The Shroud

I wrote this story and it’s companion poem in 2006.  Both of them are titled “The Shroud.”

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(STORY)

It’s Sunday morning – early Sunday morning.  So early, in fact, that the sun is just beginning to peak over the horizon.  It’s still dark in the west, even.  It’s a quiet morning, but not just any quiet.  Somewhat like an anticipating silence, as if it’s waiting on something – something big!  Something so huge that it will change everything that you’ve ever known!  It’s almost an excited quiet, and you resent that.  You resent that because you and your companions are walking toward the tomb of a man whose body you all are going to properly prepare for burial.  You think the quiet should be in mourning, such as you yourself are.

Suddenly, as you are walking along, carrying your tray of perfumes and oils, the earth beneath you begins to move!  It’s as if the ground has turned into the sea, and you are trying to walk on it!  It’s rolling and shaking.  It eventually knocks you to the ground, where your bottles of perfume and oil shatter, spilling the precious liquids.  Your companions are knocked down, too, each of you scraping your knees and hands on the rough and rocky ground beneath you.

Struggling, you finally manage to stand up and take a few shaky steps toward the tomb.  You have one thing on your mind:  Get to the tomb!  You have to know if this earthquake has caved in the final resting place of the greatest man you have ever known.

Then, just as you come to the last bend in the path to the tomb, the earth quits its quaking.  Everything stops and is silent once more.  Only this time the silence is full of joy, as if the anticipated event has occurred and the entire world is in awe of its happening.  Unconcerned with the world’s wonder and still desperate to know whether your beloved Savior’s body was crushed by falling rock, you frantically run around the final bend and into the clearing where the tomb is located.

Upon entering the clearing, the first thing you notice is the guards – they appear to be dead!  Fearful that they are and that you would be accused of their murder you rush to them to check for signs of life.  To your relief, you discover that they are simply knocked out.  As you let out a sigh, you hear a gasp behind you.  Quickly you turn and see your companions staring at the tomb – the open tomb.  You do not understand why the entrance is not being guarded by the enormous stone that had been placed there to keep The Brothers out.  Deciding that it must have been the earthquake that did it, you glance at your companions, and all of you silently decide to step inside the holy sepulcher.  As you hold each others’ hands, you all quietly and fearfully walk to the unguarded entrance.

It’s dark inside, and one by one, you and your companions enter the cave-like room.  A shock wave goes through you as you notice the white, radiant being inside.  Though you are in awe of his beauty, you tremble with fear.  Then, he begins to speak clearly yet softly.  “Fear not!  He that you seek is not here.”

At this you start.  You feel anger well up inside you.  “Where is He?” you demand.

The being calmly looks at you and answers, “He is risen, just as he said.  Now go and tell The Brothers they are to meet Him in Galilee.”

The beautiful being then vanishes as if he was never there to begin with.  You and your companions share a shocked look before you once more turn your attention to the tomb you are in.  You cannot help but think that you are dreaming, so you search the room for signs of the body.  It’s possible that it may have fallen off the stone shelf during the earthquake.  You look in all of the corners and around the floor, but to your dismay you find nothing.

Finally, you look back to the shelf where he was laid to rest, and that’s when you see it.  Its head piece folded and the rest lying out flat on the stone.  It was once white, but now, it is stained with dried blood.  You start to weep at the sight because you know it is a sign of His resurrection.  Closing your eyes, you silently thank God above that you only found His shroud.

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(POEM)

The blood-stained linen:

A stark reminder

Of His suffering and ridicule,

Of His ever-so-powerful death.

An outline of His body

No longer there.

An imprint of the life –

Of the death –

Of the greatest man

To ever walk the earth.

A picture of His pain

Left behind

Like the death

He defeated.

A proof of what once was

And no longer is.

Left lying on a stone shelf

In an open tomb.

For what need has a living man

Of burial cloths?

Why should it leave the place

Where He no longer lies?

His pain is over,

And His death is ended.

His shroud –

Left in that tomb to show

He is risen, just as He said.

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2 Comments

Filed under Poetry, Stories

2 responses to “The Shroud

  1. Deanie Yarbrough

    Beautiful! I believe this is your greatest story so far.

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