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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Handout (04/14/11)

TITLE: On a Hill, Far Away
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom


If I can just keep going, and do not stop to think.

He stumbled and puffs of dirt billowed around his feet. A quick glance to his right and his eyes focused on a group of blind beggars. They were thrusting hands, cups, and bowls into the crowds hoping to catch a spare coin or a bit of food. Today was not their day. The whips cracked, the masses jeered as he tried to force himself onward. The chant in his mind propelled him forward.

If I can just keep going, and do not stop to think.

Struggling to his feet, his eyes closed and countless faces of all colors and every age rushed through his mind. For them, he forced his legs to keep moving. Turning his head away from the crowd, sweat and blood dripped down his body. As much as he wanted to stop and save the little children dressed in nothing but rags, hair matted tightly to their heads, he knew he must march on. Today was not their day, but perhaps if he kept moving… For them once again, he repeated the words.

If I can just keep going, and do not stop to think.

Once more, he trembled violently, blood oozed from his fingernails, the pain was unbearable, but he knew the souls that flashed through his mind, those souls he could save. His heart ached, as the crowd’s jeers grew louder. He wished he could save everyone but that was not part of the plan. With all the strength he could muster, he continued the journey up the hill of death.

If I can just keep going, and do not stop to think.

Amongst the crowd, he saw parents encouraging toddlers to steal from the frenzied crowd. A little boy expertly made his way to the forgotten valuables on the ground. He felt Jesus watching him; meeting his eyes, the battered man gently shook his head no. The boy dropped the treasure and tugged on the robe of a spectator. The little boy looked up with his brown eyes and held his hand out. The man carelessly handed him some coins. He smiled at the prisoner, but his eyebrows furrowed with unanswered questions.

If I can just keep going, and do not stop to think.

As he trudged up to the skull, he closed his eyes and trillions of faces from the past, present, and future flashed through his head .He knew each one by name. Finally, he reached the top of the hill. The crowd gathered around and yelled insults and spat on him. He closed his eyes as the soldiers laughed while pulling his arms out and ruthlessly nailed him to the wood, and then carelessly dropped the cross into its hole. He blocked out the pain by remembering the prostitute who had been sneaking out of the governor’s room. Her head was down, her face flushed as she held out her hand for her payment.

If I can just keep going, and do not stop to think.

The pain turned to agony as the nails ripped his flesh; he moved to relieve the pressure from his chest. He had time for a quick breath then he could hold himself up no longer. He looked to the heavens and screamed “My God, my God, why have thou forsaken me?” He relaxed the muscles in his chest and again faces flashed through his mind.

His head jerked when he heard me screaming some 2,000 years into the future. I was battered and bruised and as Jesus sweat blood that dripped down his body, my tears plopped onto my Bible. From his cross, Jesus heard my pleas, “Oh Jesus, I need help, please listen. Can you even hear me? God, do you really care? Show me, hold me, love me.” I laid my head down and cried; Jesus released his soul and died.

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This article has been read 1063 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 04/21/11
Beautiful writing in this piece. I felt I was right there in the scene. The repetition was effectively used. Great job.
Amanda Brogan04/22/11
Wow. I am practically speechless. This is AMAZING! The endless compassion of our Lord oozed from every word and description. How did Jesus make it through the crucifixion? He kept His mind focused on the ones He loved.

Masterfully done!
Patricia Protzman04/26/11
I teared up while reading your inspiring story of our Savior's crucifixion. Very well done.
Colin Swann04/26/11
Beautiful story told at the appropriate time of Easter.

All that sin in people that he was well aware of, and giving is life for us - awesome!

Keep inspiring us!

Loren T. Lowery04/26/11
Absoultely wonderfully written. The images so real, the anguish brought about by your words and story so tangible to the heart. I liked, too, the way you showed that even in His suffering as a prisoner - condemned by man - people in the crowd looked to him and were convicted and freed. Super job. Kudos!
Amy Michelle Wiley 04/26/11
Wow, the last paragraph is especially powerful. Wonderful job. It reminds me of the line from the song, "He lived to die, and thought of me, above all."
Kathleen Langridge04/26/11
Passionate and powerful plus personal. I was carried away by the words and the scene but especially by the heart of this re-telling. Only one thing, the quote from Jesus cry on the cross, seemed a mixture of King James and a new version. Maybe I am remembering it wrongly but I think it is, 'My God, my God why hast (not, 'have') Thou forsaken me.' Small thing but it jarred. Still it is a wonderful piece and heart wrenching. Inspirational beyond measure.
Shelley Ledfors 04/26/11
This is such a powerful piece. I am in awe of the way you presented the story of our Lord's sacrifice in such a unique way. I especially loved the ending. Very well done. Thanks for sharing.
Connie Dixon04/27/11
Very nicely done. I loved how you got into the mind of God in this well-written piece.
Carol Penhorwood 04/27/11
Loved the way Jesus connected with others all the way to the hill of His death. But your powerful and profound ending said it all for me! Great writing!
Edmond Ng 04/27/11
Exceptionally well written reliving the moments of our Lord's pain and agony. Excellent piece.
Kara Dunham 04/28/11
This is super powerful. Its a great image of what Jesus suffered, but then the last paragraph just made it all the more gripping.

I think we often view the crucifixion as just something of the past, but you did an incredible job at making it present and tangible.
Amanda Brogan04/28/11
Congrats on your Editor's Choice, Shann! Wow, told ya that you did a great job. ;)
Barbara Lynn Culler04/28/11
Wow Shann! I had goosebumps all through it, and bawled at the end! Well deserved win!
Tracy Nunes 04/28/11
Congratulations Shann! Beautiful writing and awesome job! Well deserved win!
Patricia Protzman04/28/11
Congratulations on your second place win in Level 3 and your EC placement.
AnneRene' Capp04/28/11
I'm in AWE! Spectacular ending and emotionally encapsulating throughout. Absolutely excellent my friend.
Leola Ogle 04/28/11
Awesome, awesome, awesome! Congrats on your placement! Well done! God bless!
Michael Throne04/28/11
Beautiful. I liked the style, the pace. I especially enjoy stories with strong endings, and this one was perfect. It would have been easy to have let the story come to its natural conclusion, but you made it real; you made it relevant. Well done!
Theresa Santy 04/28/11
Congratulations on your placing for this stunning piece. Emotions are vividly expressed and this entry tugged at my heart.
sandra hoolihan04/28/11
This was quite an amazing piece of writing. Congratulations on your placement.
Danielle King 04/28/11
Congratulations Shann on placing 2nd and also EC. Well deserved.
Noel Mitaxa 04/28/11
This is so powerfully presented in its clarity and compassion, and its reach through time. Congratulations on your placing. Well done Shann.
Nancy Bucca04/28/11
What an amazing piece of writing! It really says a lot. Thank you for this.
Kim Hamlin04/29/11
Wonderful Shann, congratulations!!
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/29/11
Shann, I was so happy to see this in EC. What a beautiful tribute to our Lord your story is.
Loren T. Lowery04/29/11
So very happy to see this place so highly. Congratulations, Shann.
Eliza Evans 04/29/11
Very nicely done.
Congratulations on your EC, Shann!
Beth LaBuff 04/29/11
Shann -- this is wonderful, super congrats on your Editor's Choice award!!!
Linda Goergen04/30/11
I can only agree with all the others, a well deserved win indeed!
Lillian Rhoades 05/02/11
Just got back from out of town. I want to add my congrats for this beautifully written piece. I liked the repetitive refrain.
Superbly done!
Bonnie Bowden 05/15/11
Dear Shann,

What a powerful recreation of Christ's death on the cross. Your repeated words echoed throughout.

I cried throughout. This piece really drove the physical and emotional elements home.

Congratulations on your well deserved EC award. Thank you for all your critiques. They have been very helpful and mean a lot to me.
Joan Campbell05/27/11
Shann!! WOW! Congrats on your EC--what a celebration you must have had! Your story is poignant, powerful and personal. How amazingly well you bring out the thought that Jesus had us in mind as he died on the cross! Joan xxx
Dannie Hawley 03/02/12
Wow, Shann, what can I say? The Lenten season just started for 2012 so I thought I would add my comment to all of these from last year. Awesome writing. I, quite literally, could not speak by the end of this piece. Masterful work.
Alicia Renkema04/11/13
And I believe that is exactly as it was / is my friend. We sit here crying and screaming in pain, a pain that he heard and felt close in His Spirit as He hung on that cross and died for us. You wrote about golgotha too, and did it with such intensity and love from our Lord's point of view,.That must have been an incredible week for you as you were preparing this, as the Lord showed you what is was like for Him. I wish I could have been around when you got this EC. I wonder how many you have gotten since (I am smiling as I write this)? -- yet the first is always special. I can't think of a more special writing to have accomplished that with. A belated congrats to you and I can't believe you were ever not in Masters! I am so glad we are friends Shann, Hugs!