Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Vote/Voted off the Island (05/29/14)
- TITLE: "I Vote for Milk and Cookies"
By Phillip Cimei
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Huddled together, John could feel his children shivering like puppies separated from their mother. He looked down at them and said, “You will do fine.” They didn't care if they did fine. They were children. They weren't old enough to understand. Why did they have to be here today?
The crowd was getting agitated. Growing restless, the fanatical crowd screamed obscenities at the main performers. The crowd didn't care that they trained long and hard and were sacrificing their bodies to the gods of entertainment . It was their obligation to serve these connoisseurs of the sport a delectable meal.
“Tear his head off,” cried one; “kill 'em,” screamed another.
Carmella gazed at the men on the field. They are working the crowd into a frenzy. The boos for one side and the screams of victory for the other rang in Carmella's ears. Oh how she longed for her quiet home. She would rather be baking bread or passively sitting by the fireplace with her little ones cuddled up to her side singing praises to God.
John wanted to be with his brethren. It was Sunday, and he felt that he should be communing with the saints and with Jesus. Not on this day. God will understand.
“Alright, you're up next,” came the words they were expecting.
The children cried out, “I want to go home.” They nestled up close to their mother.
Carmella knelt down and with the calming tone of a bedtime story said, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deut.31:6NIV
Carmella wrestled with her own fears but obtained comfort from John's pastoral face. His prayers wrapped around her like a warm breeze on this chilly October day. His words clothed her with heavenly valor.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them,” prayed John. Rom.12:14ESV
The family was shoved onto the field.
The hungry faces of the crowd now focused on them. No, they weren't the main course, but John and his family would be the Tiramisu of this banquet.
“Let's go you filthy Christians. It's your turn,” came the command.
“Kill the Christians, “ came the shouts. “feed them to the lions,” screamed others. Their faces twisted and contorted with hate, vomiting out the words with contempt and scorn.
This was Circus Maximus. Chariot races and gladiator fights were the main course, but the execution of thieves, lowly slaves, and now the despised Christians became a delicacy for these connoisseurs of debauchery.
This family would not give them the pleasure of screaming for mercy, cursing God or pleading for a vote that would spare their lives. They already appeared before a counsel that tried to suck their faith out of them with threats of martyrdom. They knew that they might be wrapped in animal skins and thrown to the lions or wild dogs. Will it be the crucifixion, stoning, or being burned at the cross today?
They scoffed at the thought that the majority would become intoxicated with the desecration of their bodies. With heads held high, they would feed these lost soul's with calmness, strength and unwavering faith.
“Father forgive them,” graced their lips, and “happy are you when you are persecuted for my names sake,” reassured their hearts.
Their performance was impelling. Some in the crowd went home changed forever. Some would ask the question a Chinese executioner asked many years later, “I have seem many of you die. Christians die differently. What is there secret?”
The pain is gone now, the stadium is quiet. The stillness is broken by angels singing songs of praise.
The children looked at their parents as they were being gently carried to heaven and asked, “How did we do?”
“You did fine,” said John.
“Can we go home now and have some milk and cookies?
The angels looked at each other, laughed, and said, “I don't know, let's take a vote.”
“Its unanimous,” they said, “thumbs up for milk and cookies!”
Votes from heaven always leave a good taste in your mouth, and a smile on your face.
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