The July Blog, #10 “The Soldier and the Jew,” was written last winter before we were all closed into our houses face to face with our closest companions, before the heavy rock of white privilege was turned over to reveal our deepest obligations to healing forgiveness and marching for justice. Let this chapter set into the 6th Century of Forever remind us that healing from racist “othering” is a very long journey. It is all the people, yet deeply personal. It is legal justice, yet individual empathy. It is our immediate face to face fix, but a wilderness walk for forty years beyond our own horizon. The world is called to healing one person at a time.
Catching up on the plot
Chapter #7 April Lazarus was robbed and beaten and left naked in a stand of trees between the River Loire, and the road leading to his home and family, now forgotten as a result of the beating. His rescue was at the hands of his own worst enemy — in his case — the Roman military, a Navy galley, passing along on the river.
In #8 May he learns he would be indebted for his rescue for the next two and a half decades at the oars of the sinking Roman galley unless he can pay. (He cannot.) Then Lazarus meets an old soldier for the Roman cause who has completed his decades of duty, and identifies himself with the patron of Jesus, Nicodemus, in search of a meaningful life. He offers himself as patron and traveling companion to Lazarus whom he calls a “scramble-minded monk.” In #9 June they loose track of one another as Lazarus finds himself without food or clothing or shelter on a fire-ravaged coast where they had planned to meet not knowing it had been destroyed. There is a side-story in June for anyone venturing the archives of blog, ending with a happy reunion when Nic and Laz find themselves together, committed to one another for the long slog — a miss-guided journey to Spain in search of Lazarus’ memory of a yellow-haired wife.
This continuing story is told in the voice of Lazarus. He is, like all living beings, endowed with an amazing power of healing. But the super-power of this “what-if” is simply that the extreme healing gift bequeathed him by his friend Jesus allows him to heal even from death into life. This gift makes him a physical “sign” or metaphor for the spiritual nature of resurrection. So he arrives in this writing as a literary device, a persistently thirty-three-year-old time traveler into various epochs of Christian History.
These stories are a meander through early medieval times through the eyes of one whose many heresies include befriending Jesus as a human friend and teacher. Lazarus is driven by his mission to encourage Jesus followers in the teachings; so he is a scribe of gospels and carries the variety of writings as a messenger to hidden churches or Christian gatherings throughout the known (at that time) world. Along his journeys he finds friendships and belongs with families of his own so this is not just a story about one person. It has lots of characters. May they be written for your eyes with a simple clarity.