Historical setting: 562 C.E. Gaul
This river — the Liger or Loire as it is known — marks the tangible edge of old Roman power. The abundance of massive constructions with its bridges and aqueducts gave Tours a wall and roads but failed to cross this river here with a bridge. So for crossing back from the monastery to the shrine or the city we must sail the river on the currents of springtime.
Our boat is filled with a crew and all varieties of passengers. Some may have business in the city and others surely are on their way to the shrine in hopes of healing. George and I were nearest a large but frail woman being carried by her two adult sons on a pallet stretched onto frame with handles.
Now, the winds of the ragged divide between the seasons leave our sails luffing then billowing at every wind-shift; and the rudder seeks a path of swift spring flood water rather than minding the choice of the sailor’s hand on the tiller. An anxious heel toward the starboard sets all our superstitious mouths to prayer.
George clutches the chains about his neck and he demands that I retrieve my walnut from my bag and make a bold prayer to my patron martyr also. “It is nearing his feast day – March 27 — and surely St. Lazarus will be listening.”
My prayer is silent though the people on this craft anxiously watch my raised walnut and study my face for moving lips of prayer.
Dear God, let my prayer be heard, not by selfish fears and sufferings but by the loving hand of your care for all people. But only if it is your will. Thank you. Amen.
As spring winds will do, after each gasp of winter’s rage comes a new gentler breeze of southern air. And timed to my gesture of drawing forth my walnut, all on board this frail craft believe we just saw the calming of the Sea of Galilee as Jesus himself is awakened from his rest.
“Your relic has brought us a miracle Brother Lazarus, as though the saint himself had risen up from the grave to guide our ship!”
Even the pagan sailors and heathen passengers took notice of my wondrous possession. I tucked it back into the pouch and we landed safely on the south bank as I supposed we would have done safely with or without relics. Thank you God.
(Come again tomorrow)