Bible 2 Life, Uncategorized

A Unique Look at Holy Week part 1

This past weekend I had the privilege of going to Writers’ Weekend at the Beach in Ocean Park, Washington. I loved being able to network with the small group of writers, learn from my first critique sessions, and have time to write. One of the activities was a first hundred word contest. I started a story that I decided to share with you all. It will be a continued story spanning throughout this week and finishing on Resurrection Sunday! I hope it will give you a fresh look at Holy Week and maybe something to share with your family as you celebrate.

The young urchin inhaled the scent of myrtle wood. It reminded him of Momma. The thought of her always brought pain. He pushed the memories down and listened to the night sounds of frogs and locusts. Curling up to go to sleep under the boughs of the tree, an odd noise caught his attention. He peered out from the darkness. A group of men carrying torches marched by his hiding place. After they passed, he crawled out and followed them.

“What could they be after?” he wondered.

As the mob stopped, he scurried up a tree to see and not to be seen. The sight surprised him. The men had come to a halt in a clearing in the garden. Olive and myrtle trees gave way to grass. On the grass thirteen men stood. Several seemed to have just awakened from a nap, confusion registered on their faces, while the firelight flickered off their brown eyes. Several women huddled in a group off to the side. The boy couldn’t imagine what the mob wanted with so few men and women.

Movement caught his eye. A man dressed in a tunic with an overcoat stepped out of the crowd and walked forward. His steps showed purpose and familiarity with the area and the group waiting.

“Rabbi,” the man said, greeting one who stood in the center waiting almost as if he had expected his little party to be interrupted.

“Friend, do what you came to do,” the teacher replied.

His voice carried over the sound of the frogs in the distance, over the shuffling of the feet of the crowd, and through the glade. The young lad in the tree froze. He had heard that voice before once long ago. He had no opportunity to think of the memory for a sudden movement tore his attention back to the clearing. The crowd moved forward as one. The lead men seized the man with the gentle voice, turned him around, and held his hands behind his back. In the same instant, a short, burly man with dark curly hair bound forward drawing a dagger and swung at the other man’s head. The boy couldn’t see what happened, but the man with the kind voice turned around, reached out and touched the other’s ear. A collective gasp went up from those around the teacher.

“Shimon,” the voice that evoked memories in the urchin said for all to hear, “put your dagger away. Even now, I could ask Father and he would send messengers to rescue me.” The teacher turned to the crowd. “Every day, I was among you teaching, and you did nothing. But now you come at night with swords and sticks.”

The mob reacted instantly with more surrounding the teacher and grabbing him. The women and the teacher’s friends scattered into the garden. The boy sat in his tree unmoving. Fear coursed through his veins. If the crowd would take this respected teacher, what would they do with a homeless street kid? He watched from his perch as the men pushed the teacher in front of them out through the trees of the garden. Once the lights moved passed him and he could only hear the march of feet but not see them, he slid out of the tree and followed at a safe distance.

Questions swirled in his head much like flies buzzing around the meat market. Who would want to take the teacher? Why would they march him off? Where were they taking him? What about his friends? Had they all deserted him? As he contemplated these questions without answers, he moved silently, accustomed to sneaking around people and not being heard or seen.

“Achim,” he whispered to himself, “you’ve been in many scrapes in the past, but this one beats all.”

Look for the continuation of the story to come later this week. I’ll leave a link to it once it’s posted.

Fantasy at it’s best

What is fantasy? According to the book Children’s Literature Briefly by Tunell and Jacobs, there are six main motifs or elements to fantasy writing. The first and most important is magic or a violation of the physical laws of nature. From there a book can contain any of the other five: another world; good versus evil; heroism often with the hero leaving his home, going through various trials, and returning a more mature person; special character types; and fantastical objects. If a story contains all six, it is either a fairy tale or an example of modern high fantasy.

Janet Ursel‘s Disenchanted comes close to being an example of modern high fantasy. She has most of the elements of fantasy, from magicians, sorcerers, and witches to another world or even universe, to a definite good versus evil. Her hero goes through many trials where he becomes a much more mature character. There aren’t any special character types–everyone is some form of human–and there are no fantastical objects that I can remember. Here are my thoughts.

Disenchanted+by+Janet+UrselThree nations, three generations, three religions, two worlds collide in Disenchanted by Janet Ursel. At first I wondered what in the world all the different characters and story lines had to do with each other. As the story moved along, though my thoughts of a disjointed story changed to awe at the author who had pulled it all together. It was like looking at a tapestry up close and personal. All you can see are the individual threads. When you back away, you see the pattern. About three-fourths of the way through the book, I saw the pattern. Janet Ursel is a master weaver. Instead of threads, she uses words. Instead of a tapestry, she weaves a complex story of revenge, redemption, and love set in a different world. The epilogue introduces you to travelers who have arrived on a new world and are ready to set out to colonize it. Chapter one jumps ahead four hundred years. The story spans thirty-two years following the life of Blayn Goodwin. Welcome to a world of witches and magicians, wizards and wizardesses, black arts masters and kings. It is a world where multiple gods rule. The people are never sure if the gods will be satisfied or answer their prayers. Blayn finds a god he calls the sky god. His encounter on the beach reminded me of C.S. Lewis’ “joy”. Blayn searches until he is able to find the true name of this god who produces joy, peace, and confidence. When Blayn does find the truth, he must decide how much to give up to serve his new master. It has all the elements of fantasy: magic, heroism, a mentor, fantastical objects, other world and good versus evil. Come, welcome to Coventree, and join Blayn on his journey.

Go check it out! (Just click on the photo to go to amazon.) It is one of the best reads I have had this year.