Abner Rolls the Stone

No one could believe what was happening down on earth. All the angels in the Kingdom of heaven were worried about what they saw unfold down below.

It was a very sad Friday. The angels saw Jesus arrested. He was judged by the Jewish high council. Sent on to Ponitus Pilate, then Herod and then back to Pilate who, in the end agreed to allow Jesus to be crucified.

They made Jesus carry his cross. When they reached the place where they crucified him, the soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross. There he had died. He was placed in a tomb with a giant stone in front. The Son of God, Jesus, was dead.

A small family of angels sat at dinner. They didn’t talk very much. After what happened that day they just didn’t feel much like talking. Then, finally, Abner spoke.

“Dad, it has been such a bad day, so sad. I don’t understand. Why did Jesus have to die? It was so mean.”

“You are right about that, son,” said his father, Gabriel. “It is a very, very sad day. Many people, and angels, here in heaven and on earth, have cried a lot today. But, ever since God created the world, He has let people decide what they will do. Sometimes they make good choices. Sometimes they make bad choices. This does not seem to be a good choice.”

“I just can’t believe it happened,” said Abner’s older sister Carmen. “It seems like it was just last week that my choir sang at his birth, and now he is dead.” “So is God mad at all those humans?” asked Abner.

“I think right now, God is just sad. I think God knew this was going to happen but he hoped it might be different. Like all of us, God cried a lot today,” said his father.

“I knew God was sad when the world went dark today. It was sad and it was spooky,” said Abner’s mother.

“Yeah, it scared me.” said Abner’s other sister Eleanor.

“Jesus did so much for people down there on earth,” said Abner. “He healed sick people. He gave blind people back their sight. He fed them when they were hungry. He

tried to teach them a happier, better way to live. Then they killed him.”

“I don’t think they really knew what Jesus was trying to do,” said Carmen.

“You are right about that,” said their father.

“Dad,” asked Abner, “God has punished the people on earth before because they were bad and mean. This is the worst thing they have ever done. How do you think

God will punish them this time?”

“Abner I don’t really know,” said Gabriel. “I just don’t think I would want to be a human living on earth during the next few days. If God wants to punish people it could be bad. It could be really bad.”

As the family left the dinner table, Abner said, “I guess we will have to wait and see what happens.”

The next day, when Gabriel came home he called out, “Abner! Abner! Are you here? I need you. It’s really important.”

“Hey Dad,” said Abner as he ran into the room. “You seem excited. Is something on fire? What’s up?”

“God wants you to go with me and two other angels down to earth tonight. I am not sure why. I was just told we have to meet up with the other angels at the park tonight and that we would probably be gone all night,” said Gabriel.

“All night?” asked the young angel’s mother.

“That’s what I was told,” said Gabriel. “I don’t know why or what Abner, me and the others will be doing.”

“If that is what God wants,” Abner said, “I will be there. I am ready to go, whatever God might want us to do.”

“Well, you aren’t leaving without eating a good dinner first!” replied his mother.

“Go get cleaned up while I make you something to eat.”

Two hours later, Abner met up with the other angels. Gabriel sent Abner ahead while he went to learn what they would do that night. Abner was surprised to find that the other two angels at the park were his two best friends, Remo and Zeke.

“What are you guys doing here?” asked Abner.

“When our dads came home today they said for us to be here. We were supposed to meet you and your dad, and that your dad would know what we would need to do.”

“Well, Dad has gone to find out,” said Abner. “He should be here in a few minutes.”

Then, just as Abner finished talking, Gabriel flew into the park.

“Well, our job tonight,” Gabriel said, “we are to go move a rock down on earth. I am not sure why we need to move the rock. God just said we would understand when the job was done. He picked the three of you because you are young and strong.”

“OK,” said Abner, “but I’ve never heard of angels moving rocks before, normally we would help people.”

Remo and Zeke quickly agreed.

“Well, angels don’t question God,” said Gabriel. “We just go and we do the things God asks us to do. I think we need to get going. Just like God wants people to do His will, God expects us angels to do what He wants us to do too. Let’s fly.”

The four angels then flew from heaven to earth ready for the job God had given them to do.

When the angels arrived on earth, they found themselves looking at a huge gigantic rock.

“How are we ever going to move that rock?” Zeke asked Gabriel. “That thing is

HUGE!”

“I am not as worried about the rock as I am about the Roman guards that are standing around the rock,” said Remo.  Those are some scary looking dudes.”

“Both of you guys are right,” said Abner. “But remember what they taught us in school. With God everything is possible and God will give us whatever we need to get the job done when we follow God’s will. Isn’t that right Dad?”

“Everything all you guys are saying is true,” said Gabriel. “The rock is huge. The guards are scary. And, with God on our side we will get the job done.”

Just then, one of the guards saw the four angels. “Who goes there?” shouted the guard to the angels. Then the guards rushed toward the small group of angels.

“There are more of them than there are of us,” shouted Zeke.

“What are we going to do?” asked Remo.

Just then one of the guards was right by Abner. Abner reached out his hand and touched one of the guards. As soon as Abner touched him, the guard fell to the ground and was sound asleep. That guard was quickly followed by another. Abner reached out and touched him too. Like the first guard, when Abner touched the second guard, he fell to the ground and went to sleep too.

“Wow!” yelled Abner. “Dad, Guys, just reach out and touch them with your hand.

When you do they will fall asleep.”

“Thanks, Abner,” said his father. The three started touching the guards around them, and just as had happened for Abner, the others fell asleep.

“Well, I guess we didn’t need to worry about the guards,” said Abner.

“Yeah, that was a pretty easy problem to solve,” said Remo.

“That is true my friend,” said Zeke. “We solved one problem, but we still have another problem to work out and it is HUGE!”

“You are right about that Zeke,” said Gabriel. “I am just not sure how four of us are going to push such a big rock out of the way. Why don’t we just get behind it and push. Maybe it will roll out of the way.”

The four angels got behind the rock and they started to push. They pushed and pushed and pushed. The rock would not move.

“Are you pushing as hard as you can Zeke?” asked Remo.

“Of course I am pushing hard Remo,” said Zeke.

“OK guys,” said Gabriel. “We will never get the job done is we spend our time arguing. We need to work together. What if we took that long stick over there and tried to pry the rock out of the way?”

“It’s worth a try,” said Zeke. He went over and picked up the large stick. They stuck one end under the rock and tried to pry the rock out of the way. It just wouldn’t move.

“I thought the guards were going to be hard,” said Remo. “This rock is what is really hard. Will we ever get it to move.”

“Let’s all take a break and think for a minute,” said Gabriel. “Surely we can come up with a plan that will work.”

“I’m all for that,” said Zeke as he went over to another, smaller rock and sat down. Remo and Gabriel went over to join him.

Abner had stayed quiet through all of the conversation. He wasn’t talking. He was just thinking.

“I think I may have to go back up to heaven,” said Gabriel. “This rock is just too big. I think we are going to need more help.” Zeke and Remo nodded their heads. They thought Gabriel was right.

Abner heard his dad even though he wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention.

Something was bothering him.

“Abner!” said his father. “Come over here and rest for a minute. You need a break too. We all need a break. Don’t worry. We will figure it out. We won’t let God down.”

“I know, I know,” said Abner. I will be there in a minute as he looked around. He was thinking. “What is bothering me? We are missing something. What are we doing wrong? What is it?” Then Abner remembered.

Abner knelt down in the dirt. The others thought he was going to sit down right there. “Abner, why don’t you come sit with us?” asked Remo.

Abner waved off his friend and continued to kneel in the dirt. “Abner,” Zeke

Abner Rolls the Stone

started to say, but Gabriel stopped him.

“I think Abner might be on to something,” said Gabriel. “He is kneeling in the dirt because he is going to pray.”

“God, you sent us here to move this giant rock. You only sent four of us. That means four angels is all we need to get the job done. Four is all we need if we do it right, if we do it with you. Give me the strength we need to move the rock, O God. Amen.”

Abner stood up from the dirt and walked to the huge rock. He started pushing. “Abner,” shouted the others. “Wait. We can help” shouted Remo and Zeke.

“You are going to hurt yourself trying to move that huge rock by yourself,” said his father. “You need help.”

“No, I won’t,” said Abner. “With God, I can do anything.”

Abner kept pushing as the other three angels walked toward him. Then the stone started to move. It rolled an inch. Then two. Then five. It rolled a foot and then two feet. Abner kept pushing and the rock kept moving. Soon the rock started to roll and it moved completely out of the way.

“Wow Abner,” said Remo. “You are super strong.”

“No,” replied Abner. “I am not any stronger than you guys. And, I know I’m not stronger than my Dad. But I remembered, with God, all things are possible. So, I prayed that God would give me the strength to move that rock.”

“That’s right Abner,” came a voice from inside the cave.

The voice soon got the attention of the small group of angels. The younger angels became scared again. Gabriel had a pretty good idea what was going on now.

“It’s OK boys. God said when the stone was moved we would understand.” “Well,” said Zeke. “The stone is moved and I still don’t understand.” “Neither do I,” agreed Remo.

“I think I do,” said Abner. “Is this Jesus’ tomb Dad?” “I do believe it is,” said Gabriel.

“You are right,” said Jesus as he reached the entrance to the tomb. “It is my tomb.”

“But, but, you are dead,” said Zeke.

“I told people before,” said Jesus, “I would rise on the third day.” “Now you have,” said Abner.

“I have,” said Jesus. “And with the help you four have given me, I can show the world  have risen. Thank you for rolling away the stone Abner.”

“Wow. This is so cool,” said Remo. “Can we do anything else to help you

Jesus?”

“Well Remo,” said Jesus, “There is one more thing. I have to go to Galilee. Abner, since you got me out, I need you to stay here. There will be people coming to prepare my body for final burial. I need you to wait for them. Ask them ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead?’ Tell them, ‘He has gone ahead to Galilee just like he told you he would.’ Tell them to go and tell the disciples and Peter that I will meet them there.

“As for you Gabriel, Zeke and Remo, go and watch over the road from the city

Abner Rolls the Stone

and see that the women have no trouble getting here but don’t show yourselves if you don’t have to do so,” Jesus said. “Now, let’s all go.”

And, Gabriel, Zeke and Remo left, flying of toward Jerusalem. Jesus stood with Abner.

“Abner, thank you for your work and remembering how important it is to pray when we are going to do something big. Your prayer helped you move the stone. By moving the stone you helped me. That is good work.” Jesus said.

“Thank you Jesus,” said Abner. I will tell the women what you said when they get here. I won’t let you down.”

“I know you won’t Abner,” Jesus said. “Bye for now.”

“Bye Jesus,” said Abner as Jesus walked away. When Jesus was out of Abner’s sight, he climbed up and sat down on top of the rock he had moved a few minutes before.

Abner remained there for perhaps a half hour. Angels have trouble keeping track of time. God’s time isn’t the same as human time and angels work more on God’s time. Then he heard voices coming toward him. He waited, then he saw the women coming toward the tomb. His father, Zeke and Remo flew just above the women, out of sight.

Suddenly Abner’s face began to shine like the sun and his clothing became very white as the women came to the tomb.

“You don’t need to be afraid,” Abner said to the women. “I know you are looking for Jesus. He’s not here. He has risen just like he said. Now, go back to the city and tell his disciples and Peter to go to Galilee and they will find him just like he said. You can go with them to Galilee too. He gave me this message to give to you.”

So the women turned around and started back to Galilee. Abner joined his father, Zeke and Remo and watched over the women as they were returning to Jerusalem. Suddenly Jesus appeared and began to talk with the women. The women dropped to the ground and worshipped Jesus. The angels saw Jesus help them to their feet.

Jesus then said, “Go quickly and tell the disciples to come with you to Galilee and I will see all of you there.” The women got to their feet and ran toward Jerusalem. Jesus then looked up at the four angels, giving them a wink and a wave, then he was gone.

The assignment was over for the angels and they returned home. There were lots of stories to tell about what happened to Abner, Gabriel, Zeke and Remo. All of them shared their adventure with their families.

A few days later Gabriel came home. “God was really pleased with the work you and your friends did when you rolled away the stone,” Gabriel said. “You now have your first permanent assignment.” The women that Zeke, Remo and I watched over, you three are their angels. You are too watch over them. And Abner, your special assignment is to watch over Mary the mother of Jesus. She is very special and God wants you to personally see to her care. Do you think you can do it?”

“Dad, with God beside me, I know I can do anything.”

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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