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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Banquet - deadline 8-16-12 10 am NY time (08/09/12)

TITLE: Let's Stretch the Table
By Noel Mitaxa


Smells have never been far away from me. I notice other folks often screwed up their noses as we pulled in after a solid night’s work. It was probably the potpourri of sweat, wet boats and soggy nets augmenting the aroma of the fish we’d caught. Still, they were happy enough to shell out their shekels before they took our fish home.

That’s a while ago now, because I’ve done a lot of travelling lately and I’ve come across a whole range of new smells. Most of these smells come from sick people like Aeneas, up in the coastal hills at Lydda. He’d been bedridden for eight years, so you can just imagine how much stale air was floating around his house. Not even the sea breezes could dispel it all.

Down here on the coast I’ve had an interesting aromatic mix at Joppa, while staying at Simon’s house. He is a tanner, so the atmosphere was loading my nostrils with leather smells. Pretty strong stuff, that leather; but it was having to compete with some tantalising wafts rising up from the kitchen.

I’d had a busy morning and I was hungry, so I was stretched out – well out of the kitchen - under a shade canopy on the roof while waiting for the meal to be ready. I don’t know if the food fragrance was meant to be a sedative, but my eyelids were getting so heavy that I felt myself drifting off. But then sleep evaporated, because suddenly it seemed like a whole zoo was floating down on a sheet from a cloud above me!

It kept coming down, until I could see all kinds of animals and birds, reptiles and creepy-crawlies. Then there was no chance for sleep, because a voice boomed out of the cloud: “On your feet, Peter. Kill something and get it into you!” A voice I knew well, because I’d often heard it before – usually when I’d had my foot in my mouth – but I couldn’t allow my reputation to let me down.

“But Lord, you know how I’ve never eaten anything that is unclean,” I protested, “Why should I start now?”

“Don’t call anything unclean if I’ve made it clean!” God shot back at me.

Wow – what was he getting at? There was little time for debate – and I’ve since found that advising God is not a good career move for any apostle – for the sheet headed back to the clouds, before it came back with the same invitation. Which drew the same response from me.

But when God produced a threepeat, I realised it was time to listen up. To hear that three men were waiting downstairs for me and that I should go with them!

I hurried down to meet them, and learned that they were servants of a Roman army sergeant called Cornelius further up the coast at Caesarea, who had been praying for God’s guidance. And God had told him to send for me.

What else could I do but go with them?

That trip opened my eyes to how big God’s love is, for he wanted Gentiles as well as Jews to know him.

We Jews have a direct bloodline to Abraham, as part of God’s covenant, but now, through Jesus’ death and resurrection, anyone – Jew or Gentile – can have a direct connection with him through the blood of Jesus!

My lunch went cold that day as I followed my three new friends, because I realised that God was opening up an eternal banquet for anyone to share in - and he was inviting me to be hiw maitre de!

Food for eternal life – at a table that will keep getting bigger, with appetizing smells and noursihment for all.

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This article has been read 373 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 08/16/12
Great job with the retelling of the familiar Biblical passage. A little humor blended in served as a treat and solidified the message.

I enjoyed this. Thanks!

God bless~
Danielle King 08/17/12
What an interesting pot pourri - sweat,wet boats,soggy nets and fish!

Retold in such an easy, flowing style; descriptive and with the unmistakable and characteristic humour of the author.

A unique take on the topic and a clever title. Great job!
Linda Goergen08/17/12
I love this personalization of Peter’s vision of the Animals in the Sheet. A lighthearted and fun look at the undoubtedly serious struggle that went on within Peter. So visual and played well to the senses…maybe too well with the aromas you had our minds conjuring up! :) Nice use of the topic! Enjoyed the read! Well done!
Genia Gilbert08/18/12
This is so interesting and well written. Great point well made.
lynn gipson 08/20/12
This is great stuff....I really enjoyed the fisherman part as well....your writing captures the imagination and the descriptions are vivid.
Well written and made me smile!

God Bless, Lynn
Beth LaBuff 08/20/12
Your word choices in your opening paragraphs of smells make them practically tangible. Great work! God's banquet of animals… perfect for this topic. I had to smile at the "advising God is not a good career move for an apostle." :) Excellent message, I'm so glad salvation came to the gentiles (in light of that I love your title). :)
Laura Manley08/21/12
What an absolutely delightful entry. I particularly liked the beginning of one of your sentences... "But then sleep evaporated..." A little twist on a familiar story with a bit of humor added. Good combination!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/21/12
This is an intriguing story. You had me smiling at places but you also touched my heart. I enjoyed your character. I'm not a hundred percent sure that i understood the animal clouds. Though I suspect it was God's way of telling the Jews that animals that had been forbidden before Christ were now blessed by God. The title really fits the story and is a perfect way to help my mind truly understand what I was reading (I think) but even if it wasn't exactly what you meant God still used your words to bless me. Nice job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/21/12
Okay after a bit of research I realized you were referring to Peter's vision in Acts. Part of my illness makes me forget things that I had once learned. Although I know I've read the passage before it didn't click until I reread it. Thank you for reminding me that I do need to read my Bible much more. When I was healthy I used to read it twice a day. Now I have more time than ever but don't read it as often. Thanks for your words as they helped God get his message through to me!
Ellen Carr 08/21/12
I really enjoyed this version of the Bible story told from Peter's point of view. You've done it really well. Thanks.
Hiram Claudio08/23/12
This was a wonderful story that gave new insight to Peter's vision up on that roof. I especially liked the line "advising God is not a good career move for any apostle." So very clever ... and true. Nicely done!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/23/12
Congratulations in ranking 9th in level 3!