Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Vines (11/21/05)
TITLE: The Peace-Bringer
By Amy Michelle Wiley
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Most any day you could find her seated in the shade of the Bengow tree, weaving thin strands of red and tan into baskets. She never had trouble finding a child to hold the ends of the vines as she worked. For you see, Wanga Suru was not just a vine-weaver, she was also a story-teller.
For hours the children of Pasah, and even the adults, would sit and listen to her tales. She told stories of the animals in the forest, people in far off lands, and tales of Pasah. But soon her eyes would stray toward the bush around them--this bush that could hide danger so easily in its shadows… Then her words would turn toward tales of the One it was said would bring peace to Pasah. One who would end the war between Pasah and Xika. End the violence and kidnapping and stealing. End the dominance of the Xika.
“How will this One bring peace, Wanga Suru?” little Bea asked, holding the reddish strands of vine high above her head. “Many have tried to make peace with Xika, but always they betray.”
Wanga Suru did not like to see the anger and worry on the child’s face. It was not right. “It is said that He will show love so strongly that it will spread throughout the land, filling the world with peace.”
One day a stranger came, listening to Wanga Suru as he waited for a basket. “Wise Woman, your tales of this Peace-Bringer are true. Indeed, He has come already!”
This spread quickly, as words of this sort do, and soon there was quite a crowd under the Bengow tree.
“Where is He?”
“When will He come here?”
The stranger settled down. “The Peace-Bringer came to this world many years ago. He was God’s Son, but He came in the form of a man. The people had waited for Him to bring peace, just as you have waited. But when He came they despised Him, hated Him. You see, the Peace-Bringer did not save the people from their enemies.”
The crowd murmured.
“He did something greater by offering them peace within their hearts. Even today He offers a peaceful home in heaven for those who believe.”
Wanga Suru’s heart was not peaceful. It was bitter toward the Xika, bitter even toward herself and her own people, because they did not keep Xika from controlling them. “What must we believe?”
The man looked among the people. “God is holy and perfect. He wishes to give you peace and a home with Him. But He cannot accept anything that is not holy.” The man’s gaze met Wanga Suru’s. “Are you holy, Wise Woman?”
These words crushed Wanga Suru. Of course peace was not something mortals could have. She let the vines fall from her fingers. “No. I am not worthy.”
There was a stunned silence. Was this then, Pasah life? To hate the Xika? To have their children live in fear of being stolen away?
The man continued. “We deserve to live in war. We have done bad, and there is only one thing left for us--bitter, eternal death.”
It was Bea who spoke up. “But you have said the Peace-Bringer still offers peace. What must we do?”
The man smiled. “Yes, little one, you understand. You see, God has great love for us. So He sent His son, the Peace-Bringer, to take that bitter death for us.”
The crowd was silent. Not even the Vine-Weaver’s fingers moved.
“I have told you that the people hated the Peace-Bringer. Indeed, they killed Him in an awful death. But the Peace-Bringer was the Son of God. He rose from the dead--ending death and offering peace! Now you do not have to be bitter. You can believe in God and His Son, and have peace, now in your hearts, and forever in heaven.”
The people chattered. Wanga Suru leaned toward him. “What of the Xika?”
“Perhaps the Xika will receive this peace, also. Or perhaps God will give you the strength to overcome them. Or,” the man looked solemn. “Perhaps He will only give you the strength to trust Him, despite the Xika.”
The man waited. Wanga Suru considered this. “It is enough.” She would have peace.
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