Archive for July, 2013

The Trial-Final

Mr. Stone said “your honor, I can let the scene run as long as needed to make the point if you wish, but I believe I have already shown Mr. Tomei began showing contempt for all things sacred even as a young man”? The judge sighed and said, “No, Mr. Stone, your point has been made,” and instantly the screen faded back to black. The Judge looked over to the defense table and said, “Mr. Vivam, would you care to counter”? The attorney stood and said, “yes your honor, I would like to enter into evidence Exodus 2:12. Moses killed an Egyptian, yet still went on to lead God’s chosen children out of bondage. The capacity to sin does not make a soul disposable to God”. The scene of Moses burying the dead man in the sand scrolled across the screen and then was replaced with a scene of Moses leading his people across the divided Red Sea. “Many good things have been accomplished by those who have behaved badly at times your honor.” Next the screen showed a homeless man asleep against a building with a light coat of snow on his clothing, he was shivering in his sleep. While the court watched Sal removed his coat and covered the man with it, and the court could feel the compassion in Sal’s heart as he had helped the man. “Human lives are complex your honor, very seldom does one act, or even a series of acts define the motives of the soul”. The defense lawyer then sat back down as the prosecutor’s eyes bored holes through him.

Mr. Stone stood and rattled off the next exhibit quickly, and a scene shot onto the screen of Sal taking change from a sales clerk. Sal walked down a sidewalk with the cash still in his hands, counting it again and again, he was nineteen years old at the time. Your honor, this exhibit shows Mr. Tomei knew in his heart that the clerk had given him change for a fifty instead of a twenty, and yet he chose to keep it rather than return it. Another scene came up of Sal doing his taxes when he was thirty-one, and taking a deduction that he was not legally entitled to. “Your honor, it would appear that dishonesty was more of a way of life to the defendant rather than an occasional error.” Other scenes flashed up on the screen as Sal recognized them and knew the prosecutor was right. This was terrible, having your life examined under a microscope like this. He looked over at Mr. Vivam and once again, the man winked at him. This guy was good, but Sal didn’t see any way that he could continue to be defended for things that he knew himself he was guilty of. When Stone was through, Vivam stood and said “Your honor, I present Genesis 25:29-34 into evidence. Jacob stole his brother’s birthright and then he and his mother deceived his father by even going so far as to wear a disguise to deceive his father Isaac. What a despicable man he must have been, yet God chose Jacob to be the father of Israel”, the scenes playing before everyone.

Stone jumped up and said, “Your honor is the defense going to be allowed to discredit every example that the prosecution gives”? The judge said “Settle down now Mr. Stone, it isn’t my fault or the defenses fault if you didn’t prepare your case properly. Now let’s move things along, what is your next evidence? Stone stood and said “Lust your honor, lust. The defendant has a record of being led to lust after women. The defendant became sexually active as a teenager, and for the sake of the court I am holding the evidence of this from the screen, but I count three girls to whom he was not married that he engaged in sexual relations with, and all before he met his wife Karen. The lust didn’t stop when he got married your honor; it seemed a theme every summer when women’s clothing became scarce, Mr. Tomei’s eyes would roam. I enter into evidence Matthew 5:28, which means Mr. Tomei not only lusted, but committed adultery each and every time he lusted.”
Mr. Vivam rose again and said “Objection your honor, I enter 2 Samuel 11, David not only physically engaged in adultery, but because of that he had the husband of the woman killed too. Yes, this was a despicable act to commit as well, yet in Acts 13:22 the Apostle Paul states that God Himself refers to David as “a man after My own heart”. Yet if Mr. Stone were to have his way, David would not be fit to inhabit the Kingdom with God as he does. Your Honor, even the Apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh, in Romans 7:15 he even said, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Are we going to continue to waste the courts time by pulling these things up one by one, we haven’t even gotten to the subject of grace yet your honor, but if this continues it will be my next response. Mr. Vivam then sat and looked to the judge.

The courtroom was silent as everyone looked to Stone for a response. Finally he stood and said “Your honor, I really didn’t want to, but I now present multiple examples of repeated sin that Mr. Tomei knew was wrong but chose to go ahead and do anyway. The screen flashed shameful scene after scene as Sal placed his head in his hands and began to weep silently. It was then that he felt a hand on his shoulder, and he looked over at Mr. Vivam, who had a slightly discernible smile on his face, and Sal couldn’t help but wonder what the lawyer still had up his sleeve. The audience continued to murmur as the scenes flashed before them. That’s enough Mr. Stone, the judge said, and once again the screen went blank, are you finished or should we expect more? Mr. Stone had a smirk on his face as he looked over at Sal and said “the prosecution rests your honor”.

Mr. Vivam slowly stood and looked toward the screen as an image came on of Sal on his knees beside his bed. “Dear God, please forgive me for the things I do, I am a sinful man with sinful ways. I want to be pleasing in your sight Lord, please give me the strength to change and become pleasing to you. I will never be able to earn one bit of my salvation, it is only through the blood of Your Son that I can be made worthy, so please wash me and make me white as snow in your sight, and remember my sins no more.” Your honor, Jesus blood was shed for this very type of sin, the sin that while he knew was wrong, the flesh was weak. Mr. Stone continues to waste the court’s time by trying to re-instate the Old Testament laws into New Testament judgment. I move that all charges against my client be dropped and the court recognize that he is indeed innocent, any and all sins quashed, forever forgotten and his soul made white as snow. With that, the screens all lit up again and the memories began to be deleted at lightning speed until they were all gone. The judge nodded and looked at Mr. Stone who surprisingly smiled at Sal and nodded too. The judge rapped the gavel once and said “case dismissed”.

Sal looked over at Mr. Vivam and said thank you, thank you so much! The defender smiled and peeled his gloves off one by one, then shook Sal’s hand. It was then that he noticed the scars on the defender’s wrists. Not knowing what to say, he looked at the Man for an answer. Jesus, My name is Jesus Christ, but sometimes I go by Aquam Vivam, which is Latin for Living Water. “Congratulations”, Sal turned to see Mr. Stone removing his gloves too; he also had scars on his wrists. My name is Peter, he said, although I have been called both a rock and a stone over the years. Sal couldn’t help but wonder, why did we have to go through all of this if you both knew how it would end? Peter answered, because you needed to be justified. Jesus had to defend you and that is why you are here. Without His sacrifice neither of us would be where we are now, free to spend an eternity in heaven with God. As they entered the white hallway again, it was no longer endless, but opened out into the clouds. Any questions Sal had were gone, as were any worries or anxieties, nothing but pure happiness remained as the transformed sinner walked between Jesus and Peter toward the clouds.

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The Trial- Part 3

The judge said to the prosecutor “You may proceed with your opening arguments Mr. Stone”. The prosecutor said “Thank you your honor. The court will prove Mr. Tomei’s guilt on the charges of conduct unbecoming based on fifty three years of repeated offenses-. “Objection your honor, are we going to judge Mr. Tomei from birth or from the time when he knew wrong from right, which in his case was from about the age of eleven”, the defending attorney asked? Sustained, Mr. Vivam, but let’s allow the prosecution a little latitude in stating their case, agreed? Okay your honor; the defender said waving a hand dismissively.

The annoyed prosecutor began again, “As I was about to state before I was interrupted, Mr. Tomei’s life is all the evidence we need to discover who his true god in life was. From the age of eleven then, he began breaking commandment after commandment, beginning with honoring his father and mother. I will lay out my case piece by piece until the evidence clearly shows that this soul is not fit to be in the same place as God our father. Nothing about him is innocent, and therefore he must be found guilty before this court”. Mr. Stone then took his seat at the prosecutor’s table and the courtroom became silent except the hushed whispers coming from the audience.

The judge then looked over at the defense table and said “Mr. Vivam”? The defense attorney stood and said “Your honor, I will prove today that my client is innocent of all charges and will be an asset to the kingdom of heaven”. He then sat back down and silence retook the courtroom once again. The judge then said, very well Mr. Stone, you may proceed.

Standing, the prosecutor said Your honor, the prosecution would like to enter into evidence exhibit 12-02-1972/15:38 as the first example of his violations. A screen on the wall came to life and Sal remembered it immediately, a fight with his dad when he was a kid. He had wanted to go out and play with his friends, but his father had said no because it was snowing. Sal had a runny nose already and his father didn’t want him to get a full on cold, so he must stay inside. Sal watched as he went to his room and looked out the window at his friends sledding at the hill across the street, he wanted to be with them so badly. His longing turned to anger against his father, and for the first time, he cursed his dad. “Broken commandments your honor, stated the prosecutor, if we aren’t going to hold souls accountable for them, then why have them? He then retook his seat and the judge looked over at the defense table as Mr. Vivam stood.
Your honor, I would like to enter into evidence Luke 15:11-32, and instantly the scene of Jesus telling of the parable of the prodigal son came onto the screen. Your honor, the son clearly did not honor his father, yet Jesus left the example of forgiveness in this parable.
“Objection your honor, Mr. Stone said shooting to his feet. Mr. Tomei showed no remorse for this sin, and forgiveness requires remorse”. Mr. Vivam continued “not the case your honor, in the example of the prodigal son, the example shows in verse 15, an argument could be made that the man was driven by hunger rather than remorse. Another argument could be made in verse 18-19 that the prodigal wasn’t convicted, but was planning what to say in an effort to manipulate the father into taking him back. Jesus made it plain that forgiveness doesn’t require remorse to be given.”
The judge looked over at Mr. Stone and said “he does have a point counselor, sustained”. I will have to overlook this evidence counselor. He then looked down and said, “Please continue Mr. Stone”.

Mr. Stone stood again and said, “If it pleases the court your honor, I would like to enter into evidence exhibit 07-04-1978/21:35. The screen came alive again, and the color drained from Sal’s face as he recognized the scene. It was in his friend Don’s bedroom, he had been seventeen, and Don’s parents had gone out of town for the weekend. There were beer bottles everywhere, ashtrays filled with stubby cigars and cigarettes, and his friend Kevin was passing him a bong. As the court watched Sal had drawn deeply from the pipe, and the view from Sal’s eyes was blurry at best. He wanted to stand and scream “stop, please”, but he couldn’t, and Mr. Stone let the tape roll as the boys began to talk about girls in their stoned stupor. It got worse and worse as the scene rolled on and on, and Mr. Vivam reached over and placed a hand on his. Looking to his lawyer, Mr. Vivam winked down at him.

To be continued.

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The Trial-Part 2

The hallway was so long he thought as he followed the man into the light. Finally Carson slowed and turned to the left, where a large set of double doors was visible. This is as far as I go he said, opening the doors for Sal. Thanks, I guess Sal said as he shook hands with the man and walked into the large cavernous room that lay beyond. After the door behind him was shut, the brightness was gone and a large courtroom lay before him and it was like something out of a movie.
Large panels of dark mahogany made up the walls all around with ornately carved crown molding around the top. The ceiling was covered in a mural like the Sistine chapel, with God’s hand reaching down out of the clouds and David’s hand reaching up. There was a full audience of people seated in pews on both sides of the entry, and they were all looking at him. A wooden fence separated them from two carved tables, prosecution and defense he assumed. The two teams of fine suited lawyers were also staring at him too. Behind a huge wooden desk up on a platform was a man wearing a black cloak, and Sal assumed correctly that he was the judge that would be presiding over the trial. One thing that struck Sal was how everyone was dressed. They were all wearing very formal clothing, and atop each person’s head was a silver wig, like the courts in days of old used to wear. It didn’t stop there, they were all wearing white pleated gloves too, including everyone in the audience; it was all very strange.
The judge motioned him forward as he felt someone take his arm and move him forward. Looking to his right, he saw that there was a bailiff in uniform holding him at the bicep. He was ushered through the gate and into the gallery at which point the judge looked up over his readers and said, “Salvatore Tomei, You have been remanded into the custody of the court of heaven by the prosecutor of earth until such a time as you can prove your innocence of the charges that have been leveled against you. You have been formally charged with “adultery, debauchery, lust, lying, cheating, stealing and the list goes on. Because of the complex nature of your charges, the prosecutor has agreed to reduce your charges to one all-encompassing charge. That charge is “conduct unbecoming a Christian” which carries a life sentence, an eternal life sentence that is, in the lake of fire if you fail to prove your innocence and are found guilty. How do you plead?
Sal stammered, terrified and convicted all at once, but before he could say anything the lawyer to his right shot up and said “your honor, my client pleads not guilty to all charges” and then as quickly as he spoke, he was silent once more. Okay, based on your not guilty plea you will have the right to due process, and your innocence will proven or disproven in this court, so please be seated. Sal was ushered to the defense table where he sat next to the fine dressed lawyer who would apparently be defending him. He leaned over and said hi, are we going to have some time to confer with one another first, before the trial begins, he asked? No, I don’t need any time to prepare, I have everything I need right here in my briefcase, he said. The man opened the battered leather case, but the inside looked nothing like he expected. The top portion was all screen, and the bottom was all keyboard, but there were thumbwheels and other things Sal didn’t recognize. The man leaned over and said “this will take a minute to boot up, so please be patient”. The screen came to life, and immediately he found himself looking into his mother’s eyes. She was younger than he ever remembered her being, she looked tired and she was swaying back and forth. The lawyer leaned over and said, “This is the first thing you ever saw in the book of your life, you were just born, and this is the memory of your mother holding you for the first time”.
This is the memory of your life the attorney said, patting the briefcase; your brain was downloaded into this case the moment your life ended on earth. The prosecution has an identical copy that they have used to build a case against you. Sal was fascinated looking into his mother’s eyes; she was so young and pretty. While he watched the lawyer swiped the mouse pad and the screen scrolled, landing on another face, a pretty girl he recognized right away, although he hadn’t thought about her in years. She was the first girl he had ever kissed, and he now recognized her face in the dark cab of his dad’s truck. He felt a cold chill run up his spine as he realized where he had been and what came next. The lawyer looked over and smiled, then swiped the scene to a different place; a beautiful snowcapped mountain took the place of the girl and Sal relaxed a bit as he recognized a ski trip he had been on as a youth. “Relax son, I’ve got this” said the lawyer, patting Sal’s shoulder, “This ain’t my first rodeo”.

To be continued.

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The Trial

Salvatore smiled down at the little guy walking with him along the riverbank with a fishing pole twice his height slung over his shoulder. They hadn’t caught much of anything, but it had been a wonderful day. Sal loved that kid more than he thought was possible; they were buddies in the warmest of ways, being a grandpa was great! They stowed the poles in the bed of the truck, popped open a couple of sodas from the ice chest and sat on the tailgate.

Sal sat quietly and listened as Josh told him all about Ms. Rose, his home room teacher. She was so pretty, and her lips were always so red,” how come ladies have different colored lips grandpa”? Sal chuckled and was going to explain lipstick when Josh went on, saying that he had seen ladies with pink lips, red lips, brown lips, and even one time at the mall he had seen one with black lips, and she was dressed all in black too. And how come all us guys lips are the same color grandpa? Sal was laughing inside as he chuckled again and told his grandson all about lipstick. If everyone has kinda pink lips to begin with grandpa, then why do the ladies all want to change the color of their lips, do they not like them? Before Sal could answer, Josh also said that he had also seen her hair color change, that sometimes it was lighter than others. Sal chuckled and said “Josh, we best save some of those mysteries for when you are older”; just know that the ladies will always be a mystery to some degree. Sal raised the tailgate and felt a sharp pain in his chest, but it left as soon as it came and he wrote it off to the jalapeno pepper he had eaten with his sandwich at lunch.

That night as Sal and Karen sat at the dinner table, he told her all about Josh and the questions he had asked. Sal became as animated as Josh had been as he did his best to recount everything. Karen laughed at the wonder in Josh, and the newfound wonder in her husband’s eyes. He had come alive again when Josh had arrived, and he was anxiously awaiting their daughter Tara to bring Josh’s sister into the world, but she still had two months to go, life was good. As Sal brushed his teeth before bed he had another stitch in his chest and thought “that darn pepper”. He took two Prilosec and headed for bed.

Sal woke abruptly, that stitch in his chest now a fire, but as soon as it came it also went and no longer hurt. He lay back down on his pillow and tried to go back to sleep, but it was no use, so he threw his feet over the side and stood up. No since in waking Karen up he thought, looking over at her sleeping quietly on her side, but what Sal saw next took his breath away. There on the bed next to her, with his head on the pillow was Sal; He was looking down on himself. Fear and dread flooded his soul as he did a double take and tried to figure out what was going on when he heard someone clear their throat behind him. He turned around and saw a man bathed in white standing behind him. The man extended his hand and said “hello, I am Carson, and I am here to escort you Sal, you have passed on.”

For lack of anything else to do, Sal cautiously took the proffered hand and walked through the bright doorway that now stood where Karen and his bathroom used to be. It was just like the accounts he had heard about, bright light and long hallway, I guess that’s good he thought as he followed the thing that called itself Carson down the hallway. Was it an angel he wondered, it didn’t seem to have any wings? As if in response, it turned and said “no, I am not an angel, but merely a resident of the kingdom of God. I help out with the transitions; it makes things easier if you have a guide. Sal lit up inside, “this is it, I have made it and I am actually about to see Heaven, he thought.” Sensing, no “knowing” his thoughts, Carson turned around and said “I’m sorry, but not yet Sal, first you must stand in judgment.”

But what about the white light, I thought that indicated I was in he asked? Everyone sees the light Sal, but everyone then needs to stand judgment before God before they are allowed to enter Heaven, that is the way of things here. Terrified, Sal resigned himself to the idea that he was no longer calling the shots, he hung his head and followed Carson down the hallway.

To be Continued.

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