The New Judge

[Note: This is one of my attempts to tell either a different part of a Bible story, to tell the story from a different perspective, or to get a similar point across in a different way. I will quote the related scripture passage at the end. Besides the general fun of setting myself the assignment and trying to write it, I hope these stories will help someone think about the scriptural passage in new and creative ways. This is a work of fiction. All places, characters, and things are products of my imagination and any resemblance to anyone or anything real is purely accidental.]

Carl, now Sir Carl, made a bit of a stir when he arrived in the tiny village of Felidol. He rode his horse right across the small bridge across the creek (or river, as the locals would have it) and through the gate in the wooden palisade that surrounded the town. Farmers in their fields looked up and then continued to stare as he went by on his white horse. He did indeed cut quite a figure with shining armor, a quite long sword at his side, and fine cloak over it all, and expensive boots on his feet.

The villagers stared, but they were less impressed by his fine figure and equipment than they were frightened to see anyone like that here. The citizens of Felidol and the surrounding countryside didn’t like important people all that much. Important people wanted to get things done, and it always seemed that what they needed in order to get things done was the farmer’s money, food, and sometimes even their property.

Carl was completely oblivious to all this. He waved at the villagers in a friendly way as he rode past. He didn’t want to seem aloof or unsociable. He didn’t seem to realize that with the way he was dressed and equipped, the villagers had a hard time seeing him as anything but aloof. They hoped he would be aloof, and thus wouldn’t get them involved in anything.

On the other hand, he knew something they didn’t. In spite of his young age, and his knightly appearance, he was actually the new circuit judge, to be based in their village. Carl knew very well that he had gotten the appointment only because his father was one of the richest merchants in the city. He was fairly sure that his father had bought him this appointment for his 20th birthday, along with a knighthood. But that was alright with him, because he knew enough about the law to do the job, and he intended to do right by these people.

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Carl’s first day in the courthouse was a disappointment. There were a couple of weddings to formalize, something that went without ceremonies in these parts. The feasting and celebration would take place elsewhere. There were some documents to formalize, ones that required the seal of a king’s officer. Carl was the only king’s officer in many, many miles. But nobody came to petition him for anything. He couldn’t imagine that none of the small farmers in this area had any complaints against the more important landowners. He imagined that the townsfolk had complaints against farmers, and farmers against townsfolk. That was how he had heard things always were.

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Thanking him for Faithfulness

(Scripture: Luke 17:11-19; 2 Timothy 2:8-15)

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of any of the people, places, or events to anyone real is purely coincidental.

Janiva Jeffreys slipped through the doors of the church and found a seat near the back. It was a small church, with the yard poorly kept and the building itself in some disrepair. It fit well in the neighborhood, run down, deteriorating, a three dimensional display of how little people cared.

I could live in a place like this, she thought. I used to live in a place like this.

She didn’t recognize the man at the podium. He radiated authority and certainty. But the man behind him, sitting to his right, him she recognized. It was his picture, included with a newspaper story, that had brought her here. He would be thirty years older than she remembered, and he showed every year of it, but he was definitely the same man. It was a moment in her life that she would never forget. She had moved on from that moment and become a different woman. At that moment she had been a whore—she used the word in her own mind—pursued by her pimp from one direction and by the police from another. She had had no hope, no future. But for thirty years she had not seen him or heard of him.

I never really thanked him, she thought. I never knew his name, nor he mine. I just pointed to where I wanted to get out and then I ran and hid.

The man at the podium was speaking. “As the Bishop responsible for this area,” he said, “it is my responsibility to take action on this church. With only five members left, and less than a tenth of the budget necessary, we have no choice. This final meeting is just to explain what is going to happen and when.”

“The only thing that would save this congregation now would be around $50,000 that we do not have, and also some idea that the church can accomplish something in this community. We have explored every avenue that we know, we have exhausted all options. We don’t want to close the church, but there is no other option.”

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