Kyrie (Eleison)

Kyrie Eleison
by Miles H. Rost

A few weeks before it happened, I packed up my belongings. I was to leave my wife, my family, and everyone. The journey from the desert to the sea, to travel to the west, was beginning. It was a 2 week walk and ride to Tyre, where I would pick up a ship that would take me as far as I could go. Thus was the life of a traveling educator.

Educated by the best, a head of a prosperous temple at the time, I felt I was being moved to leave and do more with what I had learned. It wasn’t necessarily because I wanted to leave, but it was because there was nothing left for me to do there. It was going to be very hard to leave behind my wife and my children, but I made sure that my brother, Elam, took care of her in my absence. Elam’s a good man, older than me but still devoted to family.

I was making my way towards Damascus, when I met up with a block in the road. There were men who had said that the way to Damascus was blocked for travelers, and that I needed to go around the city. The caravan I joined up with were reluctant to do so, but after making an inquiry, we realized that there were big things afoot. And, so, we headed south and west. We passed from the lands of Assyria and ended up in deep Roman lands. While I had no quarrel with the Romans themselves, I heard about some of the different things that had happened in the interim.

I heard about this Jewish man, this Jesus whose name as a teacher had even spread to my community. I didn’t pay him much mind, though. The ravings of a lunatic, I once said to my temple brethren. They all laughed with me about it.

We were nearing the end of two weeks, and we stopped short of Tyre. We ended up in a small village about a day’s journey from Tyre. We were close. I had decided, for some reason, to walk outside after dinner in order to clear my head and prepare myself for the next day. The sun was low in the sky, but it had not set when I encountered this man. He was a very powerful person, someone who did command authority. Rugged and everything. He was standing next to the well, looking like he was taking a rest.

“Good eve, sir. Is this well being used?” I asked him.

“I’m just taking a rest right now. You should be able to use it,” he said, with a smile.

While I worked to operate the well, the man continued to look at me. I was starting to get unnerved when he finally spoke.

“Tell me. What have you heard about this Jesus fellow?”

I looked over at him. I didn’t pay him much mind with his scraggly beard which appeared to be unkempt in the darkening light of the evening.

“Jesus? Are you talking about that Jewish guy? The things he’s saying seem to make me think he’s a bit out of his mind.”

I saw a little glint in his eyes, and that is when I knew that I was in deep trouble. He started into a debate with me about this Jesus, whom he called “The Christ”. About how he died so that others may live, and how we were to live by faith and not by sight. I just sighed, because I felt like I was being sold a pitch.

That’s when he threw the curve ball at me.

“He’s still alive. His body was dead. I saw it die. But He’s alive! I saw that, too! By the Sea of Galilee we saw him, and many upon many saw him, too.”

I responded to him that it could not have happened, but in my educated head, I felt like the logic that was in there was failing. I couldn’t explain why, but the idea of bodily resurrection actually seemed to make sense in the way this man was speaking.

“But let me ask you this, my good man. Why would such a man decide to do this for someone like me? Why would he knowingly give up his own life, to save a person like me who doesn’t even believe in his words?” I asked the man.

“Because it’s simple: If he sacrificed himself for all, that means we’re all on His level. We’re all equal.”

I sat for a little bit, to chew on this. One thing went through my mind: “The lunatic isn’t a lunatic at all. He’s the Lord. It makes sense.”

That night, my entire life was changed. I acknowledged all of it, and with the help of the scraggly-bearded man, I later went out to other lands to tell people, to share the Gospel, and to show people how Christ died for them. The scraggly bearded man, the one who called himself Petros, was a good friend to me during that time.

As I gave him a hug before boarding the boat, I looked at the boat and him, and said something I never would have thought of saying in my time back in the small educated area from which I came.

“Kyrie Eleison down this road that I must travel.”

Petros gave me the blessing, and I went on my way. Christ’s death gave me life, and it was certain, I would share it with whoever I met on my new life to a new land.

(A joyous Easter Sunday, and Resurrection weekend to all who read. – M.)

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I Wish It Would Rain Down

by Miles Rost

The Rainbow Bridge glowed at this time of night, the reds, whites, and greens eminating from each of the towers like christmas lights on a tree. The beauty of the bridge shadowed the pain and hurt that was present on its platform.

Yumi sat on the sidewalk of the center span, looking out over the tossing waters of Tokyo Bay. The rain just started as she sat down, and the drops pelted her slowly. It seemed as though even the sky was giving her grief.

She was alone, again.

So this is what Saya felt all those nights ago, she thought, staring at a freighter passing below her, Again, I am alone. When my parents died, I was alone. When I was rude to my sempai, I was alone.

She sniffled, as the rain started to pour down upon her. The storm in her heart was raging, the emotions filling up her heart like a rain barrel. Her body ached, her left index finger most of all. She knew these signs, of what was to happen, and that there was no controlling it.

Why am I always alone?! Why do I do this to my friends? Why do I always hurt like this? I don’t want this! I don’t want this burden!

Her mind panicked, her heart raced, as the sobs she knew were to come finally announced themselves in a groan and a cry of pain. She wrapped her arms around herself as she shifted her body, giving her more room to grieve. The war inside her heart was fierce and intense, and the emotions continued to overflow.

In her mind, a flash of memory shot out from nowhere.

Yumi-chan, you’ve buried your emotions,” Sayaka said, as Yumi remembered the conversation from the previous day, “You show bravery on the outside, but you haven’t reconciled yourself inside. The only person who can change you is Iesu. He’s tough on the heart, but he also shows you that you’re never alone, and that change comes from trusting.”

She looked at Tokyo Bay yet again, and continued sobbing. The pain of her heart joined the pain in her head, feeding her tears. At the same time, another thought pierced her.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses. Look upon my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.

Sayaka’s voice cut through the anguish of her thoughts, with passages she had read to her earlier in the day.

“These words were from the great King David. He seemed to be like you, in a lot of ways, Yumi-chan. He was stoic, and very ardent in battle. But he had his problems too. And his petition there, that was his confession to God.”

Yumi looked at her now soaked uniform, and the drops of water off the leather tote-bag she carried. Her sobs continued, as she looked at the towers to her sides.

“Kami-sama,” she cried out through her sobs, “I have failed.”

The rain suddenly started pouring heavier, the sounds of thunder in the background calling a chant, seemingly echoing her cries.

“My life has been filled with pain, Father. My parents, my sempai, all those who left me, they gave me nothing but pain. And you, you gave Saya hope. You gave her something that I did not have before, something that I don’t have right now.”

Yumi breathed in a heavy breath, as hail started to fall on the bridge. She stood up, and bent her knee to the concrete. The pain that shot through her knee was temporary, and caused another flood of sobs to come through, even after the pain subsided.

“I don’t want this! I don’t want this burden, this load that I am carrying. Iesu, I want you to carry this with me. I want what you gave Saya those weeks ago. I ask of you to come into my heart, and take the pain, the anger, the strain, and transform them into something that can be used.”

Yumi clutched her fingers until they were white, as her prayers rang out like a tolling bell. The hail continued to fall, as the rain cascaded down like a waterfall.

“Lord…savior…You have the power to make me whole again. Take my life and make it whole, make me the warrior that I was before all these events. In your holy and saving name, Iesu, I pray this…”

A peal of thunder in the background shook the bridge as she held steady. Her cries were done, and she held her ground against the thunder’s call. Her face turned serious, as she uttered the final words.

“Amen.”

As the word rolled off her tongue, a bright bolt of lightning split the sky from north to south. After a minute, the hail stopped as the rain kept falling.

She breathed in the air, the damp rainy air, and looked around at the bridge. As she stood up, the rain slowed down from a waterfall to a steady but barely soaking shower. Yumi was soaked fully, her ponytail hanging low from the weight of the water. Her seifuku was fully drenched, and as she walked back towards Minato-ku, she felt the squish of water in her shoes. Her mind was on other things, though.

She needed to see Sayaka, and she needed to see her right away.

*************

Sayaka sat at her table, working on homework. The scrapes of her mechanical pencil as it drew across the paper filled the room with a sound that was previously filled with the sounds of the rain on her roof.

I hope Yumi-chan is okay, she thought, I don’t know why, but it seemed like the only thing that could be done was to let her go off on her own.

She put down her pencil, and reclined back a slight bit, remembering the events that unfolded earlier in the day. She remembered the pain and bewilderment on Yumi’s face, the similar pain and bewilderment she felt weeks before.

“Yu-chan, I hope you haven’t done something crazy…”

At that moment, Sayaka folded her hands and closed her eyes. She felt the need to pray, and the moment for it was then. As she sat there, a picture of peace and patience, she was silent and focused.

Suddenly, a conspicuous knocking at her door caught her attention. With a quick ‘amen’, she stood up, bowed, and walked into the main hosting room to check and see who it was. As she opened up the screen, she was greeted by a soaking wet, crying, and broken Yumi.

“Yumi-chan!”

“Sayaka,” she sniffled, “I didn’t know where to go, but you’re the first person who would understand. So here I am.”

“Come in, come in. You’re soaking wet! Did you walk all the way over from your apartment?”

“I want to tell you everything, but I need something to drink first.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll get you something to drink, and a dry kimono to slip into. Head into my bedroom and wait there.”

Sayaka quickened her steps into the kitchen area, where she started boiling water for tea. As she quickly walked towards her room, she heard sobbing and rushed to see Yumi on the floor, head in hands, letting her tears fall. Sakaya immediately rushed to her closet, grabbed the nearest kimono, and rushed to the fallen girl’s side, giving her a tight hug.

“I’m here, Yumi. I’m here. Just let yourself go, and I’ll take care of you,” she whispered, with concern and warmth. For a short while, she sat with her friend, someone who she never thought would ever look broken, and just let her sob into her shoulder. As the sobs died, Sayaka slowly moved away and looked at Yumi.

“I will be right back. But, when I get back, I need you to tell me everything. In the meantime, put on the kimono.”

Sayaka walked to the kitchen and came back a minute later with the white tea that she always brewed.

“Yumi-chan, tell me everything.”

She sat in front of the small reading table, the dry, greenish-colored kimono wrapped around her cold frame. Her hair was still wet from the rain, but seemed to be starting to dry.

“I…I…” she stammered, as she tried to recollect her thoughts, “After the confrontation, I just started running. I ran…so far away. I was alone, as I usually am. I was so wrapped up with anger and guilt, the memory of my parents and my sempai came back to me. I ended up on the Rainbow Bridge. I actually wanted to jump. I wanted to end it.”

Sayaka’s eyes opened wide, and she gasped slightly.

Yumi told her the full story about what happened on the bridge, not leaving a single crumb of detail behind. In between descriptions, she would cry for a moment, then start speaking again.

“As I left the bridge, I was in shock. My heart was flooded with emotion, but I couldn’t cry. I had nowhere I could really go, nowhere that I could have a safe haven with. So I walked from the bridge to here. The only thing I could think about was talking to you about what happened.”

Sayaka gave her a giant hug, and looked her square in the eye.

“Yu-chan, I’ve been hoping for this for a while. I thought you’d be the most resistant to His message, but now I see you here. You don’t even know how happy I am that you were able to come here and trust me with this.”

“Really?”

“Really. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had anyone that I can trust come visit. But, it’s not just that. You came here after something that you know very few have gone through. This is going to be new for you, and I think that it might be good to have you stay here for the night.”

Yumi looked around, and sighed.

“I think I can do that,” she replied, “I don’t have to be at school early.”

Sayaka smiled, as she sipped her tea.

“At least now I have someone around who doesn’t think I’m crazy.”

Yumi looked at her, and smiled slightly. Then the sneeze hit.

“Oh no. You’re not getting sick!” Sayaka chuckled, as she walked to the bath and started some running water.

While she ran the water and got towels ready, Yumi looked at the Bible that was open above Sayaka’s homework.