your poem, "Breath of God" given to me at our last Southwest Iowa Writers Guild meeting when the FaithWriters email came up. Congratulations onwinning the BOB contest.I'm not surprised your piece won, having read your novel and the poem. The beauty in your eyes and in your writing is beholding God the way you do.
Beth LaBuff 07/02/09
Rachel, I could hear your symphony as the story was being played. Your writing is beautiful. I, too, love your last line. Super congratulations on winning Best of the Best! Awesome!
Verna Mull 07/02/09
Congratulations! What an inspiring work, and how great that it has been chosen as the best of the best! God bless you, and keep writing!
kurt hardy07/02/09
Dear Rachel,
What an awsome piece of work.
I only pray that some day I might be able to write what you throw away.

I don't know yet how to critque writing, but I know when something is GREAT.

Thank you for sharing your God given gift.
Dan Johnson07/02/09
This is an amazing piece of literature, certainly creating an experience beyond words. I work in music...and found this to be very powerful! Congrats!
-Dan Johnson
Amy Michelle Wiley 07/02/09
Oooo, I like this. Very cool. Would love to hear this concert, but you brought it alive to us in your writing.
Henrietta W. Romman07/04/09
Oh dear Rachelle...A million congratulations for this great BOB award! You made my heart to rejoice.....This awesom "musical" masterpiece has honored both Our Lord---and all of us at Faithwriters.
God bless you forever...Amen
Laura Godson07/08/09
Hi Rachael, I was totally captivated by this piece of writing, wonderfully writen.
Patricia Herchenroether07/21/09
Congratulations, Rachel.
Sorry I'm late with this. I'm breathless. I'm speechless. Oh, my!
Linda Buskirk07/22/09
The use of an orchestra and its music to highlight God's creation and the victory of salvation is wonderful, and masterfully executed. Thank you for writing a piece that makes both the head and heart worship the majesty, wonder and grace of God!
Rita Garcia08/13/09
Congratulations Rachel! A Magnificent Story! I love the musical journey filled with notes of blessings with every rise and fall of the instruments.
Wishing you continued success with your writing, I loved reading your first three novels--what a treat!
Janice Fitzpatrick08/19/09
Simply amazing! How beautiful and how deserving of the BOB hon. God bless you and keep being used by the Lord. Congratulations! Praise the Lord.:0)
Pamela Calhoun09/02/09

I'm new to writing... you set the bar very very high! Thank you for that.

What a gift you have, thanks for sharing it.

Roxanne Howard09/08/09
I'm in tears. GOD bless you and keep writing.
Dawn Ost-Ratliff10/10/09
I see this writing as a powerful tool to reach others with a deep passion for music. It produces the imagery and a story that is familiar and puts it into the context of the story of our savior. Passion runs deep in those with a love for music, though they often cannot grasp the passion for our Lord. This gives them an understanding of the passion for Jesus.

In all, awesome and inspiring!
Oge Maduka10/18/09
Beautiful Analogy!Great piece Rachel!
Dimple Suit10/20/09
Bringing tears to my eyes as I could hear every note in the words you wrote. It is a beautiful symphony filled with hope and love. Thank you so much.
Sonia Gray10/20/09
How exciting and real, Rachel.You made me hear,feel and see the Word come alive. Truly breathtaking to say the least. Well deserving the BoB! Thank you and God bless you abundantly for honoring Him with your gift.
Sonia Gray
Carol Penhorwood 10/26/09
Absolutely glorious! I'm brand new to faithwriters! What an introduction!!!!
valerie chambers11/01/09
Wow what else can be said--you said it all
Adetokunbo Oluwasanjo11/26/09
Simply beautiful....It made me think about the scripture that says "The Heavens declare the Glory of the Lord!" I could actually hear the sounds of the instruments and suddenly I realised I was reading not watching! The words had literally come alive. A masterpiece....Come quickly Lord Jesus!
Lisha Hunnicutt01/03/10
Wow! Very creative!!!
Ann van Valkenburg01/06/10
Very good. Great imagery. Flawless seams. You get the point across in a very creative way.
Sharlyn Guthrie01/21/10
What? Half the year has passed, and I have never congratulated you on this fantastic accomplishment? I recall reading it when you first placed (I was on vacation at the time, which is probably why I didn't comment). I came back today to read it again. What a beautifully orchestrated, inspiring piece! Congratulations on being BEST of the BEST!
Jenal Carlton01/29/10
That was totally amazing! Words cannot express the depths and height of all the emotions experienced while reading this. It truly was amazing. This is one of those things I say, "Wow, I wish I had written that!"
Evonne Pullen02/01/10
You write beautifully and I really love this one it is an amazing piece of writing. I like how you use the battles of good and evil but what I like most about it is you write with true passion and faith.
valerie chambers02/08/10
Lorrie Letemplier02/11/10
Humbling. Beautiful. Blessed are you. Thank you for submitting this piece.
Marjorie Patton03/06/10
This is beautifully written! Congratulations on a job well done!
Donna Wolther03/16/10
It must be wonderful for nearly a year to go by and know that people are still reading your work and getting pleasure from it. Music is one of God's greatest creations I think.
susan woolen04/07/10
I loved this. I play the flute in an orchestra and really felt the music! -sue
Julie Farmer04/14/10
May I begin by saying that though your writing was beautiful, I do have one critique. WHY? WHY? would this be my first read during my first 24 hours on this site? Just kidding! WOW! I am so very excited to be here and have the opportunity to have writers of your caliber critique my work!
Amanda D'costa05/26/10
Beautiful. Simply beautiful.
Melinda Todd06/03/10
This was magnificent! I could see this vividly in my mind! I can see this being an instrumental musical play. Really, it's gold!
Sharon Frampton06/05/10
This is so timeless and beautiful. I don't know if timeless is the write choice of words.
I only know that this is an expression of love to the Lord.
What a beautiful peice of writing. The kind of praise the Lord deserves. Your love of music was put to such wonderful purpose. Congratulaions to the writer and praise the Lord!
Sharon Frampton06/05/10
This is so timeless and beautiful. I don't know if timeless is the write choice of words.
I only know that this is an expression of love to the Lord.
What a beautiful peice of writing. The kind of praise the Lord deserves. Your love of music was put to such wonderful purpose. Congratulaions to the writer and praise the Lord!
Nancy Sullivan 06/12/10
I'm a newby and just discovered this priceless treasure. Magnificient.
Congratulations. I look forward to seeking out more of your work.
dianna douglass07/29/10
what an awesome music analogy! i could not only feel and see the imagery...i could hear it! congratulations!