Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: FEAST (07/12/18)
TITLE: The Quest
By Terry R A Eissfeldt
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You retreat from the odours drifting through the gate: pots of boiling meat, sweet manure stained streets and jasmine blossoms shivering in the slight breeze. With a sigh, not of despair but of resolve, you turn to face another cold night on the ground.
You find a spot close to the gate but a little to the left in the shadows. After unburdening yourself from the few possessions slung to your back tied up in a woollen blanket, you set up for the night. You arrange the blanket over rocky cold ground, a cloak wraps around your too thin frame, and the last crust of bread and small cask of spring water is ceremoniously set before your hungry eyes.
Gazing up at the few visible twilight stars you pray.
“Father of all mercies, I give Thee thanks for leading me here in safety. I look to You for the night guard. I trust in You for the dawn. I thank Thee for the banquet set before me. Amen.”
You pray from your spirit, not from rote, not from the official prayer book or to the official god. It is why you fled. It is why you are alone tonight. Freedom called and you answered.
You pick up the dried crust and hold it between your teeth. You don’t bite. It would crumble. Instead you let saliva soak into the bread as you let your imagination rise.
The first course is duck liver cooked tender wrapped in grape leaves and buried in the coals of a hot fire. Fine black pepper and marjoram mixed in tender bread crumbs with olive oil stuff the liver. A perfect bite to whet the appetite. You swallow with pleasure.
The next course is pork belly. Apples, cinnamon and sage, cooked down to a paste, slather the pork creating a sensuous combination of sweet and savoury.
You swallow a small amount of spring water to clear your palate.
The main course awaits. Roast peacock with wild turnips and carrots. The bird is presented as whole carried in on a pure gold tray. The famous feathers stand up in a multi-coloured fan. The turnips and carrots surrounding the perfectly roasted meat. Your mouth is watering as you slowly chew and savour the layers of taste. Truly you are blessed!
Another sip of refreshing water ends your feast. You carefully wrap the half piece of crust up and slip it into your tunic. It crumples against a piece of parchment. Carefully you finger the paper and slowly open it under the moonlit sky. It is frail and torn. Whole sections are missing. It is your most prized possession.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus….I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity…I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
So few words yet they fill you with hope and strength, enough to sustain your dangerous flight. You know there are others, beyond the wall, who also possess pieces of parchment. You dream of reading the entire ancient letter. Truly that would be a lavish meal for the spirit.
As you lay your head on the ground a child’s voice is carried on the night air. She is singing.
“Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is right, whatever is pure. Dwell on these things.”
Sleep comes like a gentle kiss. Tomorrow, at day break, you enter the city.
Philippians 4:6-13 (not all) New American Standard Version
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