Historical setting: A dark age in Gaul
Jesus is here with so many followers even before our table servants are here. Martha is still in the kitchen instructing the cooks and probably arranging and rearranging the olives and bay leaves onto the platters for the still roasting meats. Martha does obsess over details. While Mary — of course is primping — oiling her beautiful flow of hair and shinning lightness from her checks with powders and fragrance as though she were a corpse and needed the look of a painted awakening.
We’ve not even filled the ewers. The river runs by – I hear the river and yet I do nothing to fill the ewers. Our guests are too early or our servants are too late for the washing of these traveler’s feet. Jesus himself takes the basin and drapes the towel over his own arm then he kneels on our floor to wash the feet of every guest. I should argue this protocol and do our servant’s task myself but I can’t get up.
Jesus I hear you so near, yet I don’t seem to rise up and help you. I hear your steps drawing nearer; I feel the ground quaking at your march. But the voices are of strangers.
“Come look here! Just through the wood, a man is here with a bleeding head.”
“…So near the road he appears to have been beaten and robbed.”
“Even with that wound he seems to be flailing to get to his feet!”
“Go and tell the officer. He might find him useful at the oars when he is able.”
One of them is gone; the other is still here.
“So, my man, our ship’s officer will be here soon and he surely will want to know your loyalty. Are you Barbarian or Christian?”
“Jesus” I find I can speak now. “I’m a friend to Jesus.”
“You are Christian then?”
“I serve only the one God of Abraham and Jesus. Jesus is waiting for me to fill the ewers before the feast.”
“Maybe our ship’s master will know about that. But you sound as though you be a Christian. We can only use that loyalty. So if you aren’t a Roman Christian, best not to tell our officer or he won’t take you on.”
(Remembrances continue tomorrow)