Historical setting: 561 C.E. Gaul
Here I am in the loft and my daughter is hiding her visage from me below harboring a curiosity or maybe a care for a Jesus story. I have stories to tell aplenty, but why would she want to hear it?
“Papa, when we were little children you would tell us Jesus stories as though you were Jesus’ own friend and as though you were really there in the stories.”
“And you don’t think that was true?”
“Ezra told me your secret so I know it’s true. But of course the priest I visited at the St. Maurice Church with my question had no thought of that. I was already being called a pagan and he thought I had no Christian privilege to know the stories. He wanted to know ‘which gospel I was quoting.’ I don’t know what he meant. So I just left and the Christian secret is still safe there with him unless you would reveal it to me.”
“There isn’t a Christian secret in the stories of Jesus, Eve. Probably the priest didn’t know how to answer you so he hid in a veil of pomp. Priests do that sometimes I’ve noticed.”
“So the secret is the dearth of truth.”
“That does sound pagan said that way. But maybe it is that the teachings of Jesus are simple to speak but hard to live. That is no secret. That’s a dare. What’s your question?”
She takes after me and answers with a story.
“Do you remember the story you told of the blind man who was healed?”
“When I heard it taught by Christians it wasn’t as you told it because they made Jesus seem a magician who healed with magic and not with nature. But when you told it, the magic wasn’t in the healing but in the change to the people who were watching. Jesus did the healing with dust and spit just as I do to heal swollen eyes when a child is brought to me with stings or rash.”
I am starting to understand. “So that is probably why the priest wondered which gospel. Jesus was from Nazareth and not from the place where our family lived; so some of the gospels are of things known to his followers from there. When he came to Jerusalem he and his friends often stayed at our family home in Bethany. So to answer the priest’s question you would say the stories I told were Bethany stories and that would be in the Gospel of John.”
(The stories continue tomorrow)