Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cyrene cont.

As the soldier gave the criminal a kick a sickly gasp came from the condemned throat and he fell down again on his death walk. The man from Cyrene picked up the cross-piece and his eyes took in the evidence of the guards cruelty. Strands of hair were stuck in the fibers of the wood and blood had seeped into the wood as well. As he picked up the cross-piece the condemned man's eyes again caught his. As he looked into his eyes he was astonished at the gaze coming from the criminal. His eyes weren't glaring, they weren't squinted, they were eyes filled with a sense of sadness. Not a sadness that would be a self-pity. More of a sadness of soul. As the Cyrene drew close he thought he heard the man speaking. It sounded as if the poor wretch was whispering something about Jerusalem and how he wanted to gather her like a hen does her chicks. The Cyrene dismissed the babbling as that of a man ready to die.

As they neared the gate the crowd grew louder and some began to curse and spit on the still stumbling criminal heading to the death hill. For the Cyrene the next minutes seemed to drag on as he followed the lead of the soldiers. He had no idea where he was heading, he just followed the soldiers and watched the crowd. Soon he could tell where he was, not by remembrance but by the stench that was filling the air. The smell of garbage and human waste was almost overpowering as the death procession moved on. The soldiers moved up a small footpath to an area that looked barren and covered in stones. A few soldiers were waiting for at the site for the condemned to arrive. The Cyrene had witnessed more than his share of death and horror but what awaited him and the criminal was beyond description.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cyrene cont.

As the eyes of the condemned man caught his he stepped back against the stone wall behind him. The man on his way to die tried to get up and he fell again. As the whip was about to fly a guard told the bearer of the flagellum to stop. The guard stepped towards the Cyrene and with his right hand on his gladius he ordered the Cyrene to carry the cross bar of the criminal. The Cyrene felt the muscles in his throat tighten and his arm grew tense as he thought again of the dagger in his cloak. O how he hated the men around him, how he thought day and night of plunging a sword into any Roman soldiers uniform.

Two guards grabbed the Cyrene and pushed him out into the street. He knelt down next to the criminal and was repulsed by the visage of the man. A crown had been made of a crude vine and some of the long thorns were buried in his scalp and forehead. The skin on his forehead bulged from the thorns and one protruded through his skin and out just above the poor wretches left eye. That eye was swollen closed and covered in blood except where small droplets of sweat ran down his face. The man's beard was matted by the dried blood that seemed to paste hair together in tangles. As the Cyrene reached for the cross bar the condemned man's hair was entangled in the knots and splits of the wood. As the Cyrene hesitated and tried to untangle the hair in the cross bar the closest guard gave the condemned a kick.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Cyrene cont.

The man from Cyrene pushed and shoved his way through the crowd that was lining the street. The cheering and shouting voices could be heard down almost every side street. He heard a man yelling that the guards were going to execute a Nazarene guilty of insurrection. Finding his way to the edge of the stone street he could clearly see the figure of a man. As the Cyrene stood on the side of the road the Roman guards came close to him. Almost instantly his hand brushed the side of his robe. His small knife was at his side. His thought was the thought of a fool, sacrifice his life for the life of only one soldier. No, he would wait until the right time.

The man being pushed along the road looked like a person drenched in misery and pain. As he came close to the Cyrene he fell on the road. As fast as a man can blink his eye the whip was flying and determined to tear more flesh from the condemned man. The soldier with the whip was laughing as he yelled, "Get up and walk O great king". And with his sneer and laugh the whip flew through the air the second time. The poor wretch stumbled to his feet, his knees were red and scratched from the road, blood ran down the backs of his legs, seeping from the flesh on his back that was hanging in ribbons. After one or two staggering attempts at walking the poor soul was down on the road again. And again the whip flew and as it snapped across the condemned man he gasped. As he did he turned his head and looked into the eyes of the Cyrene.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Calling my soul.

I am having a very hard time finding my place in the vineyard. I have been set aside for almost four years yet the burden and pain of my calling remains. God laid a burden on me to preach and to teach the gospel. The call of God is not rescinded because of my limitations, yet I can not sense from Him where I am to fit. I wrote this psalm yesterday in the worship service.

O Lord where is your voice?
Where is the voice my ear needs to hear?
My soul longs for the impress of your Spirit.
O lord how long must I wait for you?
Even though my body is not young,
or as strong as in my youth, my spirit needs
to again find its place in your vineyard.
O Lord make me not wait much longer
lest my soul shrivel and die.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Poem "High Flight" RAF pilot John MaGee

Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter silvered wings.
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun split clouds and done a hundred things you have not dreamed of.

Wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence. Hovering there, I've chased the shouting wind along and flung my eager craft thru footless halls of air.

Up, Up the long delirious burning blue I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace where never Lark or even Eagle flew.

And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space. Put out my hand and touched the Face of God.

Pilot MaGee composed the poem beginning at thirty thousand feet and had it complete before he touched down. It was written on an envelope. He died later in a training accident.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

man cont.

The hand forged iron bar shackle was forced around the wrists of Barrabus. With his hands held fast and a lance held against his back the leader of the zealots was led to the dungeon used by the Romans. Even as they approached the entrance the stench of the dungeons was overpowering. The mixture of burning oil in the lamps, the dampness of the dark pit-like cells and human waste was almost more than the guards could stomach. The soldier with the lance against Barrabus' back led him to the jailer. Within thirty paces the jailer and the guard pushed Barrabus through the entrance and he fell headlong the six to eight cubits to the bottom of the cell.

The man from Cyrene stayed outside the gate of the city. He was going to listen to the talk of the men and carefully determine who he should talk to. For three days he milled about listening to the talk. Men from all over the land were gathered in Jerusalem. With the coming Passover the city was bustling with people and he seemed to blend in with the crowds. He knew that most of the talk took place outside the gate as groups of men would talk of life. They talked about the Romans, the Jewish leaders and how corrupt the powers of the city were.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Man cont.

With the final stone placed to protect his wife Simon from Cyrene turns his back on the village that now is just the place of death and a growing hatred. Leaving the village and heading east he vows to kill every Roman soldier he can or die in the battle. On he walked facing the sunrise and walking until the sun set at his back. As he walked he couldn't get the images of his wife out of his mind. For hours he would relive their life and then the hatred would grow hot like a fire. His hatred became his food and he pushed on beyond strength. He walked for days until he crossed the great river and then began the journey to the northeast, to Jerusalem, to the Zealots, to revenge, to death and to finally find peace.

The kick from the soldiers boot splintered the flimsy door. In a moment the squad of soldiers were in the house with swords at the ready in their right hands and the small attack shields in their left hand covering their left shoulder and neck. Two of the men in the house were taken by surprise and before they could raise their crude weapons the blades of the soldiers found their mark. As quickly as they entered the house they found the man that an informant told them about, Barabbas. They knew that he had been forming the Zealots into a fighting group of men but they had never been able to get their hands on him. The promise of gold or silver has a way of making men talk, even men who say they hate the Romans.