Post #19.5, Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Historical setting: Inside a daub and wattle sepulcher — 584 C.E.

         At this waking I hear the voice of the child.

         “I see the wheel is over the opening again. But don’t worry, Teacher, I can roll it back easily. I always roll it off when I come here to practice my flute.”

         I hear them rustling. I feel someone very near.

         “Here, Teacher, you can touch the edge of the opening then crawl in through this space. Now Ma’am, if you reach out your hand you will touch the broken man. Don’t be afraid. He’s very gentle.”

         Gentle? She says I’m gentle? I can’t even move. But I feel the touch. The firm hand of a healer touches my head.

         My daughter Eve’s clear voice is as always, the deep whisper of calm, “It seems he’s wrapped in linens is he not, Anatase?”

         “Yes Ma’am he is all wrapped in ribbons and ribbons of linens. Only his hand is unwrapped and that doesn’t seem as broken as they say he is.”

         “The monk must have wrapped him like this when he made the sepulcher. We should unwrap the linens.  Oh, dear little Anatase. I hope it isn’t a frightful sight for you.”

         “How does that concern you Ma’am? I am a student of healing and I am your eyes, so do you think I would be fearful of seeing a death now? If I haven’t had to turn my eyes away from new birth then why would I not be able to see the face of death? And anyway, do you not feel his gentle living spirit with us now? Maybe he’s not in death at all just now.”

         “I do feel my father’s spirit near us. But that’s not unusual for one who grieves as I would have grieved had my father died forever dead. But Anatase, the deaths of this man are not usual deaths. And I‘ve never removed linens like this before. Even I don’t know what to expect.”

         The child explains, “The hand that has been unwrapped seems like a hand of living person. Here, reach your hand to touch it.”

         “Oh, yes, this hand has flesh and warmth and life. Let’s take the wrappings off his head.”

         My eyes see a blur of bright lights, sun pouring through the spaces in the rotted away daub on the wattle of this tomb, and here are two human faces a blur. It is Eve, sparkling and silver-haired now, and a child with long yellow braids.

        “Please, Anatase, what do you see of his face?”

        “He has a black beard and sparkling dark eyes. I think his eyes are like yours Ma’am. But I think his are eyes that see, because he was casting his gaze all around and now he is looking right at you and now at me.”


 (Continues tomorrow)

Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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