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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Barbeque/Cookout (09/06/12)

TITLE: Against the Grain
By Stanley McMahon


The sun shone brightly in the crisp winter morning, inviting us to explore the smells and scenes of an invigorating trip up to Gibilmanna, in the Madonian mountain range of Sicily. It was New Year’s Day in 1997. A perfect day for a barbeque, maybe not if you are Sicilian and used to the strict cultural parameters which lay down incontrovertible laws such as, ‘You shall not even think about going up a mountain and having a barbeque at the beginning of the year.’ But for weather-hardened English and Irish people, the opportunity was too good to miss.
The Gibilmanna Park has a number of brick-built barbeques at the disposal of the hungry public, who pass through some breathtaking scenery, overlooking the Mediterranean sea. On that bracing day, with the sun high in the January sky, we built two barbeques, side by side; one to keep us warm and the other to cook the food.
It reminded me of another mountain where two barbeques were made, but for very different purposes. The scene was still in the Mediterranean, but much further east and millennia of years ago. Similar in height above sea level, Mt Carmel was host to two groups, one led by the prophet Elijah and the other by the prophets of Baal.
The first one didn’t even get lit, while the second shouldn’t have burnt at all, given the amount of water it had been doused in. The point was that the god who answered by fire, was the one to be worshipped. Elijah’s confidence was repaid when the water in the trough around the altar was consumed as well as the offering itself. The rest is history.
Yahweh, the Lord God, revealed Himself to the people of Israel and to the prophets of Baal as the God who answers by fire. Later in Elijah’s experience, he found the Lord to be the God who speaks in a still, small voice.
As we stood on the mountain that day in 1999, we were aware of the God of creation who delights to give us rest, who constantly amazes us with the unspeakable beauty of His creation, but Who demands our worship and reminds us through His creation, that our God is awesome in holiness and that His fire burns in our hearts and bids us fall before Him.
As we continued on our journey to other sites of historic and cultural importance on the island of Sicily, we were warmed by the heaters in the car – it really was a cold day – but also by the fact that we could enjoy the spontaneous choices of people who are willing to do something different and go against the grain!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 09/13/12
I liked the way you connected the experience in Sicily to the story of Elijah. Putting a break between each paragraph will make it easier to read. Lots of good descriptions in this piece.
C D Swanson 09/14/12
Highly descriptive and informative entry. I enjoyed it. Nicely done. Thank you.

God Bless~
Theresa Santy 09/18/12
I hate to admit it, but I have a bit of a subversive nature, and so your title drew me in...

I love your style of writing, witty, concise, and smooth. I would have loved to hear more about the barbeque held against the grain, and more about how you had been made aware of God of creation...etcetera, on top of those mountains, but I can't complain, this was an enjoyable read.