“Don’t you have any sugar, Sam?” asked Calliope.
“Nope!” Sam replied. “Saccharine is what I have. Liquid, powdered, or in tablet form. You takes your pick.” She waved her hand at the tea tray.
“Oh rats!” grumbled Calliope. “Worse than Ezekiel’s roll, saccharine is.”
She immediately regretted the allusion. Samantha would jump on it and insist on an explanation. And she did not relish explaining Ezekiel or his roll to her agnostic sister. Intensely superstitious, Samantha constantly ridiculed anything that she might term ‘religious.’
“Who is Ezekiel, and what sort of roll?” she inquired.
“Oh, just a roll.” Calliope shrugged. Perhaps if she could change the subject she could head Samantha off. “I didn’t know you were dieting again. How long this time?”
“Several weeks. I’ve lost a bit this time. Hoping to regain my sylph-like figure, you know.”
Calliope snorted with derision while inwardly sighing with relief. “What sylph-like figure? I have never heard of a sylph-like juggernaut!”
Samantha remained unruffled. “Anyway, you were going to tell me about Ezekiel and his roll.”
Calliope regarded her sister over the rim of her cup, considering what to say. The words spoken to Ezekiel marched through her mind.
“Go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak my words unto them. … But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; … for they are impudent and hardhearted.
Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads.
Fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks…”
Deliberately she set her cup down and looked straightly at her sister.
“Ezekiel was a prophet priest of the Old Testament.”
Samantha groaned exaggeratedly, but Calliope ignored her.
“God came to Ezekiel with a commission, a very difficult commission. He was to go to the rebellious house of Israel and to give them God’s message. They would not listen, but Ezekiel was to speak whether they listened or not. To encourage him in this task he was told to open his mouth and eat what God gave him. When he looked he saw a roll of a book, written on both sides of the pages. The words written were lamentations, mourning and woe. And God said to him, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. So Ezekiel ate the roll. He said, it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.
Afterwards, he said, the spirit lifted him up and took him away. He went in bitterness and the anger of his spirit, but the hand of the Lord was strong upon him.
Remember that the words written were lamentations, mourning and woe.
The message that Ezekiel was to give to these rebellious people was that unless they turned from their unbelief and their wicked ways, they would die in their sin. Remember, the words written were lamentations, mourning and woe.”
She bit her lip and continued doggedly.
“Samantha dear, I know that you do not accept the Bible, the God of the Bible, or any of the teachings of the Bible. That puts you in the same place as those rebellious men of Israel. I love you but I cannot help you while you continue in your unbelief, so for me the words are bitter, bitter! For all eternity the words for you will be lamentations, mourning and woe. But the words of God which are sweet as honey in my mouth, become bitter when I face your rejection and I know that I cannot help you.”
Samantha stood and gathered the teacups onto the tray. As she took the tray from the room she called over her shoulder, “I think you’d better leave. Now, Calliope. Goodbye.”
Calliope reached for her handbag. “Samantha,” she began.
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