Exemplum Essay

This essay has a total of 897 words and 4 pages.

Exemplum




He did not know why he was reading the pamphlet that was handed to him when he boarded the
train. He had often seen people handing out these little booklets to passers-by. The man
had even taken a few in the past to be polite, but they were always “filed” in the nearest
wastebasket. This one was entitled “The Gospel of John.” He had forgotten to purchase a
newspaper to read during the ride home for this long awaited three-day weekend. So rather
than sleep or view the passing scenery, the man decided to read the pamphlet. It is not
that he was unfamiliar with the text; he had heard little bits of it on an occasional
Sunday. However, today was the first time he actually read, “For God so loved the world,
He gave his only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have
eternal life.” He found it hard to believe that God, or anyone for that matter, would
sacrifice his son for others.

The commuter stopped reading as the train entered a canyon along a river. He decided the
scenery was more interesting than the reading material, so he turned his gaze and watched
the rock formations of the canyon as they passed his window. As the train rounded the
final blind curve that would bring them over the river, he was surprised to catch a
glimpse of the drawbridge as it completed its closing motion. He had never seen this
before and the grace with which this large structure closed fascinated him. It also gave
him a bit of a fright, because the train was rapidly approaching the bridge. This concern
was voiced to the conductor, who told him that for the first time in his memory, the train
was running ahead of schedule by approximately twenty minutes. The conductor guessed that
this might be the reason for the man’s observation. The conductor assured him neither he
nor the rest of the passengers were in danger. There was always someone at the bridge
whose job it was to close the bridge according to the train’s schedule or when the warning
lights showed the approach of an early train. This time the lights notified the worker,
which was why the commuter saw the bridge closing. The man looked for this worker as the
train passed over the bridge, but wherever this “keeper-of-the-bridge” was, he was not in
view. The rest of the trip was uneventful. The man arrived home earlier than normal and
he was happy for that. He was looking forward to a well-deserved rest, and it was
beginning about one half hour earlier than expected, thanks to the speed of the train.

The weekend went quickly, too quickly for him. As he left the train for the walk to his
office on Tuesday morning, he picked up a newspaper to read. Unfortunately, the man had
no time to read the paper at work. The day was a busy one. So much for the day off, it
seemed as though everyone needed something, and needed it yesterday. In what seemed like
no time at all, he was headed back for his train. The commuter wondered if the train
would run ahead of schedule again; he liked getting home early. As he approached the
train, he saw the man who had given him the pamphlet the Friday before. He inadvertently
made eye contact, so he was handed another booklet to read. He glanced at it as he went
into his train-car and noticed it was the same one he was given the other day. He tossed
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