Shooting At Jesus
Mark estimated that the breeze made the wind chill hover around 35 degrees. But that wasn’t what was chilling him. It wasn’t even that he was standing five floors up on the roof of the seminary’s bell tower gazing down on the startled crowd that had gathered below. What chilled Mark was the sight of Ethan Bakerson, a recent graduate of the seminary, standing on the ledge looking out across the campus. Ethan held a rifle in his hand.
Ethan had fired a couple of shots, but for now no one apparently had been hurt.
“It’s all a bunch of crap, people.” Ethan spoke through a microphone he had cleverly wired into the bell tower speaker. “You’re being fed a bunch of bullshit while the seminary steals your money and prepares you for a profession that is disappearing under your noses.” The mike was hooked to his collar so that both his hands were free. “Even if you get a job, it doesn’t pay squat.”
Mark was a 48-year-old, slightly pudgy, bespectacled, five-foot-five pastor. Ten minutes earlier, he had come out of the seminary bookstore with a cup of hot coffee in his hand. He heard the front window of the bookstore shatter from the impact of the first bullet. A couple of shards of glass landed at his feet. Then he heard a shout from the top of the bell tower as another bullet ricocheted off a statue of Jesus gazing out over the seminary campus.
Mark had always thought of himself as a nerdy, somewhat average pastor, never as a hero. He couldn’t explain why, but when he saw the shooter standing on the ledge of the bell tower, he dropped his coffee and ran to the tower. Adrenalin carried him up the five flights of steps. He smelled the sweat of his own fear as he eased the door open and stepped out at the top of the tower. He wiped the fog created by the contrast of temperature from his glasses. The concrete floor of the flat roof was rough and gritty from the tracks of many who had sought the view of the campus from its most prominent perch. It was a constant complaint of the custodial staff that visitors left their sandwich wrappings and occasional wine bottles in their wake. There was a three-foot- fence-like ledge surrounding the roof that was probably about 8 inches wide.
“Fighting to control his breathing, Mark saw Ethan about 30 feet from him, balancing on the ledge of the roof. Ethan was concentrating on the crowd below, waving his rifle back and forth. He had not heard Mark come through the door.
What in the world am I doing here, Mark thought, and what do I do now?
(End Part 1 — Next installment Feb 18 beginning at 8 a.m.)
(If you enjoy this, let me know and also RT to others so they too can have a moment of refreshment as you enter the season of Lent.)