+JMJ+ A note on the writing. I’m writing a book And working my way into the writing, which is what this experiment is, a journey into the writing. So the journey in the title refers both to the story itself and to my writing my way toward the story.
I’ve been gathering articles, books, and videos on the times of Jesus, the culture, the land, all sorts of things. I’ve been making notes, really, for years since I first had the idea to write something for this Biblical character. Let’s see, it’s been probably ten years, at least, since I first wanted to write this. I’ve opened up the project, worked on it a bit, which means, added more notes, looked up a few more things, made even more notes, then closed it up again. Now, after all of these years I feel that I’m ready to write it. Almost.
I’m beginning to be able to see some of the story, beginning to sense a dim outline. I’ve only recently found some things I definitely want to include, and some other things I still need to figure out—no, that’s not quite it. I don’t need to figure out how to work these things in. If they need to go in, then they will. What I need to do is soak in the story some more, soak in the Biblical accounts and in some other ones as well. Then what needs to be “worked in” will be there where and when it needs to be.
And the most important thing of all, I need more prayer, meaning I need to pray more and I’m asking you to pray, too, if you don’t mind, if you’re the praying kind. I need all the help I can get, don’t ya know. You’re in my prayers, too. You, yeah, you, reading this right now, you are in my prayers.
A Journey – Part 2
I am writing this down to help me understand. I don’t know if anyone else will ever read it, but it helps me. Perhaps I’ve been spending too much time with the community, now I want to spend money and ink and scrolls writing down thoughts instead of accounts. So wasteful, I can hear my family, see their disapproving faces now. Ah, well. It’s my money, I earned it myself, and I’ll waste it if I want to.
I want to see him again. I need to see him. Now that only a few family members remain in the home, I am the patriarch of the family. First-born. Eldest. So much has changed but I have this—I don’t know what to call it. I have to see him. I need to talk to him. I don’t dare mention this to anyone at home. I know they wouldn’t understand. They have no idea about what’s going on within my mind, my heart, my soul. I don’t either. I’m just as confused as they would be.
I’ve been sneaking away to talk with the holy men at the community for a couple of years now. Whenever I can manage to slip away on a “business” trip, I try to arrange a visit. I am drawn to them, the way they live, the way I feel when I’m there, the peacefulness, and yet the bustle of activity. There is always something going on, new works being produced, new ideas, prophecies being examined. And I’m not the only one. Really, I’m surprised that I haven’t run into anyone who’s recognized me yet. Not that I want them to, Lord, and not that I think I’m such a big shot. But it’s not the sleepy backwater I expected it to be after listening to some very disparaging remarks about it from some fellow Pharisees in the Sanhedrin. Perhaps it was just professional jealousy.
Until recently I’ve only read their scrolls during my visits. But as soon as I had money of my own with no one to answer to, I was able to commission a few. And since I’ve been visiting them for so long, I’ve made some friends there. One friend has been most helpful and seems to understand what I’m going through, whatever that is. He has shown me a place nearby where I can stay during my visits. I bring whatever the community needs that I can provide, whatever they will take from an outsider, and he brings me things to read and we talk during whatever time he can take away from his duties. And, oh, the conversations. There is so much to learn! And I am fascinated, more than I ever expected to be.
Some say that John, the Baptizer, was here. Some say he grew up here. I wish I had paid attention to these things when I was younger, but I wasn’t interested then. I wasn’t interested in the family business, either. I wanted to travel. Wanted to see the world, travel the Empire. This did not make me popular with other members of the family. And since becoming a member of the Sanhedrin I must be careful not to draw attention to my “odd predilections” as they are described by everyone I know, family or otherwise.
Almost everyone. There is one who understands, I think. We have had a few conversations when we’ve met during some business transactions, and he’s dropped a few hints. At first I thought he was trying to trap me but I’ve come to realize that he is as anxious as I am to have someone to talk to, someone who won’t be horrified that he entertains these ideas, or these people. A good Pharisee wouldn’t be mixing with them, would he? I don’t know, perhaps I’m not a good Pharisee.
And as drawn to the community as I am, I’m drawn to him even more. No, not the Pharisee. Him. The one people are calling the Messiah. The Teacher. I thought the Teacher of Righteousness was something, but this one—and he’s so different from the young man I remember from my days visiting his home in Nazareth so long ago. Different in some ways, the same in others. He always had a quiet authority, but now there is a boldness that I can’t understand but I feel it whenever he is nearby. There is something startling about him, even though I’ve known him—not well, mind you, but I have known him since I was a boy. He was older than I was and we moved, shall we say, in different circles. But we commissioned works from them, the father and son, and later, the son. And the whole family was always so kind to us when we visited to make arrangements. So though I never knew him well, I have known him for many years now. And yet I do not know him at all.
I just had the strangest conversation with the man I was telling you about. He wants to go with me the next time I go to the community. He seemed troubled—no, that’s not the right word. Excited, he seemed excited about something and I’m filled with apprehension but even more curiosity. He dropped a hint about a conversation he had with another teacher and I think he meant my friend. (I really shouldn’t call him my friend, I don’t know him that well.) Honestly, I think that if anyone had overheard us he would have been distraught.
But it’s arranged. We will travel together, Nico and I, and spend a day, maybe two. At least one of my scrolls should be ready and I will take something special for my friends there, especially the one I know the best.
As uncertain as I am about the trip, I find that I am looking forward to getting out of Jerusalem for a while. I’ve been hearing things about my old friend, acquaintance, the rabbi. Most of what I hear in the Sanhedrin is critical, even spiteful. So different from what I hear in the streets. There he is known as the Wonder Worker, the Healer. Some have gone so far as to call him the Messiah. Can this be the same man I have known since I was a boy?
End Part 2
Now that this is going on past the May Book of the Month, ongoing story links will be on the Fiction page.
Thank you for visiting and reading my continuing experiment. I hope you’ll join me again wherever we’re going, wherever that is. I have some idea but mostly I’m discovering the story as I go. It’ll all be rewritten before I turn it into a book. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, please stay safe and well, virtuous and holy, and most of all, let the Spirit work in you so that you become who you were meant to be: a SAINT! May the Lord bless and keep you and yours, and may His peace be always with you. +JMJ+
Image: From the east, Nazareth, Holy Land, from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
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