ENCOUNTERS WITH THE CHRIST
Simon & Schuster Rrp. $16.99
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Local author Greg Blaze has written four short stories with the same outcome – an encounter with Christ.
Three of the stories are about real events and the author’s ideas about what people experienced during their ordeals.
The last story in the book is set in Capernaum a large town in Galilee. Sara is a young woman with a big problem. She’s been very ill with constant bleeding for 12 years. In the rules and customs of the Jewish people, women cannot participate in daily life if she has her menstrual period. She is deemed ‘unclean’ by the Old Testament laws. Sara has therefore been living on the streets for 12 years, humiliated, afraid an outcast. Even if she touches someone, they will also be ‘unclean” according to the ancient scriptures.
Sara hears of a ‘prophet’ who is visiting the area and she sees sick people coming into Capernaum in the hope of being healed. She decides that she also will go to this prophet. The crowds around the Christ are great and thinks that even if she can touch his garment she’ll be healed. This is a bold and desperate thought because if she touches him, he will also become unclean.
This story demonstrates the constraints of the Old Testament, in comparison with the freedom of the New Testament.
The first story in the book is about Andrew Chang. All Australians know the story of the life and death of this young man. We followed the trials and the death sentence imposed, because of his part in a drug smuggling crime in Bali. His story is told in this book, by some of the people that were involved in his life in the prison system in Indonesia: the drug addict who Andrew helped to beat his habit, the priest that visited the young man and gave him instructions about how to meet Jesus through the Bible, given to Andrew by his brother. The Governor of the Kerobokan prison, who, against his standing as a high profile government official, writes to the President to ask for clemency for Andrew and the other young Australians who helped other prisoners.
Andrew had conducted himself as a selfless helper to the prisoners, helping them through their withdrawal from drugs and telling them about his God that had saved him and given him a new life full of hope and purpose.
Andrew had prayed that his sentence would be changed from death to life in prison, but that wasn’t to be. The executioner who was part of the team that was assigned to carry out the court’s orders, was perplexed as he waited for the orders to fire, because he could hear the condemned man singing as they were marched to their place of execution. He couldn’t speak English so didn’t know what they were singing but it sounded like a song of worship. They were singing Amazing Grace as they were tied to the chairs before the firing squad.
The two other stories are about a Capetown teenager who survived a shark attack, photographed by a Canadian tourist who was interviewed by Greg.
At the moment when the boy saw that he was going to be killed by the shark, he prayed to be rescued, and he was, in a miraculous way.
The last story is about ambition and the high life in the financial district in an American city and how trying to gain the heights of your profession can easily send you to the depth of despair where trying to make it through debt, drugs, hopelessness and fear can lead to living in the darkness of evil and demon possession.
At his lowest point a young man sees a light of the visiting prophet and is rescued by the Christ and set free from the darkness of his hopeless existence.
This book is a gentle read with a sense of wonder and hope that maybe there is a greater purpose for our lives here on earth and despite our mistakes, bad choices, bad luck and sin, we can have hope that the Christ will be near to us.
Local author Greg Blaze has written four short stories with the same outcome – an encounter with Christ. Three of the stories are about real instances with the author’s ideas about how people felt during their ordeals.