Historical setting: A dark age in Gaul
I break the silence with a comfortable question of fact. “Did you speak to the bishop at the monastery when you were turned away, Brother Nic?”
“Oh yes, certainly I did. It was bishop himself who sent me away.”
“Did he offer a reason?”
“He said my penmanship was weak. But then I learned that even if I practiced, the only ones they were taking were from noble families or those with wealthy patrons. Now that I will receive my wage I will be wealthy so I shall be the patron.”
“What does a wealthy patron do?”
“Well, surely I can gift a monastery to make them take you in anyway, even if your penmanship is weak and your mind is scrambled.”
“Thank you Nic, but it’s not my penmanship that is my weakness. I am one who is known as a heretic in these times.”
“That’s okay, Brother Lazarus. I have a sword. I’ll keep you safe.”
“Do you think God wants you to use your father’s sword to save a heretic?”
“Brother Lazarus, God knows me well and yet God sent you to me.”
“Do you receive me as a blessing or a curse, Nic? Have you no worry that God would judge you harshly for sponsoring a heretic?”
“Brother Lazarus, you may think me a heretic also, but the god who judges heresies is not the Creator God of love I knew as a child. I met God before our tribe knew that Christians of Creed owned God. This is my secret. I keep it buried, because if others know I might have to draw my sword. These things might make me sound damnable to some other Christians.
“I met God in the forest, when we had a forest. It was before we knew of the Creed. The priest of our tribe was Arian and chose not to adjust to the rule of Trinity. He knew well Genesis and Psalms and the gospel stories and he believed that God created the whole world and everything in it, even the sacred trees of the pagans. It was our secret together that the real God is bigger than kingdoms or earth or even the heavens, and that no matter what people say, God loves the whole Creation. I keep this secret close to my heart, and it feels so good, like some kind of sin or something. So I suppose I’m also a heretic.”
Dear God, thank you for Nic. Amen.