This verse has often sustained me when everything seems to go wrong
Photo by http://clairefuller.co.uk/
I am trying our a new challenge. In response to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Friday Fictioneers challenge for this week, I would like to submit the following story. It is based on a true story that I first found out about when I was doing the Alpha Course.
I am the only one left. Ten men were chosen. I was not one of them. Three prisoners had escaped Auschwitz so ten had to die by starvation in the underground bunker. Two weeks without food, without water. My last companion succumbed this morning. I am a priest. I held his hand. I gave him the last rights.
Why am I the last? Is it because I alone had a choice? When he was selected, Franciszek Gajowniczek cried out, “My wife! My children!”
I chose. I asked to die in his place as my Saviour did for me.
Recently we went to the South Coast on a family holiday. One morning we visited Hibberdene beach. It is a cosy beach with an area of grass leading up to it. During the holidays a number of beach vendors set up stalls, pancakes, beach wear, hats, fishing nets for children and the like. The most popular was the tattoo cubicle.
I grew up in the era where only sailors and ducktails had tattoos. It was certainly not the sort of thing that respectable people even considered. However, buoyed up by the holiday spirit, I decided to get a henna tattoo on my ankle. My son, daughter and grandchildren got one too – the girls on the ankle, the boys on their upper arm. I felt so daring. It was fun choosing our pictures. I went for a seahorse. The results were very encouraging. They looked just like real tattoos. I felt like a rebellious teenager. For a short time I had joined a culture that was outside my normal life. For all that, nothing would persuade me to get a real tattoo. I am not that committed. It is not me.
It got me to thinking. It is possible to be a henna tattoo Christian. You can’t tell by looking. You can hang out with the Christian crowd, learn the right phrases, even sing in the worship team but if the commitment is not there it will fade off after time.
We have been following the life of Joseph at our church. Yesterday we learned what characterised his life. He learned about God and his dealings with his father and grandfather at an early age. Then at 17 he was transported into another country where there was not one other believer. He was on his own. Yet his faith in the God of his fathers was enough to enable him to resist temptation when it was offered to him on a platter. Later when his brothers reappeared, he was able to forgive them from the heart. On his deathbed he asked that his bones be carried away because he believed God’s promise that He would deliver His people from Egypt. He was the real thing.
I am not sure how I would respond to the same challenges. Would I still be a Christian if I was the only one in a strange country, where there were no churches? Is my faith strong enough to enable me to resist strong temptations and to be able to forgive those who have wronged me?
Or am I just a henna tattoo Christian?
As part of Blogging 101, I am going to add a feature which will appear weekly. On considering my blog, its purpose and flavor, I have decided to add a scripture verse of the week every Monday. This will set the tone for the rest of the week. I am not going to make it complicated and time-consuming with added images or other embellishments because I would also like people to be able to reply with their verse of the week. A plain verse is fine but what it means to you is also fine. So here goes:
Verse for this week, particularly for bloggers who feel called to spread inspiration, encouragement and support. What you are sharing are seeds of life.
“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.”
In response to
True friend, heart tie, prayer mate
Faith dared, love shared, soul bared
Grief halved, load lightened
Recently I joined the South African Writer’s Circle. I entered my first competition at the end of July. The challenge was to write a travel article suitable for the Getaway Magazine.
I didn’t have a hope of winning or even being placed, of course, but the benefit is that you get constructive feedback by one of the judges. Mine pointed out that I tended to use cliches a lot and particularly highlighted the word “stunning”. Since then I have noticed how often I use that word and it robs it of its true meaning. Think of a stun gun. Being stunned is very powerful. To be stunned three times in one post is a bit of overkill. So my challenge for the week is to try to stay away from such cliche’s. If any of my blogging friends notice cliches in a post, particularly “stunning” Please point it out to me. (Do you think “overkill” is a cliche?)