Christ's Journal Part 9

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Clibus' Home

Adar 6

T

here are children here. What priceless looks they give. I love their delight in simple things, their warmth, their trust, so obvious, so quick. Truly, theirs is a special kingdom. I am happiest when they are around me, as they were yesterday in Clibus' garden. It was a birthday party for his daughter who is six. I told stories as they sat around me. What laughter, giggles. A little boy brought me a toad and put it in my hand, saying:

"It's for you, Atta."

Clibus

Of course I miss the great library at Qumran. The beautiful library in his home is a fraction of that monastic collection but bearded Clibus has invited me-with widespread arms.

A delicate bronze of Minerva stands on a plinth at the window end of the narrow room.

A book on my lap, I watched a golden Persian cat steal about, stiffly independent.

Though I can not read Latin I can understand t.i.tles and the names of authors and I appreciate handsome volumes, ancient volumes, family treasures.

Minerva-I used to think of visiting Rome and Athens.

Adar 15

I spoke to a group near the city gate. I was aware that officials were present, Sadducees.

I saw men dragging a woman, kicking her, letting her fall. She had been caught in adultery. When she was brought to me I suspected a trick. Why should I pa.s.s judgment when officials were in the crowd?

Authorities wanted me to break the law by pa.s.sing judgment.

I was shocked by the woman's fear, her beseeching face. As she stood by me a soldier hit her with a chain. Men yelled: "Stone her, stone her!" When a man shoved her to her knees she hid her face in her arms-pretty, a country girl, I thought.

To give myself time to think I wrote on the ground with a stick. I wrote and obliterated words, watching the crowd and the woman. I smelled death. It was in the smoke of sacrifices burning in the city.

It was in the crowd around me. I had never smelled the death of a person.

Taking in the street ruffians and the officials I said, in a loud voice:

"Look at her, at her torn clothes. Do any of you know her? Think. Go deep inside. Think. Let the man who has not sinned throw the first stone. You accuse her...where is the man? Go home, all of you. Have you no pity? Remember the commandment: Thou shalt not kill. We are not animals! Let her go... I repeat, let her go. Go home-all of you!"

I helped the woman to stand. Someone had thrown ashes on her face and I bought water at a shop and washed her face and hands and bought oil for her cuts and bruises. Matthew found us and brought her food.

"Where can I hide?" she asked us. "What is to become of me? They will catch me...beat me... Master, master...what shall I do?" Her words mixed with sobs.

Matthew and I helped her out of town, beyond the gates. We sent her to the home of Talus where Luke cares for the sick.

I returned to Clibus' library but I was too disturbed to read. While I sat there, the Sayings of Moses spread before me, Affti, Clibus'

Egyptian wife, brought a pillow and sat by me. She is as beautiful as Miriam; to have her there was a comfort but her words were not comforting:

"It isn't safe for you to preach in Jerusalem... Your faith is for the little towns and villages where the Romans have less influence or none at all...

"When James was here a month or so ago he mentioned going to Rome. Do you wish him to preach your gospel there?"

She went on to urge me to send apostles to Egypt.

"There are more than seventy of you now... I hope you can send two or more to my country...to preach in the villages...you are needed there."

That evening, after dinner, she rapped on my door: she is very tall, very elegant; dressed in an Egyptian gown, she made a little bow, and presented me with a bronze stylus.

"It will be better than your wooden one," she said.

While enjoying my stylus someone brought me a dish of lemon paste.

Sadly, more than twenty years have pa.s.sed since our Nazareth synagogue acquired a scroll. Our scrolls are in tatters and all are asked to refrain from using them. Learning this, Clibus has offered several scrolls.

"I'll send two of my men...one to carry the scrolls, the other to see that the first man doesn't wander off."

Perhaps little Nazareth may have a worthwhile collection someday.

Jerusalem

Adar 20

My enemies come closer.

Verily, I say unto you, the man who climbs the sheepfold wall is a thief. He who enters by the gate is the shepherd. To him the porter opens and the sheep hear his voice and he calls his sheep by name and leads them...

My parable is realistic but people do not listen. They push one another, talk.

When I encountered a blind man, a man who had never seen during his lifetime, I sent him to the Siloam pool. He bathed there and at my touch his sight became normal. He stumbled, fell, rushed about, shouted. Trembling he raced for home. He brought friends and there was great rejoicing. Then, stunning everyone, authorities questioned me rudely. Because he defended me and called me his healer he was put in jail.

Christ's Journal Part 9

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