THE MASKED

(Lavania)

I gave a small gasp when Macxel took off the mask he had been wearing. It was odd seeing him for the first time without it. But his spirit seemed to lift once it was off.

By now we were a few feet into the Canyon. I looked at the Canyon walls and realized that the pictures on the walls told a story.

As we walked through the Canyon I became very absorbed into this story. It was one of the most sad stories right now, it was a story of love.

He came to save his people, but they rejected him. They mocked him. They killed him. But he never said a word in his own defense. He never struck out against any one of his murders.
This story became very real to me. I could see myself in the pictures. I mocked him,I beat him, I spat at him, I sent him to be killed…he took it all and still looked at me in love.
It made my heart heavy to think I had sent an innocent man to be killed. But still I chose to wear my mask to blend in and be a part of his killing.
The more I saw, the more I wanted to rip my mask off and stop it all. My mask became almost unbearable. It was uncomfortable and bulky. Instead of making me feel secure like it had done in the past it made me uneasy. Instead of making me feel I fit in and belonged it made me feel low and miserable.

I kept on walking. My head told me not to look any farther but something kept me going I had to see what happened.
He died, and I had been the one to kill him. There was no hope. He was the only one who had ever lived a perfect life, but now he was dead.
I sunk to the ground in utter despair and began to cry.

5 Likes

(Macxel)

Looking up, I saw Lavania was now crying in the path just slightly ahead of me.
She was at a point of no hope. I knew how this felt as everyone must go here at least once in their life.
But I had walked this beloved canyon trail more than once looking for answers, as I often find them written in the stories on the walls, I know there is hope beyond death.

Catching up with Lavania I help her up to her feet and tell her to read on.

5 Likes

(Lavania)

“Keep reading on,” Macxel was saying as he helped me up. “ there is hope.”

I stood up but was doubtful if there could ever be hope again. The way this story unfolded…it had to be more than a story…but what is it? I do not know.

Before reading on I had to ask Macxel about these picture stories in the Canyon walls. Are they a series of historical events? Or are they mere stories? Who put them here? And why?
I had to ask him, I wanted to ask him, but something deep within me longed to see this hope he had said was farther on, so I pushed my questions to the back of my mind to be asked later.

I pushed myself on and picked up near where I had left off. It was Day 1 after this perfect man had been placed in a tomb. I still saw no hope. All of his followers were in hiding, scared. They reminded me of most Monsters. Afraid to even talk to a lowly about why they had left us why they had taken off their mask.

Now it was Day two of this perfect man being dead and in a tomb that was not even his own.

I turned and looked at Macxel, he was doing something we were never allowed to do. He was knelt down and talking to seemingly the air.
He must be crazy! I thought.
Turning back it was now the third day this perfect man was in the tomb. They had guards placed around so no one could steal the body.

“These guards kind of reminded me of The Vanquisher we have in each city. Trying to keep something awesome from happening. But don’t worry they won’t be successful.” Macxel said as he rejoined me.

I nodded now totally reabsorbed in this story.

A bright light and all the soldiers pass out. When they come to, the stone at the entry of the tomb is rolled away and it’s empty.

I skimmed along, the tomb was empty but where was this perfect man? Did someone steal his body?
Along comes a group of women, they were surprised that the stone was not blocking the entry. And I could only imagine their surprise that the guards were no longer there.

I kept on not focusing to deeply on any one picture, I was increasing my speed trying to find this hope Maxcel had spoke of.

I saw it! The script above this …I’m not sure what to call it, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen… the script said, “ He is not here for he is risen” !!!

I was flooded over with joy and relief which was quickly replaced by doubt. Turning I stormed Macxel with questions.

5 Likes

(Macxel)

“Is this…are these pictures, are they real? Did they really happen? Or is this someone’s imagination carved out?
It seems highly unlikely, actually quite impossible to me, for someone to rise up from the dead…how do you explain this? Who is this man? And why did his followers hide in shame and fear?” Lavania asked, obviously very intrigued in this story but needing to know more.

“I’ll answer to the best of my ability.”I said while silent slipping up a prayer for wisdom.

These pictures are carved out events that happened roughly 2,000 years ago. They are 100% historically accurate. The man in these events is Jesus. He is who we, The Monsters as you’ve learned to call us, consider our King or Master, kind of like a Setter but instead of being born physically speaking to work for them and follow their examples or be be forced to by peer pressure and the constant threat of The Embarrassment… he gives you a choice you can trust in him, let him take off your mask, this is known as being born again or born spiritually. Then follow his example and try your best with his help to live the way he lived.

As for the rising from the dead. You would be right in saying no man can rise from the dead. It is 100% impossible. Down through the years many Setters tried to set up a fake salvation but the biggest difference was when the Setter died he stayed dead. You see our King …he was 100% God and 100% man. No one else can say that about themselves.

I paused to catch my breath.

His followers are what you know as Monsters, I am one of his followers. The ones in the pictures hid in shame and fear. In shame because they thought they had trusted in just a man, a great teacher… And in fear because they did not trust that they would be safe if they went out, they feared their fate would be similar to what had just happened to their leader.

5 Likes

(Lavania)

I nodded understanding everything that had been explained.

“One last question, if this was 2,000 years ago…then wouldn’t he be dead now?” I asked hesitantly.

Macxel was quick with his response. “No, he is not dead. Like the writing in the picture said he is risen. Farther down you’ll find he’s left to prepare a place for those who have trusted him to take off their mask. In the near future I believe he will be returning to take us to that place.”

I thought for a moment.
I knew as a young child my mask was loose and thin, not uncomfortable at all. As I had gotten older my mask became more thick and heavy but it was so gradual It never dawned on me how much of a burden it had become. Now as I stood thinking about this perfect man, who died, was put in a sealed tomb, and against all odds came back to life… my mask felt heavier and dirtier than it ever had before. I longed to rip it off but I feared what might happen if I did. I also knew that in my own strength I couldn’t take it off, it was impossible. I could make it feel cleaner, lighter, temporarily…but that’s not forever, it always comes back.

“I want to have my mask off, I want to…put my trust in this Jesus…but…” I struggled putting everything that I felt into words.

5 Likes

(Macxel)

I stand waiting as patiently as I can. It’s a life altering choice to trust Jesus, it’s a choice that must be made individually on a personal level.

As I stand I pray silently that I made the right choice to come out here risking my life, Lavania’s life, my Fathers life, and potentially an entire group of Followers, or monsters as Lavania would call them…

I then began to think about my father, did he know that only the Embarrassment, Anger, and Bitterness kept him in The Asylum?

4 Likes

(Lavania)

Still struggling to put my feelings, thoughts, hopes, and fears into words I looked at Macxel hopelessly, he met my look with confidence and said, “You don’t have to tell me, just tell Him.”

My look turned to one of puzzlement.
How do I do that? He’s not here.

Macxel grinned largely. “ He is omnipresent, He is here, you just can’t see Him. Just talk to Him like a friend and tell Him what you know and what you want.”

I look sheepish for a moment. talk to someone I can’t see…? How odd. But I’ll do anything to get rid of this awful weighty and dirty mask.

As if he could read my thoughts on my face Macxel interject quickly. “ It’s not in you or anything you do to take off The mask, you’ve got to put it in His hands, let him take it off, and give Him the credit for it.”

“Alright…” I said.

4 Likes

(Macxel)

I stood watching in awe and wonderment. This was the only thing that never lost it’s awesomeness to me. I watched Lavania uncertaintly bow her head and pray a simple but heartfelt prayer watching her mask disappear as she did so.

“Jesus, I know I’ve done so much wrong over my life, and I know that I’ve done it against you. I know that you love me, and Jesus that you are the only one with the power to remove my mask. So Jesus I’m sorry for all of the bad things I’ve done,” she paused for a moment with a heavy look as if remembering the wrongs she’d done. “ will you forgive me? I trust you to take off my mask…I don’t want to follow The setters anymore, I want to follow you.”

4 Likes

(Lavania)

I lifted my head tears streaming down my face but with a joy, peace, and cleanness like I had never felt before flooding over me. I had a strong desire to head back to the city and tell everyone I came in contact with about this Jesus and about what he had done for me. But I had told Macxel I’d go with him to seek wisdom.

4 Likes

(Macxel)

I grinned at Lavania.

We’ve still got a little ways to go before we reach the end of the Canyon, at the end is our encampment. I asked you to come to seek wisdom. I found the answers I was looking for a while back, but knew you hadn’t found your answers yet. If you would like we can head back towards the Asylum now or we can finish the walk down the Canyon to our encampment. It’s up to you.

I stood waiting on an answer when I heard footsteps approaching, not knowing who or what it was I grabbed Lavania’s arm and pulled her into a crevice in the Canyon wall.

4 Likes

CHAPTER FIVE :

3 Likes

(Lavania)

I stand wide eyed and silent in the crevice listening to the sound of heavy footfalls.

“Macxel, can you see who it is?” I ask daring to whisper.

Macxel looks down from his foothold just a few inches above me and nods his head jumping down lightly.

3 Likes

(Macxel)

It’s a friend. A fellow follower. He’s headed down to the encampment, he’s been gone for a long time. We can stop hiding now. I think rapidly while jumping down.

Pushing Lavania forward I hear a small gasp. I step out now and gasp myself. It hadn’t been the follower I thought I had seen. This was a follower… and he had been gone a long time, but this wasn’t just any follower, this was my Father.
I rush forward and throw my arms around his neck but am met with sorrow.
I look up his shoulders sag down and he begins to speak.

4 Likes

(Torben)

I stand there uncertainty filling my words. I can’t believe how far I had let bitterness take me. Like drinking your victims poison…it did harm to me only. It took me down a path that’s end is hopelessness. When the Vanquisher caught me I realized just how far I had gone.

I thought I’ll find a way out. But I couldn’t get out by brute or sheer force nothing I did worked.

I despaired, I leaned back against the wall thinking I’d be in that Asylum the rest of my life. That’s when I heard a still small voice whisper deep within myself, “I have the power to forgive. You must forgive the Vanquisher and love him with My love.”
I thought to myself I can never forgive the Vanquisher he killed my son! but the small voice persisted “But I can, I bore your sin and forgave you, I can forgive the Vanquisher too.”

4 Likes

(Lavania)

As I stand in the middle of the Canyon listening to Macxel’s dad talk about his time in the Asylum I make a promise to myself not to ever walk down a road of bitterness.

I spin quickly around at the sound of fast footsteps heading my way, surprised at what I saw but not more than Macxel and Torben.

6 Likes

(Macxel)

My jaw drops as I see my mother racing towards us joy beaming from her face. I hadn’t expected this at all. She rarely leaves the encampment. Why was she here now? It is common for followers to come in the Canyon to search for answers or to find peace in their trouble or simply to get to know our great redeemer better. I shouldn’t be so awed I suppose…something seemed off though, I just couldn’t place my finger on it.
Oh well, may as well welcome her!

5 Likes

(Torben)

Utter shock fills me. I haven’t seen my wife in such a long time. Delight radiates from her face. I stand uncertain of what to do. Should I move forward and embrace her or wait for her to come to me? The latter looses and I rush forward to greet her followed by Macxel.

6 Likes

CHAPTER 6:
Part 2: A New Beginning

7 Likes

(Lavania)

I laughed as the wind swirled in and around my hair leading it about in its merry dance.

Everyone was gathered on the side of the hill that lead into the Canyon.

Today was a day of merriment.

Macxel stood beside me taunting the younger children with a brightly colored ball.

Everything was as it should be…well, almost.

6 Likes

(Macxel)

The Brightly colored ball flew out of my hand one last time as I turned to get Lavania’s attention. I found her already watching me with laughter on her face.

Let’s go ahead to the hollow, maybe we won’t Be the last ones to arrive.

As we walked back through the encampment, past all the tents and towards the hollow Lavania and I talked.

5 Likes