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2 Father Adriel, I have an urgent message for you! Father Nebo Adriel did not answer. Brother Kohen rounded the corner of the ancient, gothic style sanctuary to see the priest on his knees, hands folded in prayer. Embarrassed now for having sacrilegiously yelled across the church, the young priest slowly sat down in a pew. With his hands gripping the bench in front of him he gently leaned forward in a focused attempt to hear the prayer quietly being chanted by the Father Nebo. The young man was confused. Minutes before Adriel had resigned to his office after making his rounds as he had done virtually every morning for the previous twenty years. It was not like him to randomly change his routine. Kohen could hear the chant but did not understand the language. He presumed it to be one of the many dead languages his mentor spoke and often translated from ancient texts, but what he desperately wanted to know was what had

3 incited such a passionate and intense session of prayer? For fear of interrupting his mentor Kohen remained seated and watched Adriel from the distance. The young man lost track of time as he reflected on the sanctuary and his own spirituality. The stone arches that soared above him exaggerating the emptiness of the temple. The worn engraving on the dirty stone walls told him stories of a time when Gods children bore him a much wider scope of respect. He marveled at the intricate detail of the artwork and wondered about the spirituality of a soul capable of such craftsmanship. It gave him strength to believe such a man may have once preyed in the very spot where he sat. Our world once teamed with the faithful and reverent. Belief in God had become a dying ember whose precious flame lived only in the hearts of a few hundred believers. Their earthly bodies, if collected from the corners of the globe,

4 would have sparsely filled the Yetom sanctuaries pews. Kohen did not know if it was the anxiety over Adriels sudden bout of prayer, or his own reflection on the slow death of religion, but that crumbling church had never felt so vacant. The chanting stopped and after a moment Adriel slowly rose, first to one knee and then with the help of a grip from his left hand he pulled himself up on an ancient wooded pulpit. As he stood the priest released a soft groan then stood silently, unaware that he was being watched. His hand slowly moved across the grain of the wooden podium before turning towards the pews. Kohen could tell by the priests gate, and the way the middle aged, portly cleric slowly walked up the aisle that something was wrong. Nebo Adriel arrived a short time before wearing his normal, joyful and positive disposition. Now his mood and posture had clearly degraded to something closer to dread or depression. Stopping

5 beside the still seated Kohen, the priest placed his left hand on the young mans shoulder. The caring, gentle touch was none the less heavy with some unspoken sorrow. My son, I am afraid our prayers have gone unanswered for now. The peace negotiations have failed. I heard the news reports just a bit ago in my office. Kohen shifted his seating allowing room for Adriel to sit. They set side by side looking forward with distressed and empty stares. Is that all that bothers you, Father? We have been at war for months. I would contend that the war should be the last item our list of daily concerns following, you know, keeping the church open, the hungry orphans, batching wine to meet Adonins standards and even putting a little food in our own mouths. Has this war really affected our mission, Father?

6 Nebo appreciated the young mans attempt to lighten his mood. He was concerned about resuming rebel raids. Even in peace times his allocation of rations for the orphanage and his small staff were prioritized behind government and civil allotments. His role in securing food and resources for the local underprivileged was a daily struggle taking the best of his political and negotiation skills. What concerned him was a deeper sense of dread that he could not explain. It was something like a premonition with out the gift of any specific voice or vision. The fear had been building for weeks and seemed to be climaxing with this most recent news. The dread was so terrible that it was making the middle aged priest ill. I am sure you are correct, Kohen, things could not deteriorate much more, could they? Adriel chuckled a bit, relaxing the tension in the air. He did so more for the young priests morale than any other reason. Kohen

7 laughed a little as well and released a sigh of relief. I almost forgot, Father, you received a message shortly after you arrived this morning. A stranger delivered a small box of donations with an envelope stuffed inside addressed to you. He left as quickly as he came. Kohen handed him the sealed envelope containing a yellowing old page that appeared to be from an equally aged book. Adriel read the note to himself. We have only met once, briefly, when I was an orphan child at Yetom. I need to give you something of great importance. You are a man who has sacrificed his life for others which gives me faith you will make a righteous decision on what to do with the knowledge. Even writing you this hand written note is dangerous and I can not give you any more details in this note. Trust that I

8 mean you no harm but that I am asking of you a great responsibility that could be dangerous. The responsibility, however, may also offer you a chance to renew faith in God for millions of people. I will be at the old industrial complex this afternoon. You will find me in your fathers building. Adriel quickly closed the note and tried to disguise his shock. He slipped the page back into the envelope and then into a pocket under his tan robe. His head was moving around randomly as if he was trying to remember something he had forgotten. He mumbled two words over and over barely above a whisper as if trying to solve a puzzle. My father? My Father? My Father?

Brother Kohen looked confused. It appeared as if Nebo was trying to remember something. What is it, Adriel? What did it say? Something about your father?

9 There was a moment of silence leaving Kohen to believe that his question had fallen on def ears. Before he could repeat his question Adriel turned to him and grabbed both of his shoulders. His eyes were dishes filled with a childish excitement. Temple Abba. Kohens eyes shriveled and his face wrinkled with confusion. Adriel was neither answering him nor making any sense. Father Nebo, It is strange that you speak of Temple Abba, as we received an odd radio message this morning on the old communications system. I dismissed it as a message clearly intended for someone other than our church. What did it say, Kohen? Temple Abba: 02:00 Hours. The package will be delivered. Kohen, are you sure that is all it said?

10 Yes, father, I am sure. Does that message have something to do with the letter in the box? Kohen, I will need you to mind the sanctuary today while I take the rations to the orphanage. I will also be running a personal errand and may not be back until the morning. Will you be O.K., here, with out me? Yes, father, but where are you going that will take all day? The streets are dangerous even for someone my age. Perhaps we should find someone to accompany you? I will be fine, Kohen, do not worry. But Adriel, the rebels, and the martial law, where are you going? Adriel placed his hand on the young clerics face, took hold of his opposite arm just above the elbow and looked the young man

11 in the eye with a determined and determined confidence. This is the end of the discussion. I appreciate your concern but I will be in Gods strong hands. There will no more discussion of this today. We are Gods children and we have chores to attend to. Kohen gave him a doubtful but respectful nod of acceptance.