Historical setting: 562 C.E. The site of the Cathedral Fire in Tours
“I’ve no peapod with dust and yet I also have not been stricken by lightening. Are you sure a relic is needed to take notice of God’s grace?”
Young George lectures. “Really, Heretic Lazarus, what could you know of grace if you pray to neither relic nor cross?”
“I pray to God.”
His laugh out loud stings with sarcasm.
He argues. “God were known to be of spiritual substance. And that means God be not seen by any human eyes – so your prayers if you even make them, would simply vanish into nothingness.” He offers the “poof” gesture of magic as though even the gesture for God would be invisible unto nothingness.
I defend, “If Spirit were nothing you would make a good point; or if I were taught as a child to fear the invisible nudge of Holy Spirit I would find safety in believing only in the visible and tangible things of earth. But I was allowed, in fact encouraged to embrace the spiritual nature of life as well as the tangible things of earth. I believe it is my good fortune to find the earthy Creation is the metaphor for the spiritual life. I often notice that the visible signs in nature are speaking God’s invisible truths. Take beauty for example. The flowers we could have here would remind us that Jesus mentioned beauty as a free and gracious gift. Wild flowers are clothed in radiance without any need of human prayers or intention or even our good works. In my opinion nature is God’s own artwork. Nature is not a pantheon of alternate gods.”
“Lazarus, your heresies be something even more dangerous than mere demons of Arius. To cure such heresies I suggest you gather for yourself a blessed relic of your own patron saint so that when we next meet you be coming to your lesson only begging me to tell you proper form and gesture for your prayers.”
“But I don’t worship saints so I have no patron.”
“You have a saint who is your own namesake, The Persian martyr Saint Lazarus.”
“Yes, a good idea George. Now that you remind me, the relic of my namesake has been in my family for my whole life long.”
“You mean your family owns a holy relic? And I thought you be of common stock.”
So little he knows. “Shall we meet next in the courtyard of the scriptorium so we may start your required lessons in grammar?”
(Come again tomorrow.)