Monday, September 17, 2012

Ass for Jesus

And I tell you, ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Luke 11)

         “And that’s it?” Raucus asked.
         Ponderus blinked, “And what’s it?”
         “That, yer ask-and-get formula.  You just send in your petition and wait for the blessing to roll in?”
         “Well, it’s what he said…”
         “Just ask?”
         “mm, yes.”
         “Don’t have to sacrifice a puppy or something?”
         Ponderus smiled, “There it is!”
         “Are you sure?  You don’t have to give your first born male child to the priests?  Favorite wife to the emperor’s harem?  Go on a raid and capture forty and four slaves, have them washed, scrubbed, combed and fed to lions?”
         “No.  I’m fairly certain there were no lions mentioned.”
         “Pity,” Raucus picked a piece of grain from the side of the road they were marching along and started to chew.  “I rather like lions.  From the relative height of the stands of course.”
         “Oh, of course.”  They marched in silent thought for maybe a mile, then the man carrying their baggage stopped, threw down his load, spat on it and marched off mumbling. They watched him go with a host of his countrymen also pressed into service by the legion.  Then Raucus asked, “Care to test it?”
         “Test what?”
         “Your formula.  We seem to be in need of baggage porters.  Now seems an excellent test of your Judean rabbi’s theory.  Conjure us up some asses.”
         “You wouldn’t rather another troop of locals?  You do seem to derive much pleasure in demeaning them?”
         “I wasn’t specific as to the breed.  This being a first test, I’ll accept any form of ass as proof, as long as the load gets carried.”
         “I don’t think that’s what he meant.”
         “Ah, there it is!”
         “There what is?”
         “Every time some philosopher blows a new wind in the ear of you gullible moongazers, it’s all brick and mortar and solid while he’s talking but as soon as his breeze hits a real, solid wall made of real, solid bricks and mortar it vanishes like smoke.”
         “You don’t understand spiritual things.”
         “Of course I don’t!  For the same reason your gods don’t understand flesh and blood things!  It’s all high and very well to spend your time going on about things that can’t be seen or felt but this here lump,” Raucus kicked the load lying in the dust of the road, “can most certainly be seen and its weight can most certainly be felt but it’s not going to be felt by me so unless your spirit is going to come and whisk it away for me, I say it’s all gas!”
         “But he’s not a spirit, he’s a man!  He calls himself the Son of Man and some men call him the Son of God!  Think of that, Raucus!  God come in flesh!  God who does know our struggles, our pain and yet knows the joys of heaven!  Knows God as Father!  God who loves us!  Spirit and flesh together!”
         “Well, if he loves us so much, have him come and carry my bags!  Otherwise I say it’s all a long fart.”
         “You’re incorrigible,” Ponderus bent down and picked up his own bags as the other soldiers in the column were doing.  Raucus however sat down on his.  “What are you doing?”
         “Come off it.”
         “No.  This is it.  I’m doing this for you.  You will know, really know if there is a God and if, for some reason only the Humors could imagine, his son was born in the armpit of the Empire and whether or not spirits can affect the real world.  It’s a perfect test.  It is for this, we have been brought to this moment!  All the subtle weavings of the universe have conspired and hammered and wrought us this bag, this road and this test.  Soon we shall have our answer.  All we need do is ask.”  Raucus smiled up at him from his seat.
         “Were you dropped on your head as a child?”
         “Don’t change the subject.”
         “Fine!  Have your test!”  The rest of the column formed up again and with a bellow from the equestrian, they marched off.  All but two of them.  Ponderus and Raucus watched them stamp off round the bend.  Raucus started humming to himself.
         “Annnnny minute now.”
         “So you would like to see spirit move a solid lump?”  Ponderus reached out and shoved Raucus backwards.  He fell in an ungainly heap a little off the road.  Ponderus picked up Raucus’ bags and slung them over his own shoulder and then helped Raucus back to his feet.  “Let’s go.”
         “What are you doing?”
         “Answering your prayer.”
         “That’s cheating!”
         “No, it’s belief.  The spirit in me loves you; that could only be God’s love in me for heaven knows how unlovable you are!  Besides, you said yourself you weren’t particular about the breed of ass.”
         “So you would make yourself an ass for this Jesus?”
         “Apparently so.”
         “God help you.”  Raucus shook his head and fell in beside his friend as he struggled to catch up with the column laden down like a packhorse with both their baggage.  “Here, give my bags, ass for Jesus, for some strange reason I can’t stand to see you suffer for your belief.”  Raucus took his bags from Ponderus, “What are you smiling at?”
         “I am smiling because God must have heard my prayer too!”

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