Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Communication Breakdown (12/16/10)
TITLE: Glory In The Highest
By Marlene Bonney
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“Zaphar! Go tell the brick maker to get his men moving faster! We have much to accomplish this day.”
Zaphar hurried to do his father’s bidding. He stuck out his little chest, mimicking his parent's stance as the haughty supervisor of Nimrod’s most audacious undertaking yet.
To build the tallest edifice ever known to man, to superintend this architectural wonder that would give them access into the very heavens and a pinnacle upon which they could worship closer to God, was a worthy goal. The impressive ziggurat gleamed under the rising sun, the splendor of the circular staircase sparkling and awe-inspiring.
Claudius’s critical watching compelled nearby workers to pull, push, lift and lower faster, the air filling with grunts and exclamations, electric with sweaty straining muscles, as he approached.
“Father—see, I am helping!” Zaphar pulled a cart bigger than himself containing three heavy bricks.
“Excellent, my son, excellent,” Claudius grinned, “but you are more valuable to me as messenger. I will deliver your load while you scamper up yonder and help your Uncle Jarius. He is chiseling out the zoidiac emblems on the upper shrine and can use your sharp eyes.”
Claudius climbed atop a pile of rocks, frowning at the memory of the original city council planning meeting for this grandiose venture. He had urged the members to use the usual natural building elements of stone and mortar, but he was outvoted, many preferring their man-made materials of brick and tar. He worried about the soundness of the building, not sure it could withstand hundreds of years of weathering that the very rocks he was standing on had.
“Nimrod, thought a great hunter, will not be aware of these construction matters, anyway,” was the general consensus.
Claudius lifted his gaze up to the ascending circular staircase leading to the topmost shrine, an eagle surveying his territory. The elaborate tower would take anyone’s breath away. Nimrod was to arrive any day now to see their progress.
“Heave! . . . Heave! . . . Not there, Zippah, over on the tenth level . . . Careful now! . . . Look out below! . . . Watch where you’re going with that! . . .”
Back on level ground, Claudius watched master gardeners pruning and designing foliage into creative shapes to impress the most critical eye, culminating in an intricate labyrinth circling the grounds with winding paths and mazes. Women bustled amongst them, offering drinks of water from their earthen jars-- fetched fresh from Simeon’s well earlier that morning--while merchants from town arrived on the scene with a tempting array of figs, dates, olives, loaves and fishes.
Passing from one group of lunching workers to another, Claudius overheard snippets of many different conversations sailing around him.
“We’re really going to become famous here in Babel with this great tower.”
“The wonder of this important achievement will be forever praised, and laurels proclaimed on the men who skillfully designed and erected it.”
“Claudius, nothing equals this in all Babylon—we salute you! Nimrod may have a contender for his throne yet, eh?”
Caught up in the moment by the throngs of men gathering to sing his exultations, Claudius jumped onto the the building’s mid-sectioned steps, waving his hands for silence.
“Yes, this is a marvelous accomplishment. We have mastered a pyramid design that shows off our superior abilities to all. We will forever stand united as the only true race and—”
Abruptly, his speech was interrupted, intercepted by God’s almighty hand, resulting in utter chaos. Everyone was talking at once, but no one could understand anybody else! Laborers were unable to communicate directions and all work came to a halt. Confusion reigned. People ran every which-way while the great tower, this monument to their greatness, loomed over them. Scores left, scattering and reassembling throughout the land into bands of like language, some traveling hundreds of miles into faraway countries. God, displeased that this people were glorifying man as master of all things, had intervened to show them Who exactly was in charge by scattering them into diverse languages and lands to divide their power.
And the tower’s shadow cast a pall over all who dared to mount it until its features, marred by wind and weather, became scarred, pocked, and crumbling, where it remained unfinished forever.
Story taken from Genesis 11, The Holy Bible
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