Saturday, April 7, 2012

Letters From A Soldier

Author’s disclaimer – This is a fiction story. I just happen to think about what this soldier might have experienced and wrote a completely fictional story about it. I am not a Bible historian or any other thing like that, just a fiction writer.

Letters From A Soldier
To the followers of the man Jesus,

I am writing this letter in the hopes it will be kept in the upmost confidence. I am certainly under the belief, none of you owe me that respect, and completely understand if you were to turn this letter over to my commanding officer.
With that in mind, I have been under such dire duress since the day the man named Jesus was crucified I am willing to face any consequences to come, if only I may make clear to you what I discovered on that day.

I can still see his eyes.
After his scourging, in which he should have died from. We stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. Then we came up with the idea of making him a crown. It was a crown of thorns and we shoved it into his scalp.

It was my hands that made sure it was on tight.
Through the swollen, cut up skin on his face, our eyes connected and my heart flipped in my chest. I reeled back, away from the mocking and laughing. Never had I seen such eyes. I can only say instead of anger or retaliation there was compassion. I watched unable to enjoy the game any longer. I won’t tire you of the other hideous things done to him.

As we were walking up to Golgotha, for the crucifixions, Jesus could no longer carry his cross. I grabbed someone from the crowd to help him. His back looked like his skin had been shredded by lion’s.
I need to mention, through everything that happened to him, Jesus never cursed at us but remained silent.

When we threw the men down on the crosses, the other two criminals cursed and said vile things. He was silent. As I put the nail to his hand and hammered, his body writhed in pain, just before I moved to attach his feet through his swollen eyelids I saw something I had never seen before. I fell to my knees by his feet and forced myself to hammer the nail in. My heart pounded in my ears fast and hard, I’d never experienced anything like that before.
I thought and thought about what I saw, and how it bothered me so much, now I know it to be a look of pure innocence.

I won’t further distress you with the details of his horrible death, except to say I normally make a sport out of torturing and jeering, however, as I stood under his cross I couldn’t participate.  
I watched his mother and her friend with one of his followers. Her tears stirred my heart. I’ve never cared or had compassion before.

In saying all of this, I have not reached the most important part of my letter. As I stood guarding his cross, listening to people who passed by blaspheming him, the chief priest and scribes mocking him, Jesus spoke these words, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
I am a hard soldier with many responsibilities and no time for feelings or fear. At that moment my entire body went limp with a fear like I had never experienced even in the toughest positions I have found myself in.

I wondered, “Who is this man? No cursing, pure innocent eyes, compassion and now he’s asking someone to forgive us?”
He died. The sky went dark, the earth shook, rocks were split, and the veil tore in the temple. I knew now that this man was truly the Son of God.

My body started to shake uncontrollably. What had I done? I had been a part of torturing and crucifying the Son of God.
I expected some disaster to fall upon me.

As of yet, no disaster has happened. I feel though I must confess to you, Jesus is who he professed himself to be, and is the Son of God, King of the Jews.
I have heard that Jesus somehow miraculously came back to life again, like that man Lazarus. Although, rumor has it he was the one to raise Lazarus, however, I have no report of who raised Jesus. I would be in your debt if somehow I could be allowed to talk with him. To apologize for what I have done. I know there isn’t hope for me beyond that but, it would help to ease the continual guilt I have lived with these past few weeks.

Sincerely
Soldier

~~~

To the followers of the man Jesus,
It hasn’t been many days since I sent you my letter. I waited in nervous anticipation for either a response or for someone to come knocking down my door to end my life at my professing Jesus to be the Son of God. I am very appreciative of your quick reply.

The words you have written to me move my heart in yet another way I have never experienced before. I find the hard man I was, slipping away. Since the day He died, a funny tenderness is developing in my heart. No longer do I have the heart of a soldier.
You have said Jesus not only came to save the Jews but, to save the gentiles, of which I am one. You have also said that if I believe in this Jesus, and turn from my sinful ways, I will be saved eternally. Though I die physically, I will not die spiritually but go on to live with him in a place called heaven. Who am I to receive such a gift? I am the one who nailed him to the cross. I am not worthy to receive anything. If only I could apologize.

Soldier

~~~
To the followers of the man Jesus,

I received your reply again a few days ago. Since then I have been wrestling with my very self. Your words are more than any man like me should be allowed to hear.
You speak of prophecies of a messiah to come to save the world. You speak of a babe that was born to a virgin girl many years ago. I remember when a babe was born and the king was threatened. I was young and remember many soldiers were sent to kill any male under the age of two. It amazes me this Jesus survived this massacre.

You speak of Jesus coming to his own and being rejected, yet he does not reject them.
You speak of a gift that Jesus has for me. If I believe.

I wrestle as I do not deserve this, yet you speak that yes, I physically nailed Jesus to the cross, but it wasn’t just me that nailed him to the cross but, the sins of the entire world.
Jesus came to this earth as a child one night and grew into a man and knew no sin. He submitted to the will of the heavenly father and died for the sins of the entire world. If only they would believe in and follow him.

You say, I am not the only guilty one who will not pay the price of my sin. Yet, I must believe.
I confess to you, I believe and want to leave my station as a soldier and serve Jesus. The man with no sin who is a gift for me no matter what I have done to him.

I will somehow follow him, all the days of my life.
Soldier

~~~

My dear family,
Many years ago, a child was born in Bethlehem, to a virgin girl named Mary. When she went to deliver her child there was no room for them anywhere. This child was born in a stable. A star shone bright in the sky and shepherds watching their flock that night came and bore witness of this child. Wise men came bearing gifts.

His life was threatened and his parents were directed by God to leave that place. He survived the massacre of many children.
He was raised in the town of Nazareth. When he was older he left his family and walked among his people, speaking messages of love and bringing healing to many.

He told of the only way to the heavenly Father. It was to believe in Him.
He was arrested and tortured and then crucified, though he was a sinless man. I was a part of the torture and mockery and crucifixion. I was a witness to his love and compassion. I never heard him curse, but I did hear him ask his Father to forgive us for we didn’t know what we were doing.

And I didn’t.
He died and then came back to life three days later. He then ascended to heaven. He is going to return some day for those who believe in Him and bring them to his home.

I didn’t deserve the forgiveness or gift he has given me. But as I believe in Him and He is changing me into a new man, a gentle, kind, forgiving, and loving man.
No matter what cost this letter may bring to my life, I needed to let you know the truth. Jesus said the truth will set you free. And I am free indeed. My prayer is for you to believe also.

Lovingly,
Soldier

Friday, April 6, 2012

Shine Bright Today

Today is my Dad's 80th birthday. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to say that. My Dad has always
been a light in my life. And through the years my Dad has taken care of himself in such a way that he can still shovel the neighbors driveway when it snows.

Now that's not to say he hasn't battled physical affliction, because he has, but he's been responsible to treat his body in a healthy way, and I appreciate that.

While I was growing up, my friends used to say very complimentary comments about my Dad. I didn't realize at the time that other girls and boys didn't have a Dad like mine. I just assumed everyone had a Dad to love, protect and take care of them.

When I got older, I discovered what other houses were like, and some of them weren't very good. I also discovered, without even knowing it, my parents, brought a bit of light into some kids lives that needed a tender touch.

The Bible tells us, as Christians we are lights on a hill.

Today, as a light, who may be the person you are going to shine bright too? Whose life are you going to touch just because you've had an encounter with someone?

I pray you leave behind a heavenly glow in each persons path you cross today.

I know with 80 candles to light on the cake, there could be a BIG shining light in the city tonight. But, actually, my Dad doesn't need candles lit to shine bright wherever he goes.

Happy Birthday, Dad.