Historical setting: 563 C.E., on the western shore of Gaul
It’s easy to identify when it is someone else’s random hate. But when it is my own, I have so little clarity. When I see the crazies of wrath in others I simply mouth the Christian slogans, “hate is not the opposite of love — fear is.” “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. (1st John 4:18)” But now my own taunting hatred of Roman soldiers needs the sermon. So what is my fear?
My empathy offers excuse after all; it was the Roman military that executed Jesus. I saw it. I remember it. I was devastated by it. No wonder I want nothing of Roman soldiers. Yet I can see also that this soldier is my new brother in Christ, Nic.
As I ponder a wrong in my own depths, Nic has been standing here next to me with his helmet tucked under his arm, starring across at the vendor of tattered war bronzes.
“Brother Lazarus, I think I am ready to trade this now. Why don’t you go on ahead and look at the fine tunics and girdles he is selling. And they have britches there of finely knit wools. Go ahead and have a look at what you want me to trade.”
“You should have a new cloak of your own.” I suggest. “One that is light in the day, and shields you from the sun and the wind, and at night is a comfort for you.”
“It seems wrong,” Nic ponders his answer. “It seems wrong to trade a fine helmet for an old man’s cloak.”
“Maybe you aren’t old enough for an old man’s cloak. Maybe you can choose something for a man of your age as you are now, just barely silvering. Maybe a caplet with a hood would suit you, so you wouldn’t think of the need for a helmet because the hood would save you from the wind and the sun? Let’s see what is over there.”
Nic comes with me to the vendor’s booth and sets the helmet firmly on the counter.
“For trade” he says.
The vendor examines the helmet thoroughly and with a critical eye.
(Story continues Tuesday, July 7, 2020)