Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: FERHOODLE (confuse or mix-up) (03/03/16)
TITLE: Veil of Sorrow - Fragrance of Life
By Loni Bowden-Horn
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A veil covered the lower half of her face. Mary’s olive-skinned complexion shimmered. Her long black tresses swept over her shoulders.
Sleep had not come easily for Mary over the past several days. Whenever she closed her eyes, she saw his piercing eyes stare at her from the cross; whenever she covered her ears, she heard the sounds of him gasping for breath.
Mary would have preferred to remain curled up in bed; rather than face the harsh realities of the upcoming day. Her eyelids were puffy and nearly swollen shut. She had a throbbing headache that had not abated after taking the powdery medicine.
After she had gotten up and dressed, Mary crossed the courtyard to gather with the other women who would be accompanying her on the long walk to the tomb.
In keeping with Jewish tradition, the sweet spices and ointments the women had purchased would be used to anoint his body. Spices and flowers would be tucked in between the layers of the linen shroud to offset the odor of the decaying body.
Inhaling the spices brought back memories of Golgotha. Sorrow washed over Mary like a tidal wave. She recalled kneeling beside him to tend to his wounds after he was removed from the cross. His face was disfigured and swollen. Blood trickled down his brow in rivulets from the crown of thorns pressed into his skull. Long ribbons of flesh hung from his back. Scars began to form around the nail holes in his hands.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus picked up the body and carried him to a tomb that had been carved out of a slope of limestone. A circular millstone rested on a trough until the stone was needed to seal the entrance.
The four men grunted as they rolled the stone until it wedged into place with a loud clang.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Joanna’s voice, “How are we going to move that stone?
As they neared the garden, a tremor shook the ground, followed by a violent quake. Mary held on to the other women until the earth settled.
When the women reached the tomb, they noticed the stone had been rolled away. They stooped down as they entered the crypt.
Mary cried out—the stone slab was empty. The grave clothes had been tossed aside. Was she mistaken? Had she gone to the wrong tomb? No. These were the same linen fabrics she had wrapped around the body.
“Mary—Salome’s voice trembled, “Where is the body?”
“I don’t know.”
Had there been some type of mix-up? Had the body been moved or taken?
Mary raced out of the tomb in a panic, leaving the other women behind her.
Her eyes blurred with tears as she raced to find John and Paul the disciples.
When she found them at a nearby inn, her words tumbled out, “They have taken the Lord’s body. I can’t find it.”
John and Paul hurried on ahead, leaving her to trail them with her wobbling legs.
By the time Mary arrived at the tomb, the disciples had come and gone.
With a sliver of hope remaining, Mary looked in the tomb. She was startled by two men in white garments—a brilliant light filled the room.
“Why have you been weeping?”
“Because they have taken my Lord away, and I can’t find his body.”
She turned her head as she followed the gaze of the stranger. A man emerged from a cluster of shrubbery that was laced with brocades of Lilly of the Valley and Rose of Sharon.
Mary mistook the man for a gardener. “Sir, if you moved the body, tell me where it is and I will be on my way.”
The man stepped out from behind the shadows. “Mary—Mary Magdalene”
The voice of Jesus filled her soul like a fragrant perfume. She fell at his feet and wept.
The odor of death had not overcome Him. His sweet smell of love was the victor. Jesus was the preserver of her life.
He was alive!
Mary breathed in the incense of Jesus Christ who triumphed at the cross.
She couldn’t imagine it. Jesus first chose a mere woman to proclaim the message of the king.
2 Corinthians 2:16
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