Pray that you are not tested


(time for the annual Good Friday post. Happy Easter everyone. See you on the other side.)

The trees crowd together in this dark valley, grown fat, and watered by the blood of the temple sacrifice. On this moonless night there is no light in the garden but those of the stars overhead. The stones still radiate the afternoon heat, and the dust clings to everything like talcum. He leaves the others beneath an olive tree and walks off into the darkness alone.

All is quiet but for the call of the night guard that drifts in from somewhere inside the city walls. The dark shadow of the mount is silhouetted against the stars. As he kneels to pray a dark bird is startled from its roost, and quickly flies off into the night. Above him the branches reach out as if to gather in the stars.

His companions are lying on the soft grass beneath the branches hung with dry fruit slowly giving in to sleep. An hour passes with no motion but the imperceptible turning of the sky above. Still he kneels alone, his head bowed in silence. The drops of sweat bead upon his forehead, and fall like blood to the dust below. The roots of the hungry trees yearn to feel them like drops of rain.

His head tilts upward, and he murmurs to sky. A slight wind stirs the leaves, and a whisper runs through the garden, leaving the sound of distant voices in its wake. Slowly the voices grow nearer and torchlight flickers in the distance. The red light grows brighter and the shadows of the branches writhe about his feet.

His companions wake from their dreams amidst the rattle of centurion swords. They are approaching through the garden now. The hour has come.

Pray that you are not tested.

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