Historical setting: 584 C.E. Ligugè
I’m grateful that the chatty stable master delivers dry straw for my mat and he stays with his ax to help me finish tidying the debris of twigs and sticks. Now after the others have gone he is still helping me weave back my damaged roof. Even in this time for silence this fellow is never short of conversation.
“So do you suppose God sent this disaster on your cell to punish your obstinacy?”
“What do you mean?”
“Even in the stable I heard what you did with that wisp of horse hair you gathered for your brush. You painted a tumbling and fumbling, rancorous dove of the Holy Spirit, falling splat onto the head of Jesus our Savior.”
“Is that what you heard?”
“That’s what you did my brother. Your father would be very disappointed with you. And you know, Brother August knew your father before his untimely death. You probably don’t even remember your father.”
“Lazarus, your namesake. Brother August said he was a very good man. He was a dear friend of our departed Brother Nic as well. I’ll bet your father would be shocked and embarrassed to know of your youthful insolence. And now, because of your little whimsy of jest we all had to suffer through that storm God sent down on us. Even the horses turned restless at the shudders and roars of that storm.”
I don’t believe these things are punishments by God. I try to answer with scripture, so that my so-called ‘youthful insolence’ won’t be further revealed. “It was said by Jesus himself that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. [Matthew 5:45b] But I apologize if it is thought by the others that my sins wetted all of us with this rain.”
He argues, “In community as we are here, when one suffers we all suffer. Of course God’s judgment fell harder upon you with the crashing of the tree. That’s how we could all know it was your sins that brought on the holy retribution. It was all on account of your disrespect for the Holy Spirit that the heavens hurled spears of lightning, and bolts of thunder. Even though it’s been said that God lets the rains fall on the just and the unjust, the punitive bolts are only for the sinners.”
I thank the brother for his help with my roof. Good night.