Historical setting: 563 CE, on the Bay of Contabria (Biscay)
Nic is still burning over my failure to assure everyone I’m not a Jew. If that is what is needed to make peace, it isn’t peace. But he brings all his hurt and pain begging me. Regardless of what his friends think he still wants to hear me say it aloud, that I am not a Jew. And maybe it’s true that I am not a Jew; I’m a Christian now. Maybe it’s true the Jews would have no use for me in these changing times when Christians no longer honor their inheritance, but I was born a Jew. I joined with the Ebionites[Footnote] when a certain scar marked a man’s adherence to the letter of The Law. My strange gift of healing took my scar, and every scar and brand and tattoo that could mark any kind of belonging to a tribe. But even after all these centuries, I cannot rightly say I am a Jew.
And I can’t say aloud that I’m not a Jew either. To say that would separate me from my ancient faith, and it would separate me from my family who were Jews, and it would separate me from my dear friend Jesus. Jesus was a Jew. Jesus is a Jew. It is our people and our tribe.
Dear God, in my mind I know I belong to no one but to you. Amen.
I still seem to be wandering after my human place of belonging. Is it even possible for a human person to see wider than his tribe?
“Nic, we are bound together now on this journey to find my life forgotten, and for that I’m deeply grateful to you. But it concerns me that we have some deep roots of hate between us. I know what it is to hate based only on the look of a man. I’ve asked that you shed your Roman garb, so I may know you as a man beyond my own harbored prejudices. Now I ask you if we might talk frankly about this.” He doesn’t answer. So I ask, “Do you know any people who actually are Jewish? Or have you just heard stories?”
“So you are a Jew. Your horns were beaten in when you were attacked.”
“I am a Christian, Nic, like you. But why would you think Jews are an enemy, and where did you get the notion Jews have horns?
(Story continues Tuesday, July 21, 2020)
[Footnote] The Ebionites were a sect of Jewish Christians who adhered to the ancient Hebrew Law and also, particularly, an Aramaic Gospel of Matthew sans the Virgin birth. In the early Second Century they were already considered outcast Christians as anti-Semitism was spreading among the Gentile sects. The Ebionite Christology emphasizing the human nature of Jesus set them in opposition to the Orthodox Creed and they were also shunned as heretical. This is explained in detail by Bart D. Ehrman, in his book Lost Christianities; The battles for scripture and the faiths we never knew, Oxford University Press: New York, 2003. (Pages 100-102)