+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 journey in the story itself and to my writing my way toward the story. Come along with me. Let’s see what happens together.
A Journey – Part 7
Dinner with the tentmaker. He was polite and after some polite conversation we had a interesting talk about prophecy and theology. It soon went over my head and I was on the verge of making my excuses and slipping away when something he said caught my attention. He brought it up so casually, I can’t help but think he was trying to catch me out. And it wasn’t so much what he said as the way he said it. Have I heard about miracle man. Have I, indeed! Who hasn’t? No one would accuse me of having my finger on the pulse of Judea, or even Jerusalem, but even the shepherds in the fields have heard about the miracle man.
I half-think that he half-expected me to gush about him and hoped I would call him the Messiah. Don’t get me wrong, he’s one of the best speakers I’ve heard in a long time—the Messi—er, the rabbi, not the tentmaker. No, I’ve listened to him now. He needs to keep his job in the daylight and not go making speeches anywhere. If the dinner had not been so well-prepared, not outlandish but well-prepared, I would have made my excuses and escaped long before I finally did leave. And the presence of beautiful fabric throughout the rooms went a long way toward creating an atmosphere that was most pleasing—until the grilling began and I don’t mean of the food. Oh, the sneaky way he tried to find out what I know about the man and his followers and their plans. And what he found out was nothing because that is what I know. I can tell you he does not have any use for them, that much was made abundantly clear. He has no patience with apostates and sectarians, by which he means those of sects not his own, and like my sister he does not care for the “fanatics in the desert.” But for followers of the man from Nazareth, for those he holds a special hatred.
The wine had been poured freely and I was feeling a pleasant glow from the cups I emptied—not too many, how unseemly it would be for a Pharisee to be intoxicated. But enough to feel my troubles start to slip away. That’s when he began his interrogation, which is probably putting too strong a term to it, but it irked me. Not long after, when the meal was over and he had spoiled my mood, I decided to get on with the evening. I made my goodbyes and stepped out into the night and down the street.
Not traveling with my usual retinue tonight was probably not wise. Not because of any danger or because I’m afraid to be alone, but because the tentmaker may have thought it odd and I don’t need him becoming even more inquisitive. No, I need to be able to move about without worrying who in my own household sees me and takes it upon himself to scold me.
But what’s this? I thought to see what Nico had found out or Joseph, but I see they are talking to someone outside Nico’s house—I don’t believe it! She wouldn’t! Have they all taken leave of their senses? She is supposed to be in Galilee and they are supposed to be finding out what the Sanhedrin is up to, and even trying to talk some sense into them. Now it looks as though I need to talk some sense into all of them.
I wonder why she is still in town or if she has already returned. That was not what we decided. At least she is not unescorted, my servant is still with her. I’ll deal with him later. But I thought she wanted nothing to do with anyone who had anything to do with “the madman from Nazareth.” What can she be talking to them about? If she’s trying to talk them into leaving me alone, I’ll be humiliated. If they are trying to talk her into joining them or getting me to join them, I’ll be irritated. I’m irritated already!
They haven’t seen me. Good. I need to see what is going on. I’ll follow her for awhile.
She makes her way down the street after leaving our mutual acquaintances, and I follow her, not getting anything done that I had intended to accomplish this night.
She stops at a house, knocks on the door, and is let in by a strong-looking broad-shouldered man. My servant remained outside. I should have waited until more of the effects of the wine had dissipated, but I didn’t. Seeing her go into that man’s house, unprotected, unescorted, well, I was angry. So I stormed up to the door, my servant trying to explain, but I wouldn’t listen, and I hammered my fist against the door.
I heard voices within and when the door opened, who should appear but the rabbi’s chief follower, followed closely by other followers, and then the rabbi’s mother. And then my sister with the rabbi himself.
Can it be that not only has my sister been consorting with members of the would-be Messiah’s circle, but that she is in the lion’s den? And she’s dragged me into the heart of it with her.
Is she taking messages to the Nazarene from Nico or Joseph? But why would they need a messenger? Anyone who saw her with them would suspect them, too, if they found her here. But what if she is spying on them for the Sanhedrin? What if Nico and Joseph are spying on them and they have lured my poor, trusting sister into spying on them, too? Or what if they’re spying on me, thinking that I am involved? Is that why the tentmaker has suddenly taken an interest in me?
I can’t write about it anymore tonight. My head is still spinning and it is not because of the wine. The world changed and I don’t understand how or why. All I know is that it has changed. And I don’t have a good feeling about any of it. Whatever the truth is, she has deceived me one way or another, the last person I would ever have expected to do such a thing. I’ll try to sort it out tomorrow. They asked me to stay with them, his followers, his disciples, and my sister, but I couldn’t do it. I fled to my father’s house, here, where things make sense, and little has changed in all the years I’ve lived here.
I must close my eyes soon. May things be clearer in the light of morning.
Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Ruler of the universe, who closes my eyes in sleep, my eyelids in slumber. May it be Your will, Adonai, My God and the God of my ancestors, to lie me down in peace and then to raise me up in peace…End Part 7
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—and I have no idea where that is. Well, I have some idea but mostly I’m discovering the story as I go. It’ll all be rewritten and (hopefully) change quite a bit as I turn it into my masterpiece. ;)
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 in the banner: From the east, Nazareth, Holy Land, from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
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