Copyright 2010 by Zvi Zaks
Jonathan Worthyman, dressed in a plain white robe of humility, entered the quiet stone chapel. Trembling with nervousness, he prostrated himself in front of the massive wooden altar, his forehead heavy on the marble floor. His voice echoed in the gloomy room as he spoke the ritual words, "My Lord, I have sinned."
Bishop Linsey Archibald, an elderly, silver haired man in an embroidered white robe of authority, put his hands on the ancient sacrificial table and gave the ritual answer, "My child, you have. Are you ready to be cleansed?"
"Yes, my Lord," Jonathan said.
The men’s bishop sighed. "Jon, I’ve known you almost since you were conceived. You’re like a son to me. Why did you do it?" he asked, breaking the ritual. The priest walked around the altar and looked down at the abased man. "I’ve always been so proud of you. You were a model Covenant student and youth missionary leader. Now you’re a conscientious father and a respected schoolteacher. So why did you betray the Church? Why were you unchaste?"
Bright sunlight penetrated the stained glass windows, illuminating the altar and the bishop’s head with yellow and red, but leaving the penitent in even deeper shadow. Jonathan said only, "I was weak, my Lord," and pressed his forehead more firmly against the hard stone. His neck ached.