Historical setting: 563 C.E. Ascending into the Pyrenees
Cloud shadows on the mountains seem to make the ever-still earth forms of rock rise and fall like the waves on a sea. We thought finding our way through this range would be the simple part going up to the mountain top then down into Gaul, but now we see it is necessary to think always of the risings and settings of sun to keep our direction toward the north. The ridges of this range undulate in angles and tilts of all directions. We choose the ridges to follow because they are most level and we can also see off in all directions and keep our bearings with fewer ascents and descents to tire us with climbs.
With all these pastures in every valley it is no wonder we see flocks of sheep – or are those simply flocks of boulders set into the mountains at a distance? We’ve ridden above several valleys of these rock statues, remembrances of sheep, and now we come upon what are surely living flocks. Yes, these are indeed sheep. They are moving across the hillsides in ever-morphing forms like murmurs of starlings in an evening sky. We stop on our horses to take a moment to wonder at these patterns.
“When I was a kid in my teens my best friend and I would sneak off at dusk to watch these ever forming shapes of moving sheep, and once we followed them so far we discovered the distant shepherds making their night fire.”
Nic asks, “So Laz, Did you have your forever life then, before Jesus?”
“There was never a ‘before Jesus’ in my knowing. But before my healing from first death, I was an ordinary kid. ‘Nothing strange about me at all, except, I might mention that this best friend leading me into these dares of childhood was Jesus.”
“Do you mean Jesus the human person or Jesus the ethereal substance of invisible presence – the Christ?”
“You jest. You know who I mean Nic. You and I share that same heresy.”
We come to a creek so we dismount and we lead the horses and the donkey to water and take a bit of a rest before we cross over the icy flow to climb to a higher ridge.
“I meant to ask an honest question. Was Jesus already holy when you met him?”
“Of course. We are all the Holy Creation of God, are we not?”
“You know what I mean. Did he seem, you know, ‘different’?”
(Continued Tuesday, October 20)