Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Brown (11/26/09)
TITLE: The Little Brown "Church"
By Lisa Johnson
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You had to go pretty far off the beaten path to even find the brown, dirt road that led to the rundown old farm. The farmhouse had long since been gone. It was the providence of God that had kept the old barn standing all these years.
Years of sun, wind and rain had faded its bright, red paint to brown, but the roof and the walls were still intact. It was to this old barn that people came. One or two at a time… under the cover of darkness… they came. If anyone spoke, it was in a whisper. Each and everyone praying that the clouds would keep the moon’s light at bay.
Bales of hay were set in a circle around an old, brown, wooden crate. Thick brown blankets hung on the walls to keep any light from the lanterns from being seen on the outside. A sense of nervous anticipation was in the air, as people took their places on the bales of hay.
Looking around, they took note of missing members. Each person was painfully aware that, at any moment, they might be the next to disappear. It was hard to know who you could trust. You might not see your family or friends again if you chose to talk openly to the wrong person.
A man, who was obviously the leader of the group, reached into the brown wooden crate, pulling out a small package. All the people held their breath as he gently, reverently removed the plain brown paper to reveal the treasure inside. The light from the lanterns cast a warm glow on the soft, brown leather cover of the book.
The man spoke to the group in hushed tones.
“This may very well be the last copy of this book that is left in our region… maybe even in the entire country. Much risk was taken in order to obtain it, and we must guard it with our lives.”
All around him, heads nodded in silent agreement.
A young girl turned to the woman seated next to her, “What is it, Mama?”
“It’s a Bible, honey,” the woman answered, obviously in awe of the treasure in the man’s hand.
The young girl’s brown eyes grew large and luminous as she gazed upon the Bible. Her mama had told her many, many stories from this book, but she had never, ever seen one. The Bible had been banned, and ordered to be destroyed, back in 2012… way before she was born. She was only ten years old, but if she understood anything, she understood two things. One was how special this book really was, and two was the danger associated with being found with a Bible.
No one would have believed it, if someone had told them, back in 2009, that the America they knew would cease to exist. They had taken their faith and their freedom to worship God for granted. They had not realized what true blessings they had until they were taken away from them.
One by one, each person held the Bible. Caressing the soft, brown leather cover, they turned the faded sepia pages. Finding a favorite passage or verse, they read quietly to the group, then passed the Bible on to the next person waiting anxiously for their turn.
Time seemed to stand still as the group fed on the Word, but they knew that they could not stay long in the safe, brown cocoon of the barn. Before leaving, they thanked God for giving them the Bible, and for allowing them to come together for worship. They prayed for those missing from the group, knowing that the penalty for worshipping Christ was certain death.
They allowed themselves the comfort of singing one beloved hymn before departing…
“Oh, come to the church in the wildwood,
Oh, come to the church in the dale…
No spot is so dear to my childhood,
Than the little brown church in the vale...”
Suddenly, the doors of the barn were kicked open. The group was surrounded by the brown-clad, rifle-carrying soldiers of the new world order. At gun point, the group was forced into the brown vans that would carry them to the detention center.
The brown vans began to roll… and knowing full well what would be their fate… voices were raised in song…
“Stand up, stand up for Jesus…”
“The Church in the Wildwood” was written by Dr. William S. Pitts in 1857.
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