Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: GATHERING (07/14/16)
- TITLE: Provisions
By Dennis Gallemore
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I remember it as if it happened only yesterday, even though forty long years have since passed. I was a child then, both in body and in heart, with my entire life ahead. It was not a life I looked forward to. My family was poor, as was every family I knew. I was both my parents' only son, and only surviving child. I would have had, my parents told me, two older sisters, had they not both died within days of arriving in the world. Like so many other parents, mine grieved, then moved on, not understanding why, but still praising Jehovah.
Driven more by love for my father and mother than by survival, I helped my parents as much as I could. I spent most of my time as a child helping with planting, cultivating, and harvesting our meager supply of vegetables and fruit. The work was hard, but Mother and Father made it enjoyable by making simple games out of the chores. We often sang songs, and, occasionally, visiting neighbors would join in.
I was allowed, from time to time, to venture off by myself a short distance from my home to gather wild berries, herbs, and fruit. A simple task became, for a young boy, an exciting adventure. I would often return, after only an hour or two, with a basket full of nature's bounty.
One summer day, Mother asked if I would like to join her in gathering baskets of wild grapes. I consented, anxious for a reprieve from the hot, dusty work of pulling weeds from our garden. Baskets in hand, we walked down the path that led away from our home.
Mother liked to speak of people who lived around our home in Galilee, and she spoke of many that day, but I only remember one, Jesus of Nazareth. "Some," she said, "Believe that He is John the Baptist, others Elijah, but many, including your father and me, say that He is the Messiah, sent by Jehovah, to save us."
"Have you seen Him?" I asked Mother.
"No, son, I have not, but I, and your father, would very much like to."
Turning off the path, we came upon a thicket, entwined with wild grape vines. Setting our baskets down, we picked and placed the grapes into Mother's basket. Within a short time, we filled her basket with the small, but juicy morsels.
Mother, hands on hips, surveyed the wild grape vines. "Son, now that we have a basket of grapes, let's fill the other basket with the leaves of the grape vine. We can make a nice salad of them for dinner this evening."
Mother and I spun to see, standing upon the path, a man. Smiling, He watched us with piercing blue eyes. "A glorious day to be gathering provisions; the grapes appear to be ripe for harvest."
Mother stepped closer to the mysterious man, seemingly drawn toward Him. Surprised, I hesitated; bandits were not unheard of, and I wondered how Mother seemed to instantly trust Him.
She glanced back at me. "There is no need to be cautious, my son." She turned back to the man. "I have not seen you, but I have heard a great deal about you. You are Jesus of Nazareth, are you not?"
He nodded, His smile growing broader. "I am."
Turning, Mother beckoned to me. "Come, son of mine, and meet the Messiah!"
Not knowing what else to do, I stepped forward and bowed. "Messiah; what are you doing on this path?"
He laughed. "The same as you are, my young friend. I am gathering!"
I frowned. "I see no basket, Messiah; what are you gathering?"
Mother gasped. "Son, do not question the Messiah in such a manner!" "Messiah, please forgive him; he is young; he did not mean to be rude!"
Shaking His head, He held up a hand. "There is nothing to forgive." "I am a shepherd, the Shepherd; and I am gathering my flock! I will walk upon this earth for but a very short time, and, when that time is ended, I will go to be with my Father, where I will wait at His side for my sheep to come home! Where, someday, you will find no poverty, no sickness; only joy!"
Pulling me down beside her, Mother sank to her knees. "You are the Son of God!"
"I am. Rise now, and go tell others; tell them, the Gathering has begun!"
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