Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Home (01/09/06)
TITLE: Turning Point
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Strains of exuberant Eastern music waft down into the field, having an immediate alluring effect on the young man’s soul. Hmmm, I don’t remember father mentioning there was to be a party this evening!? Discarding the hand plow, he hurries in from his back-breaking toil to investigate the cause of the impromptu celebration.
Stepping up towards the house he discovers that an honoured guest has arrived from Joppa, and his father Peniel, has slaughtered the fattened-calf for the festivities. Although initially ruffled by the sudden intrusion of the visitor’s unannounced arrival, the laughter and joy of family and guests quickly engages him.
Entering the house, servants rush to adorn him in the most magnificent robe he has ever seen. Where did father get this from? Sandals soiled from the labour of the field are deftly removed and his feet tenderly washed, then re-shod with sandals bedecked with costly jewels. Taking his calloused hands, servants proceed to decorate his fingers with golden rings.
Swiftly, but politely, the servants distribute their culinary wares, lavishly prepared delicacies fit for a king. Musicians skillfully play, aptly reflecting the joyful mood of the occasion. Dazzling colours, both dyed and embroidered on the guests' exquisite clothing, reveal the visitor’s importance.
Taking a wine goblet from a passing servant, the young man pauses to draw in the aromatic fragrance. Hmm, perfect colour, perfect fragrance, a masterful blend indeed! Pleased with his father’s choice of wine, he takes a sip, then allows the delicious liquid to linger on his tongue before swallowing it, his stomach and chest instantly warming with the greatly desirable burning sensation.
Suddenly, the young man becomes aware of an irritation on his leg and reaches down to soothe the demanding itch ...
Startled, Jered awoke abruptly from his captivating dream. Running his hand down his leg to the source of his skin’s irritation, he discovered pig-slops from the morning feeding frenzy splashed over his leg. One of the pigs had left its wallowing in the mud to follow the scent of food to the sleeping man. Sickened by the despised creature’s feasting from his leg, Jered recoiled in disgust, violently repulsing the shameless pig.
Standing to his feet, Jered’s heart ached with crushing sadness. The vivid dream portraying his home, rushed through his troubled mind, scene by scene. The impact so profound that hot tears squeezed from the corner of his eyes, carving a stream through his filth-encrusted face. A deep pang of longing struck his soul, the painful truth piercing his heart as if a sword had passed him through.
The course of his downfall paraded through Jered’s rueful memory ... the compulsive passion that possessed him to live lavishly in exotic ports and explore wondrous foreign lands ... to be adorned in fashionable clothing and to mix with the rich and influential ... to leave behind forever the bone-wearing labours of the field ...
Contemplating the sorrow of his father and the bitter anger of his brother Uri, as he left for his foolish conquest, brought a fresh gush of tears. Slumping to the ground in utter defeat, Jered buried his head in his soiled hands and howled in abject despair and regret.
“Oh God! What have I done? Look at what’s become of me!” The gravity and bitterness of his misdemeanor threatened to engulf his soul. Sobs of repentance racked his body.
Exhausted with his wretched existence, washed out emotionally and stripped of dignity, Jered finally faced the self-inflicted misery fashioned by his own impulsive desires. He cried out in agonized prayer for a solution. Perhaps, Yahweh will hear my cry! Suddenly, scenes from the dream again returned to his mind. “Home! Yes! I must return home, no matter what the consequences,’ he cried with overwhelming desperation for his father’s embrace and the familiarity of home.
“How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death and a servant to stinking pigs! I will go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men,” Jered whimpered in anguish.
The wisdom of righteousness seized Jered, compelling him with new resolve. A turning point in his young life, getting home now demanded his full attention. Without a parting glance, Jered turned his back on Syria, embarking on his homeward journey ... to his father in Bethsaida.
Luke 15:11-27. NIV. An adaptation of the ‘Prodical Son’.
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