MONDAY, 4:35 PM:
Eleven-year-old Rebekah bounces into the room where I sit at our family's computer station. "What's your assigned topic this week, Mom?" she asks.
"Willingness, huh? You got any ideas?"
"Maybe. I'm doing Bible research."
"You should write about a donkey."
TUESDAY, 7:05 PM:
"Have a story yet, Mom?"
"Almost -- I'm researching: it's about a lamb."
"Oh. A donkey would be better."
"But donkeys don't symbolize willingness: lambs do."
"It's your story," Rebekah says, shrugging.
WEDNESDAY, 3:37 PM:
"It's gonna be great, Rebekah. There's this family from the city that has to move back to the country, to the family ranch. The son, Ross -- he raises a bum lamb. . . ."
"A bum lamb. That's what you call orphaned lambs -- I did research."
"It's bad enough to lose your parents, but that doesn't make you a bum!" Rebekah complains.
"Never mind, just wait till you read it."
THURSDAY, 6:38 PM:
Rebekah hands back my story. "I hate it, Mom -- it gives me the creeps! You can't start out by killing the lamb: 'Jed hung lifeless; head down, suspended on a rod strung through his legs. Margo's husband and widowed father-in-law stood behind Jed's body, with knives in their bloodstained hands. Beyond them, Margo could see her son, Ross, approaching from the vineyard. Had he seen?' Knives and bloodstained hands? BLOODSTAINED? I'm gonna have nightmares!"
"I did that deliberately; it ties in later. You know, Jesus, the Lamb of God who willingly spilled His blood so that we might live?"
"I don't care -- I think it's awful!" Rebekah wails.
"Never mind, Rebekah. Get Danny: I need a second opinion."
My fourteen-year-old son reads carefully, staring at me long and hard at the end. "Is this family Jewish?"
"No: why do you ask?"
"Otherwise, I don't see why they need to kill Ross's lamb. It's his PET!"
"It doesn't work to make them Jewish," I answer. "You look perplexed, Danny. Lambs aren't eaten for Passover anymore, not without the temple for ceremonial sacrifice -- I did research!"
"Do the donkey, Mom," Rebekah whispers.
FRIDAY, 2:21 PM:
I'm beginning to panic. What do kids know, anyway? "Read it again, Rebekah." The message sizzles in two winner paragraphs, when Eli, the father-in-law, explains to his son's city-bred wife, Margo, the need for the lamb:
"'On Easter we make Rosie's recipe; that means lamb, roasted with sea salt and freshly milled pepper, with garlic, mint, and coriander -- in remembrance of Jesus' sacrifice. We raise our own lamb; God didn't ask a stranger to die for us, and neither do we. At serving time, we drizzle parsley juice over all: the lamb, roasted potatoes, carrots, and parsnips heaped on a platter. Pastor Price says that roasting speaks of judgment for sin: our sin. And the bitter parsley -- that speaks of the bitterness of the cross, and experiences like this after receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior. Living for Jesus ain't no egg hunt, you know.'
"'I guess not,' Margo answered.
"'God the Father invited us all to His banquet, Margo. Jesus offered to be the main course, but some people, including you, are offended by His offering. 'Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life,' Jesus said (John 6:54 NIV). Jesus is a willing giver, and He has the right to offer the gift. But here's the hitch: His gift don't mean squat unless you take it. You got to be willing! But when you add His willingness to yours, gal -- you got yourself a miracle.'"
I smile at Rebekah. "Isn't it wonderful? Both Margo and Ross get saved, and everyone lives happily ever after."
"Sure, Mom: except the lamb." There's that look again.
SATURDAY 11:48 AM:
"Rebekah -- Did I tell you the story about the pig and the chicken?"
"Well, a pig and a chicken observe a family preparing for a banquet. Caught up with excitement, the pig suggests they each offer something for the feast. 'Fantastic!' the chicken replies. 'I know just the thing -- ham and eggs!'
"'Easy for you!' protests the pig, 'But I ain't willing to make a total commitment!'"
Danny walks by, giving the "thumbs down" signal. I scowl at him.
SUNDAY 8:58 PM:
I'm caught staring at the monitor again. "Why don't you just write about the donkey, Mom?" Rebekah prods delicately.
"BECAUSE I'M NOT WILLING: THAT'S WHY!!!" Glaring at FaithWriter's preview, I close it and click "Submit".
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