#44.5, Weds., May 10, 2023

Historical setting: 602 C.E. Woods near Chalôns

         Through darkness, I’m prodded on by the bishops’ guards. It seems one of those ancient skews of justice in response to an unwelcome message is to kill the messenger. Ancient people did it. It was probably born in the wilds before the human imagination could fathom reason. It satisfies a longing for righteousness like the poison hemlock satisfies hunger.

         Another sharp jolt of pain between my shoulder blades — I wonder why people would ever need to inflict hurt on another for a message, or an idea, or simply some contrary thought inked onto a scrap of parchment.

         We seem to be in a place with trees and underbrush and one of these guards must have a shovel in hand and is digging in the fresh spring earth.  It smells mossy and ready for planting, but I fear they are digging a grave for me. They discuss possibilities for brutality and decide torture wouldn’t be worth the trouble since the Celtic Father wouldn’t feel the hurt. It’s decided that, at least, I should be made to dig my own grave. But no one dares loose the rope on my hands or remove the blindfold. Giving me a shovel might make me dangerous. Apparently it is their own guilt that rattles their fears. I’m not fighting them. The lone man with the shovel continues to jab apart roots and sever this earth.

         One reports seeing a stable boy watching from a distance.

         “He’s the fellow who said he wanted to be a soldier. Just let him watch us and learn.”

         So my sons have followed and are seeing all of this and possibly they are considering attacking these guards to rescue me.

         I shout a message to them, “John 18:25 – What Peter believed was his sin actually left him with a voice!”

         With a hard jab of spear tip at my back the guard answered my message “Shouting scripture!? You’re nothing like a Jesus, man.  You don’t even have a sword!”

         Dear God, please guide Greg and Gabe to stay safe.

         Slammed face down onto the damp earth — this is a softer bed than the stone steps of the great hall where first I tripped blindfolded.  But I find this ditch hardly deep enough for a grave.  I guess my vaguely coded message to my sons goaded the guards to hurry. No one wants a preaching victim even when the message is obtuse.

(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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