+JMJ+ Welcome to part 26 of A Journey. The tentmaker is searching for the fugitives while Jonah returns to Jerusalem by order of the Sanhedrin. As he approaches the city he encounters some of the disciples on their way to Galilee.
And now the journey continues.
A Journey – Part 26
Second Day for the Third Time, Monday
I do not know if anyone will ever read this account of my journey or of any of my journeys. I have traveled these paths so many times, with my father, with servants, alone. I know the land and its hiding places, though I do not think anyone could ever know them all. Sometimes the ground or the hillside simply opens up and there is a hole or a cave that was not there before. I have used many of them over the years and I am using them now to hide what I do not want to be found. These writings. I hope I will be able to find them again one day but if not, then at least I hope my enemies do not find them. But I must record what has happened, what is happening, even though I cannot see it clearly. Yet. I may never. But I know it is important to try. I feel it deep in my bones. I know it more surely than I know my name.
I am going up to Jerusalem because the Sanhedrin has ordered me to do so. And because I have a bad feeling about my sister in the Council prison. After I left Capernaum I pushed the donkey as much as I dared and left the poor thing with a man who traded me his younger animal, with a few coins tossed in to speed our negotiations. I have pushed this one, too, in my haste to arrive in Jerusalem and discover what has happened, if anything, to Rachel. More than once we had to slow our pace due to the terrain, and more than once I dreamed that the Council had let others go, but not my sister. I do not know what this means or if it means anything. I can only say that I pushed the beast harder after each dream, and if it happens again, I will need something much faster to carry me.
O thou that dwellest in the covert of the Most High, and abidest in the shadow of the Almighty; I will say of the LORD, who is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust, That He will deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
Well, You did that and I am thankful, blessed be Thy Name forever.
Thou shalt not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flieth by day; Of the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor of the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
I am trying, Lord, I am trying. It’s not quite terror that I feel but it certainly is fear.
There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy tent. For He will give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
O, Lord, Adonai, watch over my sister and me, protect us that our family’s name not perish from the earth. Let us not go down into that darkness from which none ever return and from which none can give You praise. Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe whose mercy endures forever. Amen.
Third Day for the Third Time, Tuesday
The strangest thing has happened. As I hurried to Jerusalem I met with several of the missing rabbi’s followers. They were leaving the holy city and heading to Galilee where I left the noisome pestilence, I mean, the tentmaker. Their leader has a fishing business there and some of them are returning to work with him, others will presumably stay nearby. The remarkable thing was what one of them told me during the longest pause in my journey. Of all people, it was the one on whom I had relied most for rational thought during this most irrational of times. Thomas, the one I accompanied into the city on the night the rabbi allegedly appeared to these beleaguered (and bewitched?) disciples. He claims now that he has seen him, too. That he appeared in a room with a locked door. He was so excited as he shared this “good news” with me, I almost felt sorry for him in his joyful sharing of this shared delusion. How he could surrender his mind to such an absurdity is beyond me. I only wanted to get away from him and I am in a hurry to reach Jerusalem anyway, so I brusquely made my farewells and turned to leave these frustrating people behind me.
But as I turned to go, a gentle hand touched my shoulder, and as I turned to brush it away, I saw it was the rabbi’s mother and I could not move away from her, my feet were as rooted to the spot. She took my hand in hers and stood for a moment, her eyes peering into mine, into my soul. How does she do that? Then she spoke softly in that way of hers, speaking to me as if I were the only person in the world and I had all of her attention. If that were not unsettling enough, here are the words she spoke.
“You must be separated for a time. Do not be afraid, you will be reunited with her again if you do whatever he tells you.”
I am not sure how long I stood there but when I came to myself, I was alone. The others had taken leave of me and barely a trace of them was left. Did I dream all of this, too?
I realized I was clenching something in my fist. I opened my hand and there laying on my palm was a ring, given to my sister by our mother only a year before she herself left us, peace be upon her. Rachel would never part with this unless her situation were dire. Now I know it was not a dream and I must get to the Council. Lord, help me, I must get there soon.
End of Part 26
Other parts of the story are linked on the Fiction page.
- One always “goes up” to Jerusalem, as I understand it, because it is on Mount Zion (edit: well, Mount Zion is in Jerusalem, and Mount Zion apparently has had somewhat different meanings at different times), Jerusalem is at the highest elevation in Judea (and now in Israel), and because it is a holy city, the Temple is there (or was there).
- There was a sort of a prison, I think it was called a kippa.
- Quotes are from Psalm 91, JPS Tanakh 1917, public domain.
- Reminder: As this is an exploratory rough draft, much research is needed and pending. I’m only discovering the raw material for the story right now. It’s all subject to change and expansion (or excision) in the re-writes.
Thank you for visiting and reading. I hope you’ll join me again. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, please stay safe and well, virtuous and holy, and remember, we are all on the journey to the heavenly city. So pick up your cross daily and follow Him, so you can 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+
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Image in the cover: From the east, Nazareth, Holy Land, from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
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