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Manchan's Tale - Part Nineteen (Conclusion)
- Manchan's Tale - Part 18
5th century Ireland is the place not to be if you are the sin-bearer.
From Part Eighteen
"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, Manchan. 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?"
Cráibdech was furiously pawing trying to break the rocks and tree limbs away from the mouth of the cave. All this went unnoticed by Manchan as he sat and listened to his old friend with a new name.
Pádraig continued enthusiastically. "Manchan, do you remember the night you came to my cottage seeking provision? You said it was for you and Brigid - remember?"
"Yes. Yes, Pádraig, I do."
"That was the night that Bridig left us. You said the provisions were for you and her, but in reality, Manchan, she was already expired, was she not?
"Yes, sir. I'm sorry for . . ."
"My son, that afternoon I visited your humble home. While you were out tending the sheep, I was discussing the Lord with Brigid. She was a dear lady, and the good news is she too, accepted Jesus as her Lord and God. She, like you, is a child of God, and you will see her again. Perhaps not in this life, but in the afterlife."
"Pádraig, I won't bear my sin or hers to the abyss? We'll be together forever?"
"That's right, my son."
"Oh, but more than anything, Pádraig, I want to see Jesus. He's my sin-bearer, right?"
"Absolutely! But Manchan, there is something else we must discuss. The night the Lord took her. Tell me about that."
"It was a sad time. We shared memories. We remembered the good times. I now know they were a blessing from the Lord. Then she asked for a cup of water. I filled a cup for her, and when I brought it back, she was gone."
"And then what?"
"I touched her face and became what I thought was her sin-beared."
"Manchan, my son, you knew she passed, didn't you?"
"Yes. I must confess."
"But, you touched her anyway. Why?"
"I loved her. I didn't want her to bear her own sin. I wanted to free her to enjoy eternal life in Mag Mell."
"You wanted that for her even though you believed that touching her dead body would send you to the abyss? This wasn't an accident or an afterthought, was it?. You were willing to give your life for her. Do you see now, that's exactly what Jesus did for you? He loved you so. He wanted you to enjoy His presence forever, not in Mag Mell, but in His abode - Heaven.
"He gave Himself in your place to rebuild a broken relationship with you. You've come to understand that. Now, He wants to live His life out through you. He wants you to share with others His wonderful gift of life. Manchan, I must ask you, will you travel with me through this land, and assist me as I spread the good news I've shared with you to others? It will mean sacrifice. There will be many hard times, but we will face them together - you, me, and the Lord.
"People must see the error of their way before it's too late. God's Book, the Bible does not tell us about Mag Mell, but it does tell us about the abyss. God refers to it as a place called hell. It's a place much worse than the abyss. All those who remain in the darkness of their beliefs as you once held will reside there forever - a place of torment, a place of solitude, a place of raging fire that is never quenched. Manchan, I need your help. Will you be one with me in this endeavor?"
"Yes, Pádraig. Jesus died for me. I want to live for Him."
"Then we must be off. Follow me, There's another exit that isn't blocked. We can safely get out and be on our way."
The two traveled down by the stream, visiting villages as they went, spreading the news of salvation through Jesus Christ. The Druid beliefs and traditions were slowly being done away with as the Light of the World made His way into Ireland.
They traversed the land and searched for all that lived in the hill country. Many trips were made over moor and meadow seeking out all who had a desire to hear about the God who saves. News spread far and wide of the God who loves. The old gods of earth, wind, and fire no longer held fear over the precious Irish. Cráibdech adjusted to the new way of life as well. She also had a new friend in Pádraig's fine companion, Neart an Tiarna. Manchan's Faithful and Pádraig's Strength of the Lord made a fine pair.
Nearly a year had passed and Manchan's health began to suffer. With no protection from the elements, he grew weaker with each passing day. Finally, It became necessary for Pádraig to find a place of permanent lodging for him. The days wore on, and the nights grew long. Pádraig was by Manchan's side constantly. The dreaded fever set in, and both knew time would be short.
Manchan reached for a rare moment of strength. "Pádraig, can we talk a bit? My life has been so complete. All I've experienced has made me who I am. I remember the night I met you on that cold December's eve. All the running from Déaglán and his men. How I missed my dear Brigid! Then God took the time to find me in my lost estate. He used you, my friend, to show me what life really was about.
"I made a promise to my beloved Brigid before she passed. I remember so clearly. She asked of me, 'Manchan, when each new winter comes, promise me that when you see the christening snow, you'll stop to think of me. Always remember our time together for I will ever be with you. Manchan, will you promise?'
"And I remember my exact words to her. I said, Of course, my beloved, but we'll see the christening snow together many more times. Chin up. Give me your smile. She did.
The old shutters began to rattle the windows. Pádraig arose to tend to the matter. Manchan spoke again.
"Pádraig, would you be so kind as to bring me a cup of cool water? I so need its refreshing qualities."
"Certainly, my friend," Pádraig replied, as he secured the shutter.
Bringing the water to his side, Pádraig looked once again deeply into his eyes. They were closed. He was in quiet rest.
"Oh, my dear friend, Manchan. Arise. I've your cup of refreshment." He reached down and touched his face. There was no response.
Outside, another year's christening snow was falling.
This concludes Manchan's Tale although I will be following up with the facts behind the fiction in the next installment. Look for it soon!
- Manchan's Tale - The Fact Behind the Fiction
Maewyn Succat has made a difference in the Emerald Isle.
© 2017 William Kovacic