Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Brown (11/26/09)
TITLE: THE CROSS
By Cornell Ngare
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He removes his right hand from under his cloak and pokes a finger into the brown sand. His nails dig into the earth like a hook, and then he starts to drag, drawing, doodling. Suddenly he realises why this action feels so familiar. He’s done this before. This wasn’t the first time he’s gotten his hands dirty. Yes, the last time he dug, he created the Grand Canyon. The last time he drew on earth, he brought into shape the earth’s amazing rivers and lakes. And most recently, he used a spit-and-mud paste to restore a blind man’s sight. He’s obviously done this before. But now, as his dirty fingers move across the earth, the only thing he gets is dirt under his nails. He is tempted to think that maybe that’s all his efforts have been, brown dirt under the nails. The miracles, the teachings, the signs, all of these seem in vain. The Pharisees are after his life and the guards are calling him crazy.
A slight commotion causes him to stop mid-doodle and raise his eye-brows, attentive. Muffled voices soon transcend into incoherent angry outbursts. A shuffling of feet and a thundering of voices fill up the courtyard. The crowd forms a semi-circle around Jesus. He raises his eyes slightly, just enough to see an array of feet. Sandaled feet, bare feet, smooth feet, cracked feet. From the left apex of the crowd, he scans the feet until the foot-parade is interrupted by strands of smooth, shiny, pitch black hair matting the brown ground. She is so feeble, so wide-eyed, so shaken. Christ’s eyes settle upon the crouched form of the condemned woman. That’s when an elderly voice distinguishes itself from the low murmurs;
“Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (John 8:4-5 NIV)
That’s when it hits him. Another instance where he had carved upon the face of the earth; that day on the mountain as he gave the laws to Moses, he had carved ten commandments on stone tablets, brown stone tablets. Slowly, his gaze falls from the accusing faces and back to the ground as his fingers do what they do best, carving, drawing, moulding. He senses their impatience, he can sniff their blood thirst, he is hoping that they will see their folly. But they don’t, they cant. So he speaks it out, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7 NIV).
One by one, the stones leave the accusers’ hands, but none of them lands on the accused woman, they all descend back to their origin, the hard brown earth. Thud, thud, thud, each thud is like a heartbeat. Heartbeats of redemption for the woman. Heartbeats of glory for the saviour. Heartbeats of hope for me and you. Reminding us that no sin we may have committed, is able to separate us from the love of God. Nothing, not even six feet of the dark and dreaded brown earth upon the grave.
The saviour continues to draw in the sand, and this time he knows the answer. This time he draws the answer. Upon the ground, between the feet of Christ, is the impression of an old-rugged-cross. The brown wooden cross.
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