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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)

TITLE: Among the Ancient
By Chely Roach


The air carries a familiar scent, and I gaze up to the sky. The expanse above me is adorned in shades of hyacinth; the horizon beyond the city is framed by bulging white clouds, towering to the precipice of heaven itself.

The hour is surely near…

Though I tremble in anticipation of His arrival, I am just a fragment of the remnant who witnessed His departure. From this very garden—in the shade of the Mount of Olives—I watched Him go up to the clouds like a bird on the wind; the angels told us He would come again.

This I believe…

I was so young then; barely mature enough to provide fruit; my silvery leaves offering a paltry canopy of shade; a mere sapling in a garden grove of ancients; a shoot from one who had seen the days of David. Unworthy of His presence. Yet He chose me. He often knelt beneath my branches to pray. His back leaned against my already gnarled trunk as He taught His followers. I can still feel Him resting between my exposed roots.

He was truly God among us…

They laid their garments on the ground before Him, bowing down with palm branches in hand. Not a stallion did He ride, but a humble donkey. As He rode over the Mount, and past me in the garden, they worshipped Him as their king—their Messiah. Hosanna.

Scorned by the ones he came to save…

With glints of moonlight gracing the garden path, he laid prostrate on the rocky soil beneath me. He cried out to His Father; he spoke of a terrible cup—a cup of wrath—and prayed for it to pass over Him. Above that, He prayed for the Father’s will to be done. The soil is still tinged by the blood of His sweat. I yearned for lightning to strike me down so that I might crush those who came to take Him away.

The unblemished Lamb of God…

When the cup was poured out on Him—over and beyond on that dreaded hill of the skull—the foot of this holy hill felt the chill of darkness instead of the warmth of the sun; this garden shuddered in unison with all of creation. The ripe olives fell from my branches in mourning; the wind whined a dirge through my leaves. It was finished.

Sacrificed for the sins of the world…

But death held no power over Him; on the third day the tomb was empty; the shroud fell limp and vacant on the cold stone. He is risen.

He is risen, indeed…

And now I am an ancient myself. I can still hear His words being carried down the gentle mountain slope; He once foretold to His flock that this Holy City would crumble and fall. Yea, hardly a single temple stone was left in place, and the soldiers decimated this Garden of Gethsemane—we were trampled as the spoils of war. Though singed and scarred, I somehow survived. I survived to see many more wars and rumors of war; plagues and famines; earthquakes and great sorrows.

Come quickly, eternal Temple…

So as the last glimpses of twilight illuminate the clouds in shades of crimson, I search them earnestly for His familiar face; His hair blinding white like new wool; His feet like fiery brass. He will set His foot down above me on the Mount of Olives, splitting this holy hill in two. Every knee shall bow; every tongue shall confess. The rocks will cry out in praise, and the trees of the field will clap their hands. New Jerusalem will descend from the heavens in all its glory.

Oh, Ancient of Days, come restore Your Garden …

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This article has been read 1551 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 04/09/09
Lovely, and that last line a crown.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/09/09
You've created a beautiful tribute to our Lord...just right for this Easter week.
Jan Ackerson 04/10/09
As much as I usually dislike anthropomorphism, I LOVE this! Gorgeous, gorgeous writing, and it should be done as a responsive reading this Sunday!
Beth LaBuff 04/12/09
Your writing is so powerful. I appreciate the theology combined with beautiful descriptive scenes. This gave me chills, "The ripe olives fell from my branches in mourning; the wind whined a dirge through my leaves. It was finished."
Glynis Becker04/13/09
Gripping! I loved the words and descriptions, every line was perfection. Fantastic piece.
Sonya Leigh04/13/09
This makes me yearn for His return. Thank you for blessing us in bringing the holy garden to life.
Bryan Ridenour04/13/09
Awesome entry! As already stated, perfect for the week of Easter!
Karlene Jacobsen04/15/09
You made me want to stand up and shout HALELLUJAH! Even so Come Lord Jesus!

This was so beautifully written. All creation groans in anticipation of HIS return, and you showed this ancient tree is excited.
Mona Purvis04/15/09
In awe of your writing, this simply swept me away. So beautiful from the heart of the POV (tree). Thank you.
Beckie Stewart04/15/09
Oh what a day it will be indeed when He returns for us, His bride. Like the way you wrote this. Well done and kept me from beginning to end.
Betty Castleberry04/15/09
Out of the box and wonderfully done. Both thumbs up.
LauraLee Shaw04/16/09
Wowzer, this is powerful writing. Masterful.
Sonya Leigh04/16/09
Congratulations!!!! What a marvelous piece; what a marvelous win!!!!!
Laury Hubrich 04/16/09
This is so powerful. Congratulations. Awesome writing.
Shirley McClay 04/16/09
Oh my goodness. This gave me chills. What an awesome choice of writing for this past week. Beautiful.
Janice Fitzpatrick04/16/09
Praise God for his promise of CHrist's return! This is one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever read where the narration is done by something other than a person. What promise and message of hope and expectation. Oh that we may have the same exuberance and not get caught up in this life but keep our eyes set on Jesus and our arms stretched in surrender to the almighty. Thank you so much for listening the Lord and letting Him write this through you. What a gorgeous story!!:0)
Myrna Noyes04/16/09
CONGRATULATIONS on your richly deserved 1st Place EC!! What a lovely piece filled with holy longing! :)
Regina Rupert04/16/09
You had me laughing at every line. . .and concurrently just a bit discomfited by your all-too-apt imagery of the roller-coaster beast (those things aren't my favorites, either.) Wonderful--thanks for sharing this!
Regina Rupert04/16/09
Oh gosh, how embarrassing. I left my comment on another entry on your piece. Here is the correct comment:
I loved this. What a creative choice for the narrator, not to mention beautiful writing with scriptures skillfully woven in. Congratulations on your first-place EC. (And again, I'm sorry for my mistake--please forgive me!)
Joshua Janoski04/16/09
A truly awesome piece. I hope you read it to others for Easter. My hope is that someday I can be as good of a writer as you are, Michele. Much of your writing leaves me floored.
Eliza Evans 04/16/09
What Joshua said.

HUUUUUUGE and Well Deserved Congratulations, Michele! :)

Exquisite piece of writing.
Beth LaBuff 04/16/09
Awesome! Congrats on your 1st place EC!!!
Jim McWhinnie 04/16/09

Exquisite rendition of solid Biblical material and written with such skill and sensitivity.

Charla Diehl 04/16/09
Creative and beautiful retelling of the Passion of Christ. Congrats on your deserved win.
Karen Wilber04/19/09
Wow. This is breathtaking--rich and vivid. Beautiful Easter meditation. Richly deserved EC.