Roanoke Church of Christ



“So you’re the newbie? What’s your name?”


“That’s a good Italian name. I’ll bet it’s Anthony.”

“Yeah. I was named after my father.”

“Well, Tony, my name is Philip. This is my last one. After today I’m transferring to another duty. I took this position because my wife wanted me in off the streets. She was afraid I’d be killed. What made you chose this job?”

“I need to be able to go home at night. I have a little boy who has some birth defects. It takes all my wife has to care for him and our other children during the day.”

“Sorry to hear that. Listen, one of the things about this job is we are expected to do it right. I take a certain pride in what I do. You see, being the person who takes another person’s life is an important thing. If you’re going to last at this job, and I’ve been doing this here and there for twenty years, you’re going to have to realize that being an executioner is not personal. We are here to fulfill the laws of the land. We don’t judge or feel anything for the criminal. They have been tried by the court and we carry out the sentence. It’s no difference than going to arrest someone. We carry out orders. We don’t make the laws.”

“I know. I also know we didn’t cause the criminal to do whatever it was that caused the them to be caught and convicted. But this being my first time, did it bother you the first time you were part of an execution team?”

“Yeah, and that was the last time I let it get to me. I couldn’t sleep the night after the execution. I made the mistake of looking into his eyes. He was just a young kid who had joined a terrorist group and killed one of our officers. He was just a dumb kid, but he committed a capital crime. There is no stability of law if people think they can go around killing police officers. But I looked at him. He was so frightened. His eyes begged me to somehow save him. His knees collapsed and he wet himself as the officers handed him over to us. He was sobbing and shaking all over as I spread his arms out and strapped them down. I thought I was going to be sick. To tell the truth, after it was over I was. But that was a long time ago. It’s not a matter of getting hardened to it, at least not for me. It was a matter of law. It has to be done according to the law. We live in a world of laws. Without law we would have chaos in the streets. People have to believe in and respect that fact that the laws are made for their protection and the betterment of society. So let me give you some advice, don’t look the prisoner in the eye. Now, I’ve seen some of them who stomped up as if they were stronger than death itself. I’ve heard them cussing and daring me to give them a chance at my throat. I’ve looked at them, hard. I stare them down and I’ve even laughed in their face. Those are the animals out there who have lost any humanity they might have had at birth. As time passes, you will be able to tell when they are brought to you if they are afraid or not.”

“Have you ever worried about killing someone who was innocent?”

“Look Tony, no one is innocent who gets to this point. If they aren’t guilty of what brought them here, they are guilty of what should have brought them here but they got away with. No one comes here with a clean record.”

“No one? What about that kid you talked about?”

“Okey, but he committed a capital crime against a police officer. The law says that is a crime worthy of the death penalty. And I agree. Sure, there are some cases where it is a first offense, but it is a capital offense. You have to keep in mind this has nothing to do with us. It’s the law and we are here to carry it out. One other thing. Some who do this like to be cruel and taunt the prisoner. I don’t do that. We both know what they go through before they get here. I don’t like to add to that. The law has spoken and that’s enough. Get ready, I think they’re on the way.”

“Philip, we both believe in the law, but what would happen if a brother, or some other close relative were sentenced to death on your shift?”

“That would never happen because I would ask to be relieved and it would be granted.”

“So there’s more to it than just the law. There are times when the person is more than just a lawbreaker condemned to die. And in each case there could be someone who is related in some way that feels pain for that person. I know the law has no heart, but people do.”

“Of course! But justice is blind. Justice only carries out the law, it has no heart or eyes. Now, when they bring him to us, lay him down and secure his arms and I’ll get his ankles.”

“Do you think anyone will be here to say goodbye to him?”

“I doubt it. Don’t you know what he was convicted of?”


“He’s the leader of a terrorist group who wants to overthrow the government. He has followers scattered all over the place.”

“Did he kill anyone?”

“No. But treason and terrorism is a capital crime. It’s simply a matter of killing the snake by cutting off it’s head. If there is anyone here to witness his death it will probably be only a few family members. His mother will likely be here. You can always see the mothers out there. There’s something about a mother’s love that never fades.”

When the man arrived, Tony made sure he didn’t look at the prisoner’s face. He concentrated on his arms and hands. He’d heard that some who are about to die have extraordinary strength.

“Hey Tony. This one comes with special circumstances. He’s got his own sign.”

“What does it say?”

“King of the Jews.”


Mary Smith was able to be with us last Sunday and she looked great! Eleanor Crush is receiving treatment for her cancer. She is at home. Pray for little Maci Winebarger as she recovers from surgery for very serious cancer. Jamie King, Stephanie Dixon’s boss’s daughter, has been moved to Raleigh Court Healthcare for rehabilitation from a car accident. She is expected to make a full recovery. Randy Conner has malignant cancer. Remember his wife Debbie and his family. Mike Breeding (heart problems), Joanne Elder and Erma Williams, as well as others who need employment. Joni Beach’s mother is about the same. Alan Beach had a good review at Mayo this time. Just a few places need to be watched and eventually treated locally. Connie Crites father is getting more and more frail each day. He has heart related problems as does Helen Nicklas. Roger Fisher’s nephew in Florida seems to be responding well with his cancer treatment. Remember Jenni and Wilma Cullum, Tim Elder, the people in the world who are dealing with strife, hunger, loss of homes and life, and the political unease in several
places. Remember the work of Health Talents Int. And Bread For A Hungry World.
A thank you card from Bryon Lewis, who made a presentation for the Gideons notes that we gave $545.00 toward placing bibles around the world. The card is on the downstairs bulletin board.

Monday: Hosea 11:1-9
Tuesday: Matthew 10:24-39
Wednesday: Exodus 16:1-36
Thursday: Luke 7:36-50
Friday: John 13:31-38;18:15-27
Saturday: Psalm 103:1-22

Monday: Matthew 6:1-18
Tuesday: Psalm 96:1-13
Wednesday: Matthew 6:19-34
Thursday: Luke 23:26-43
Friday: James 1:5-18
Saturday: Romans 8:26-39
The announced work day for Saturday was postponed due to the weather. So we are going to try again this coming Saturday. We need to do some cleaning up behind the annex before the Easter Egg Hunt next Sunday. This will be mostly stacking cut branches where we can cut and use them for kindling, as well as cleaning off the hillside and the area where the trees have been cut. In case of rain on Saturday, KW will be working back there a little during the week. This will be the kind of work for both men and women. Nothing really heavy, just moving limbs and such.

On Easter Sunday we will have our annual Easter Egg Hunt for the little ones. Holly Wagner and her helpers will fill and hide the eggs. We do not need any plastic eggs. If you will, bring one bag of any of the following wrapped fun-sized candy. Skittles, M&M, or Fruit Snacks..

The “hunt” will take place as soon as the service is over and it will be behind the annex and in the annex yard. It is for children up to the third grade.

Today, April 17, is Super Sunday. Hopefully the rains will be over and we can all enjoy the beautiful spring colors as well as the good food and fellowship. Be sure to stay for the meal following the service. You will also be able to see the difference the tree cutting has made behind the annex.

From Mary Smith: Dear Church Family, “Thank you” are two small words, but they express my great appreciation for your prayers, expressions of concern, your visits, the food and the money offers of help during my confinement.

To the church youth group, you made my day when I opened your card and read all your names! May God bless you.
In Christ, Mary Smith.

We also received letters from our ABC children, Luis Alexander Perez Nicolas and Nery Noe Perez Nicolas. They are hand-made and will be read this morning and then they, along with all the other cards, will be placed on the downstairs bulletin board.

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