Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)
- TITLE: A Plain Black Book
By Patrick Whalen
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Gate one was the first to fill with restless travelers, each trying diligently to find a seat of their own, separated as much as possible from the others who gathered there. The Bible remained unmoved throughout the course of the day. Several travelers glanced at it but seemed troubled at the thought of moving what might be someone else’s property in order to claim the seat. When the day of travel ended, the Bible lay there still and unopened.
The Bible in Gate two however had been picked up by one of the early morning travelers. The gate had filled to capacity with exception of the seat occupied by the plain black book. The crowd that had gathered gaped almost in awe as the late arrival dared to address them. He pointed to the book and glanced at the person sitting to the right, “Is this your Bible?” His response was a sullen shake of the head. The traveler on the left had her eyes trained studiously upon the pages of a tabloid magazine. Before a word could be uttered in question, she glanced warily upwards and explained, “That thing was here when I sat down. I don’t think it belongs to anyone here.” The traveler retrieved the book, claimed his seat and leafed through the pages. A call was made to board his flight and he placed the Bible in his pouch then disappeared down the passageway.
The third Bible was picked up immediately by the earliest traveler to Gate three. The man, dressed in freshly pressed suit and tie, hoped it was something he would consider worth reading before the long flight that lay ahead. He opened it intently to the first page but suddenly realized instead that not only was this book uninteresting to him but it actually insulted his intellect. He reached over and dumped the Bible into the trash. The warmth of daytime sun gave way once more to the cool dark of night.
The following morning, three new Bibles appeared at each gate. This time however, they sat not upon a cold and worn leather seat, but within the warm grasp of a student of the Word. As each gate filled with weary travelers, these brave souls dared to sit in the seats between the would-be passengers. Time and again an apparent unwritten code was broken as these strangers actually spoke with the travelers as they passed through the gates. “Good morning, have you heard of Jesus Christ?”
Most often those that spoke were received with cold, quiet stares and were intentionally ignored while being passed by. There were, however, occasions throughout the day when certain travelers seemed intrigued at the thought of breaking the silence for a pleasant conversation. The Bibles were opened and the words read aloud to those who would hear. By the end of the day all three Bibles had left the gates in the hands of travelers eager to learn more about the Jesus described within the black leather cover.
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