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Manchan's Tale - Part 18
- Manchan's Tale - Part 17
5th century Ireland is the place not to be if you are the sin-bearer.
In the last installment, we left Manchan in the cave with new problems to face. Just what they were had yet to be revealed.
The earth had spoken. The wind had spoken. The fire had spoken. Manchan got the message. All three were more powerful than he, and he knew they still had a claim on his life - a life that would end in eternal solitude.
In the still and the quiet of the night, Manchan struggled to sleep. A strange, scraping sound echoed within the cave walls. He was not alone in the cave. Someone or something was just around the corner in another chamber. The thirteen had reappeared after their deaths in the river. It took innocence to send them on their way. But now, his innocent lamb, Liadan, was not with him.
He sat in fear. Could it be that Déaglán himself had returned? In the cold and the dark, his mind raced from one possibility to another. None were good.The blanket of black surrounded him as the scraping grew in loudness. Should he be quiet and wait? Or should he move toward the sound to see what or who it was? Should he run?
He opted to run from the cave. Once outside, he and Cráibdech could be on their way. Hopefully, whoever or whatever would not follow them. He was praying the plan would work. Without making a sound he placed one foot in front of the other and moved toward the cave entrance. What he found there caused him, even more, alarm.
The creature turned the corner and entered the chamber where Manchan was standing ready for battle. He cried out -
The earthquake and the wind had sealed the cave entrance shut with rocks and debris. His third choice, to run, had been eliminated/ The strange sound continued in the black of the cave. Panic was now in control. The end had to be near, and just how it would end, he wasn't sure. The sound grew louder.
Then a flash - a light appeared in the other chamber. The flickering light of a just-lit torch danced upon the cave walls casting a bigger than life shadow on the cold stone. Someone was coming. Manchan was left with no other option than to wait. His exit was blocked. The enemy was coming toward him, and he couldn't hide in the approaching light. He waited, and hoped for strength to fight one more battle.
The creature turned the corner and entered the chamber where Manchan was standing ready for battle. He cried out - "Maewyn!~ Maewyn! Is that you?" Then he remembered Maewyn had perished when Déaglán burned his cottage. He thought to himself, "This must be one of Déaglán's tricks. I must be careful."
"Yes, my son. It is I Maewyn, but I have had a blessed change to my name.They no longer call me Maewyn but Pádraig."
Manchan still wasn't sure. "No - Maewyn perished in the fire."
"Oh, my son. I see. Remember the underground room under my table? Déaglán and his thirteen surrounded the cottage. One by one, they shot the fire arrows until the cottage was ablaze. They thought I was destroyed in the fire, but I simply hid underground until it was safe to come out.
"Of course, when I did, there was nothing left to my comfortable home. I was forced, like you, to roam the moors, meadows, and mountains. See me, Manchan. Handle me, son. Know that I am flesh and blood, just as you. I'm no wicked spirit as might think."
Manchan approached him carefully. He was satisfied.
Pádraig continued. "This is not a chance meeting. Of that, I am very sure. God has arranged, our coming together, and He has a message for you." Manchan's mind went back to Brigid's direction for him. "He is in need of your help, and he has words he must share with you."
"And so, Maewyn, what is it he would have me to know?"
"It's Pádraig, my son - Pádraig." First God wants you to know it is He who protected you during your travels. Not the gods of earth, wind, and fire. These supposed gods would have had you dead. After all, you are the sin-bearer. Are you not?
"The God of all gods protected you and brought you thus far. He wants you to know that you are not the sin-bearer. He is. You see, Manchan, God loves you so very much, but something happened many centuries ago to hinder His relationship with mere mortals. Sin entered the world from the very beginning and rests upon each of us. We must bear our own sin. Sin cannot stand in God's presence.
"You see, even though you are the sin-bearer you are responsible only for yourself, and the abyss still waits for all who perish with sin. Sin robs us of life. Jesus came to earth to take on a human body, just as we both have, but yet He, being God in the flesh, did no sin. He was executed for you and me - taking our place and shedding His blood in our place for us.
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"God who cannot sin, died so that we can live forever. Manchan, He rose after three days and has now returned to Heaven. If you but turn to Him, he will be your sin-bearer. He conquered the death we each should face so that we may be free. Manchan, will you take him as your sin-bearer? Will you trust Him with your life? Will you turn from the gods of earth, wind, and fire and follow the only true God?
"He has led you to this point. Everything you've experienced in these past days has been planned to guide you to the Savior. Manchan, I ask again. Will you turn from the gods of earth, wind, and fire and follow the only true God?"
"No, I can't. I 've been taught from a child to follow the gods of my people."
"But, my son, these gods have sought your harm. Don't you see that they're not real, that they have no power, for if they did, you surely you would be dead. Manchan, that's not the real reason, is it? Tell me, son, what's holding you back? I believe I know, and I believe I have more good news for you."
"It's Brigid, Sir. If I go to the abyss, or if I go to your Heaven, I will forever be separated from my beloved."
"Manchan, if you can not follow the God of Heaven for His glory alone, then you would be better not to follow at all. Bear your sin to a world of no reprieve. Follow God for who He is, not for what he has done, or can do. No matter where your beloved Brigid is, think about your own soul. Accept the eternal sacrifice for your sin - Jesus Christ."
"This God of yours, Maew . . . Pádraig, He is real, is He not? I see Him through you."
"Oh, yes. He is very real, and He is reaching out to you right now. Please, Mancha. Follow Him."
"I will, Pádraig. I will. Will you tell me more about Him?"
:"Most assuredly, my son. But first, I must share the good news I promised you."
"What could be better than the news of your God, Pádraig?"
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“Call 911! Call 911!” She yelled to the driver. Blood flowing from Peter’s multiple wounds tinged the puddles a diluted red as the rain continued to fall. His faded, pale face told the story. Confusion. Pain. Trauma. - Coming death.
Peter McClanahan's journey is just beginning and where it will end, not even The Voice knows. Can you count the twists?
© 2017 William Kovacic