Historical setting: 563 CE, on the Bay of Contabria (Biscay)
Nic and I are exploring our deep hurts and differences. This ship is too small for a war, and with these calming easterlies we could be face-to-face for a very long journey.
I’ve asked Nic to explain why he thinks Jews have horns. And to my surprise, his answer is as reasonable as my opinion that Roman armor is vacant of any God beloved human person.
Nic explains, “Buff and I were trained together in broadsword. We were both equal in our skills — the best of the class. In fact, the Roman officer training us wanted to put us in a more elite unit with spears, but I chose to stay at the oars on the Saxony Shore because I had no longing for faraway lands at that time. Buff went and fought the Persians and the Jews, then he came back to Gaul at the oars. He knows of all those strange peoples of enemy lands.
“In broadsword training we used an effigy. It was called ‘The Jew.’ It was a black-haired goatskin stuffed with sand and chains, hanging from scaffolding by cables that could be used to draw it up and down to fling it away from our swords; then it would swing back and wallop us with its full weight. It always seemed to be attacking us, even in our worst nightmares. Our hatred filled our waking hours with plans to do harm. It was the relentless great black goat, ‘The Jew,’ hurling himself at us, slamming us to the ground. Again and again we came at it with our swords shouting our war cries against The Jews. We were the best, Buff and I, the best. Surely it would take The Jew even now, to make me trade off my armor for fancy clothes and passage to Hispania. It would take The Jew to turn me against my brother at arms. I expect your horns were ravaged and lost in the attack, isn’t that right Lazarus? It was your horns that were stolen from you, but deep down you are still The Jew.”
My only defense, “Jesus was a Jew.”
Nic answers, “The Jews killed Jesus.”
“No, Nic, the Roman soldiers killed Jesus. I saw it.”
“Your mind is scrambled, Lazarus. It is written in the gospel, ‘The Jews Killed Jesus.’”
Dear God, thank you for my clarity of mind. Now heal our broken hearts. Amen.