These are the first ten or so pages of a book I am just finishing up based on memories I have of the first century Christian church. I would not be a good Early Christian if I could not explain a few mysteries of the Bible. Therefore I do so on this page. Then later in that life I was involved in writing Revelations. I remember the problems we had with finding the right words we used for Revelation 8 for example.

 

THE DISCIPLE THAT JESUS LOVED

 

Chapter 1

***The Beginning
My very first memory of that life is as a very small child, a little girl. I was about one and a half I guess. I remember being held in a woman's arms. I do not think it was my mother, it was one of the other women. I looked over at Jesus who emanated light as he talked to a group of us. It was a light you could see with your eyes open or closed. The air had a charge to it, it tingled in my lungs. I breathed it in, almost gulping it. Trying to get as much as possible. Each breath was crisp and so vitalizing that even to this day I hunger for that living water.

***Traveling and Teaching Of Jesus
It's been six long years since Jesus died on the cross. Why did Jesus leave me? It still bothers me a lot that he left me. My feelings are mixed. Sometimes I feel anger, sometimes pain, but I always feel love.

For years now we have traveled. I must have been five when we started. Now I am nine and we travel as bringers of good news. The word of God as taught by Jesus Christ. I travel with a small group of other Christians from town to town teaching people what Jesus had taught us. We call ourselves followers of the way. There are several groups that travel around like ours teaching about Jesus but ours is the most popular.

Most of the times our days are the same. I usually dress as a boy. Girls are not allowed away from their home alone, so I pretend to be a boy. In the morning I get ready. The others dirty my face and make certain that I looked like a grubby little boy. I use to wear a cloth that was a lot like a hat but now they just cut my hair short which makes me look like a boy. Katie liked to joke. She was funny. Sometimes when I was getting ready to leave in the morning, she would put a piece of twig in my hair, stand back and say that the twig was the touch that really made me look like a boy. I would take it out as soon as I left though. That is if I remembered. Sometimes at night she would see the twig was still there and make a remark about it. Ester would be upset if she saw it though. She was much closer to me than Katie ever was. Ester has kind of adopted me. She is a lot like my mother had been.

Once I am ready, my pet goat and me go off ahead of the others to the next nights rest. I found out later of the dangers the others faced and that I really traveled by myself before them for my own protection. I usually stayed within eyesight of the others though.

I would go through tax stations and towns without so much as a look from the people, though often I had to pay a coin for goat. No one cared about a little boy busy walking his goat. My goat was my good friend. He would follow me everywhere if I let him. When I got to a tax station or a town where I had to ignore everyone, I would use a stick. Goat was trained to play the game really well and he liked to. He was an actor, he would ignore me and pretend to want to go everywhere but where I wanted him to. That way I was always too busy to talk to people and they would usually leave me alone. This is how I would travel, me and my goat. Oh yes, I am being reminded. I travel as well with my guardian angels. They are usually my mother and Jesus. Sometimes I have a special treat. That is when the Archangel Gabriel is with me.

The reason I travel ahead of the group is so I won't get captured with them if they are. Usually only a few people know when we are coming to their community to speak, but sometimes they let the word out and many do. When we get betrayed and the authorities set a trap for one of our groups, it is usually at the nearest tax station to the town we are going to. There are usually soldiers at the tax stations. I do not know what happens though. The adults won't tell me about what happens to the people who are caught.

We left Jerusalem to travel and teach like this about two years ago when the persecution become very bad. A lot of people stayed behind because it was the headquarters of the church. But the church leaders decided I needed to leave since so many people knew who I was. All it would take was a word from any of about two hundred people and I would be imprisoned and perhaps killed. Having me go out like this and take the teachings to the world was considered safer than me staying. At the same time I would learn a lot traveling through the empire.

When we travel it is often almost nonstop. We avoid small towns that are clustered together and try to travel long distances before we stop to speak. The faster we can put a lot of distance between us and the towns we visit, the better.

Like a small army, totally outnumbered, we hit and run. There is not too much thinking to it. It keeps the authorities from really ever getting organized and doing anything about us. By the time they communicate with each other or send messengers back and forth to Jerusalem for warrants and instructions, we are long gone. The local authorities that have the power to deal with us are the Jewish members of the various communities. Most of them would rather not bother with our little group anyway since they are Jews and often face persecution as well, but you never know.
We have to keep who we are a secret when we are traveling because of the persecution. I know it is dangerous because when we leave Jerusalem I can see the expressions on the faces of the ones we are leaving behind. I can tell that they are wondering if they will ever see us again.

The Jewish authorities that hate us and want to capture us are the Sanhedran Council. They run the Jewish people and the religion from Jerusalem. They have imprisoned and tortured many of us. It is strange how much they hate us. It is far beyond reason, it is an obsession that could destroy us.
Most other religious groups like the essenes, they tolerate. We and the disciples of John the Baptist are the only ones they really go after and persecute.

The strange thing is that they do not even really hate us. They hate themselves. They think that persecuting us is right but inside they know it is wrong. They are simply becoming angry at themselves because of it. They think they are angry with us because they get angry at the same time they are thinking about us. When they think of us 'pop', up comes their self anger. You see, because the anger is there when they are thinking about us, they think it is us that they are angry at! They can't admit that harming us might be wrong in the first place so they never consider that they could be angry at themselves, but that is all that is happening. It is that simple.

I know there are other religious groups and you would probably like to know why they aren't angry like that with them. Well there are other reasons but the main one is that we are so much more in touch with God than the other groups are. That puts us in the right much more and makes their anger with themselves much greater than what it is when they think of the other groups. So much more, that they become consumed with the anger and persecute us much more. Some of them have become completely obsessed with our persecution. Like Paul of Tarsus who was Saul. He was so obsessed that he was going all over the providence capturing and torturing our people before he converted and became one of us.

This obsession of theirs would mean the complete destruction of us is it wasn't for one thing. And that is the thing that Jesus taught us. To love our enemies. Since we know how their minds work, how can we possibly hate these people? They really just hate themselves. Why should we add our hatred to their own. We must love them and not make their life harder than it is already. And besides, since we have done nothing and are as innocent as lambs, to hate them would give them a justification to hate us.

When we love them there is hope. Our love combined with Gods love becomes huge and overpowers their hatred. Their hatred creates loneliness. Loneliness makes us all susceptible to love. It makes them susceptible to our love and when they think of us they may feel that love. And with it they can change completely, overnight sometimes.

You probably know people who have this sort of anger. Anger that is directed at you or a friend of yours but it is really an upset at their own short sightedness? In fact they probably have no idea of what they are angry about and couldn't tell you if you asked! Most of us know people like this and sometimes we are that way ourselves. Would you like to help these people? Then love them. You may be surprised how they change.

***Soldiers We Face
The guards at the tax stations react differently towards my friends than they do to me when I walk ahead of them with goat. The soldiers at the tax stations which are near the towns and along the main roads are there to tax merchants who are carrying goods. I carry a few coins since I sometimes have to pay for goat. Since the rest of our group does not have any goods we never should have to pay any taxes. That doesn't prevent the guards from giving my friends lots of problems though. Asking them for bribes. Questioning and searching them. Teasing them. Often I will sit at a distance and watch them. Of course the soldiers do not know they are my friends. It really doesn't have to be me but it always seems to help when one of us gets through a checkpoint ahead of the others and watches from nearby.

Once a person has gotten through the checkpoint they are considered 'officially approved' and the guards respect them.
The guards will often tease or harass those that have not been allowed through yet. Then if our group is having too many problems, one of my friends will look over at me. That's when the guard usually notices me. I always glare back at the guard with as disapproving a look as I can muster. Suddenly the guard will quit whatever he is doing and let my friends through. Me a little girl! It almost always works. Only once did a guard come over and chase me away.

I guess its because a soldiers world consists of only two types of people. Enemies and authorities. It is so strange how their minds work. If you are not another soldier then you are either below them or above them in status. Usually below. There is no in between or equality with a soldier unless I guess you are wearing their uniform of the same rank. Until they let you through their tax station, they do not accept you and you are below them and a potential enemy. Then once you are through, you are above them. It seems with soldiers, acceptance means acquiescence on their part.

Once we are allowed through the gate by them, obviously we can no longer be considered the enemy so we become the authority figure. If one of us can use this position, then we always will. That is when a good stare becomes effective.
How strange their minds are. I guess it just reflects how they are trained. It is an interesting thing to think about though.
It must be because a soldier is trained to react to two kinds of people. Their commanders and the enemy. I guess this is what keeps them alive in battle. Because of this, the only two ways they learn to react are with acquiescence and domination. These are the two things they are concerned with in the field. They will die in their occupation of killing others if they do not know who acquiesce to and who to dominate. If they do not submit to their superiors, they become an unorganized rout. If they do not dominate their enemy, they will die. Nothing else is of importance to winning and consequently living through a war. After all, this is their primary task in life.

The problem arises when Rome puts soldiers on the frontier collecting taxes and such. They just upset everybody. They are men aching for a fight. Men who want to dominate.

Us Israelites have learned to live with others as our masters for to long a time. During slavery in Egypt, in Babylonia and now in Roman hands we have been controlled by others. Between these times we have been slave holders. So we know how slaves should be treated. The Romans are supposed to be nice and respect us when we obey them. Not as these men do, desecrating our temples and hurting our people. These soldiers are horses asses. What does Rome expect to accomplish?

They need diplomats out here. Their actions are the exact opposite of soldiers. Good diplomats never dominate or acquiesce. They would not be diplomats if they did. Since the soldiers have little need for diplomacy in battle they have never been trained in it. In fact, that kind of thinking must be erased in a soldier if they are to succeed in battle. If they keep on, rebellion of us Jews will be the outcome of their actions. [In fact it was just such an incident by a Roman soldier that started the rebellion of the Jews in the 60's]

Sometimes I walk too far ahead of the others. I forget to look back to check where the others are sometimes. On a beautiful day, I would be in rapture. The others called it foolishness.

The beauty of nature always fascinated me. Sometimes until I forgot everything else. I once watched a grasshopper until the others walked by. They caught up, passed me and had it not been for the laughter, I would probably still be there looking at that grasshopper. I felt stupid. I tried to share what I saw. Gods beauty in that simple animal. I tried to explain it to them. They said they knew. Adults don't see things the way us children do. Each time I tried to explain it to them, they kept interrupting me. They already knew, they would tell me. I thought they were dismissing me, but they did not laugh any more. You see they were once children and I think they remember vaguely that they use to see grasshoppers the way I do. So they allow me to be like this.

I know I have one pretty serious fault. I do not always watch the sun. I am supposed to find a place for the mid day meal. Usually I do though. I have to chose a place where the others can stop too. Someplace where they will have shade if it is hot or sunny if it is cool. Preferably by a river or spring. Then they catch up to me and we can eat our midday meal together. If it is at all dangerous, then I will stay at least fifty meters separate and away from the road. Then someone will come and bring me food.

Even though the rest of the group travels behind me at a good distance, when we get to the town we are to stay at I can usually immediately go back to being a girl again, but if there are soldiers or if it is in southern asia minor I have to wait. Then when we got to the house we were going to stay at, the boy clothes and cap can come off. If the people who's house we are staying at asked, my friends tell them, I am a scout and since I am a girl I am more expendable than a boy. They tell them I also can charm the people easier. That lead to another problem though. Living like this, I am often confused about which was the lie and which the truth. I still am a bit, but less so now.

Once nightfall came I was almost always able to be a little girl. Even then, it was strange, either I was a little girl and I got to play with the other kids or I was required to act like a grownup and sit very quietly. I would answer the questions of bearded old men about the Torah. They were all right but the ones in the north were very smelly from garlic.

It may surprise you but I am the person in the group that gives the talks. I started when I was about five years old. This is what Jesus wanted and it is a request that is honored. You see, I was in another life a very wise man, at least once that is. Also when I get stuck the Archangel, Gabriel will help me. I can hear the angels as loud and as clearly as when two people normally talk together in a room. Its no difference to me except of course that I am the only one who can hear them. So when I get stuck, especially when I am talking about something new, I depend on them to help me.

*** Goats new trick
As goat got older he taught himself a new trick. It happened while I was walking through a village. It was just a normal village, but it was to small to merit an army outpost so the villagers had this one guy they used to keep order. I came walking up to him and he was huge. He was just standing in the middle of the road with his hands curled up into fists that rested on his hips. He stopped me and started asking me questions. The man was very brutish. He wore a lot of leather that was smelly and dirty. He was mean and a bully. He was heavy. Very thick through the middle. His arms were big. Mostly what I remember though was that big metal belt buckle that he wore. It was all shiny, of brass and was right in front of my face. I tried to ignore him as he talked down at me. So I fixed my eyes on the buckle. He would talk loud and breath hard. The belt buckle would jump out 4 or 6 inches every time he wanted to make a point.

I had learned not to listen too hard to people. I would detach, and keep my distance inside. That way I could ask clear questions and think. I could always think when someone had finished talking but this way I could sometimes even think while the people were talking to me. if not, then at least I was sure I would not be caught up completely in what they were saying to me. With this particular man I felt it was very important not to listen too hard to him.

The man was quite angry about something but I never figured out what it was. He would huff and puff and yell over me. When he got really excited that belt buckle wouldn't just go in and out. It would jump up and down. I was totally fascinated with that buckle. All my attention was on it. Perhaps I should have been afraid, but I think my inner self knew it would not help if I got frightened. So I just kept looking at that buckle jump up and down and in and out. Finally he realized what I was looking at and bent way over to me. He looked me right in the eye and asked. 'Are you listening?' I nodded my head up and down. Then assured that he had all my attention he slowly rose up to his full regal height. As he took a deep breath, my eyes went right back to that buckle and saw it leap right back out again. He was so upset. Saying filthy words. yelling and turning red. He got so upset that stuff started to run out of his mouth. He started to yell and spray me.

I did not like him anymore at all and I started to get frightened. He blasphemed the Lords name and I backed up. Just then, goat decided he did not like him either and started to eat his cloak. The man backed away. Goat went forward and nibbled again at his clothes. The man backed up several times. Everywhere he went though goat would follow and bite at his clothes. Goat was not very careful either. You could tell when he got a some of the mans skin, the man would yell very loud. When the man got about 20 meters away, he turned and started to run. Goat kicked his heels in the air and came back to me. His head was high and he pranced like a stallion. He was so happy. He could share his emotions with me. It felt like he had never been happier than that at that moment. Not in his whole life. Boy was he proud of what he had done. I laughed and laughed so hard.

That mean man just sulked away. He had probably punished 100 men by beating them with his heavy fists. Goat had beaten him though. From then on, if someone stopped me for more than one half a minute, goat would start to eat their clothes if I wouldn't stop him.


***How I Disguised Myself
When we travel I was told to avoid talking to people as much as possible. So usually when a person stopped me, I would speak very low, so that they couldn't hear me and I would pretend that I did not understand them. I would leave it to them to figure it out why and to think what they wanted to. I could be deaf, stupid, shy or just unable to speak their language, whatever they chose for me to be.

I use to just speak different languages since I came to know three or four. I also knew a few words in about three other languages. If they were Jewish I would speak Greek. If they weren't Jewish I would speak Aramaic, what we Jews speak. It always amazed me that very few people could speak more than one language. I use to use different dialects or speak with different accents. Since we traveled often, I learned how to speak a lot of dialects and languages just playing with other children. I stopped using different dialects though. It is amazing how many dialects people understand. Even if they only spoke one dialect, they could often understand several. So I until I found out more about the person, I pretended that I just didn't understand them, period. Even that was a difficult thing at times, though. They would often wonder who I was and where I was from that I could speak so little of their language.

I guess that for a long time I needed the challenge of learning languages and using them. Also I was too embarrassed to pretend to be stupid. My ego liked being to knowledgeable rather than not knowledgeable at all, which is the effect that playing dumb created. After a while though, I didn't mind it and acting the idiot became the usual way I hid from the questions of prying people. People always seem to soften to a person who suffered from an obvious limitation and is of no threat to them. Still they didn't see the use in conversing with an idiot and usually worked hard at cutting short the conversation. If they gave me food, they would find that the one thing I knew was where I was going and it was always somewhere very far away from there. They would often give me even more food.

Please don't think that I was always trying to fill my pockets with food at other peoples expense. I wouldn't accept food all the time. Only when we had very little ourselves. You see, we were dependent on benefactors along the was as well as the people who attended our talks for our food. Sometimes people did not receive us well. Some towns we would pass through were actually hostile because we were Jews (they of course didn't know we were also followers of the way) and we would have to move through them quickly. It always amazed me how different ways people felt towards us. In some towns everyone would treat us like lepers, yet a town five miles farther down the road were as generous and nice as could be. But even those towns that hated us, often had some members that didn't, because more than once we would pass through and someone from the town would later on catch up with us and give us food. They sometimes came in secret to bring it, even though it might make their friends angry if they found out. To my memory it was just a few handfuls of times that we needed food. When we did though I felt it was like a challenge to work my charms to get it.

My friends of the way would be so pleased in those difficult times when I did show up at night with food. The joy and love would flow and the blessings and prayers for the one who was so generous to the less fortunate were generously sent to God. During the meal our benefactors would be blessed and thanked again. It became a ritual. Each of them trying to out do the rest in praise of that person they may have passed but never personally met. They would say such wonderful things about that person that soon they were like saints and I had ended up giggling. In a way, I guess they were.

If just playing dumb wasn't working by itself to keep away unwanted attention, then I would just cough all over the people with a cough that just would not quit! I could also just throw up if I wanted to. Being very sick would work by itself right away and I used it alone when I was pressed for time and had to get through a town or tax station quickly and without any questions. No one wanted to get sick. These important officials would always find something more important to do like scrape off the bottom of their sandal. Acting sick could attract a lot of attention though. I didn't want a lot of people noticing me even if it was at a distance. You see they would talk about me. Maybe notice I was Jewish or was perhaps a boy. This could bring unwanted questions to my friends that were following me. Since they were obviously also Jewish they would be asked it they knew the 'sick Jewish boy'. That became less of a worry though when my friends started to tell curious people that 'yes, the little boy is with us but he is highly contagious and we don't want him walking with us'. Those nosy people seemed to just melt away from any group that had formed from fear of catching it themselves. Of course my friends couldn't stop in the next town or drink from the local well after that.

***The learned Scholar
Once I met a learned Greek scholar on the road. He was a very intelligent man. His hat was a loud red 2 1/2 twists of cloth with a green fringe. I think the cloth hat meant something if you were Greek. I was afraid of him at first. Not because of his being mean but his curious eyes seemed to cut through me and ask a million questions even before a word came from his lips. Right away I thought for sure that he could tell that I was a girl.

I later realized he would have done nothing if he had found me out. But at the time he frightened me and this thought I had of his knowing that I was a girl petrified me. His penetrating, curious eyes and intelligence were a match for my own. When I began to mature, I found my own eyes would have this same penetrating effect on the people around me.

Anyway, I could not think of what I could say to this man. I had the uncomfortable feeling that even if I were able to speak Egyptian, he would have answered me! I thought of inventing a language to fool him! but then I calmed down and got back to my senses. I played dumb and it worked. I was afraid that he would despise me for being stupid. But he had a great heart and his love matched his intelligence. He spoke slowly and succinctly to me making simple sentences. He amazed me, he even broke down his questions and statements to very simple partial statements. He would ask me each of these and when he pieced together what I said, he had his more complex and complete answer. When he wanted to know where I lived, I pretended not to understand. He understood that an idiot would probably not know the name of the town or how to describe it well. Quick as a wink he had figured out his approach. He asked me if I had a home. Then when he was sure that I was concentrating on my home he had me point in the direction of it. This man was amazing. Then he asked me if I was going to sleep there that night. When I shook my head no. He asked me about tomorrow. He had me open my bag and saw all I had was enough food for a little snack in the middle of the day. I pretended to let him look in it out of stupidity, for I knew he would not take what little I had, as others had done before. I realized that he was trying to determine how far I was from home by the amount of food I had. Then when he looked at me in disbelief, I knew I had him.

He asked again where I was going to sleep that night. I pull my rag of a robe over my head and sat on the side of the road holding Goat. His expression showed me he was in awe that I was sent out for a long walk, me an idiot, alone with no food! He asked me if I needed any money. I smiled and grinned and moved my head up and down laughing with a feigned sudden happiness. Pretending that everything was going to be alright now that I would have money for food and be able to stay at an inn. He still had not determined where I lived and wanted to know. I suppose so he would know how much money he should provide me with. I could sense the difficulty of the moment. He sighed and asked me some more questions.

My friends were catching up with me by this time. Soon they would come upon us. I had to let them know to leave me alone. I was fine and they sure could mess up a good thing! I had to stop them from interfering! So I kept moving goat around until my back was facing my companions, then I gave them our secret hand signal that we give each other. It was an understood sign that we Christians use to let each other know we were Christians. When someone held the last two fingers against their palm and allowed the first two fingers and thumb to stick out it symbolized or showed that you were a Christian. Later on, shaking the fingers downward became a general blessing. Often exhibited to friends as they left. It symbolized the essence of Christians love and grace. In a very simple way.

My companions got the idea and went on, paying little attention to the man and little boy who were talking on the side of the road. I had to hold goat though, he wanted to go along with them. Goat kept tugging on me and some of my friends who were watching me out of the corner of their eyes started to laugh. Soon everyone was laughing which just seemed to encourage goat to pull harder! I was afraid the gentleman would notice but he was really trying hard, almost to hard, to communicate with me in order to find out where my home was. Finally I had enough of this. I did not know how I could be both smart and dumb at the same time, but I let my eyes light up and I said 'home'. I crooked my head and left an inquiring look on my face. To which he responded with a solid 'yes'. I could hear his exhale and we both relaxed, but for different reasons. I proudly held up two fingers and said Thursday (it was Tuesday).

Later I thought that was brash of me to have suddenly become able to grasp something as abstract as the number of days the journey would take. God had inspired me though. To both say Thursday and hold up two fingers. Well I guess God inspired the man as well. He was taken aback with the sudden knowledge of the time my long trek was going to take. In truth of fact, he backed off in shock. Then he quickly reached into his bag and gave me a small silver coin. So fast that he hadn't time to think!

Silver! I had seen it in the marketplace before, but to have it given to me, just like that. I was completely amazed! I stood there and just looked at it. We were so poor. You see, every Christian took a vow, to not privately own anything. The material things of this world can take us from our lord Jesus. It is so easy to depend on things of the world and not trust in God to control and direct our lives.

Time we all felt was imperative, it was said that while I was alive Jesus would return. Everyone gave all to the church, all that they had. The church in turn provided everything for us. (Acts 4:32-35) But a Silver coin. I looked up and he just beamed with his good deed. Then he turned it over in my hand. There was a mans picture on it. I was not looking at the picture! I was stunned. I couldn't give a damn about the picture. Silver! I was frozen, in shock. He told me it was a picture of the Emperor Tiberius and he tried to explain the things it would buy. About how it was good to give to others, to the less fortunate. He told me how he was a follower of a Greek religion and benevolence was prominent to their belief. I knew most of what he was saying to me and I felt so good about him. At the same time that he was talking, I was concentrating on that shiny coin.

My mind started spinning. I was figuring out what could be bought with it. A small herd of goats. Maybe a horse! Then to a practical use. I knew we could feed the group for several weeks. I reigned in my thoughts and had to assure myself that it was just money. I soon understood its potential power and finished up my thoughts. I began to be less shocked with having that coin.

I tried to regain my thoughts but I was dumbfounded that he would have given me that coin. It must have shown! Just like that, he stopped talking and stared directly down into my eyes. Right in the middle of his talk. And then he exhaled with a sigh. What he realized, I do not know. Perhaps that he was trying to communicate his spiritual understanding to an idiot, and now he felt like the idiot.

I did not know what to do next. I had never been at a loss for words but just then I was at a loss for even a thought. I wanted to explain that we believed the same as he did. In generosity, love, kindness and acceptance of others. Me a Jew and him a gentile. It gave me such hope for a common understanding. For a bridge between our religion and cultures. What was often said about Gentiles simply was not true. We were not so very much different. I wanted to grab him by the hand and run to the others and introduce them to him. I am sure that they would have had much to talk about. Perhaps he would become a follower of the Way. He was wonderful. So much of God was evident in this man. He was so like Peter the apostle. I think what I said though was 'dah'.

A very dour look slowly spread across his face. Then an anger welled up in him. An anger I have seen that so many men get once they are no longer boys. He barely displayed it though. I knew his insides were so confused and twisted. His inner guide was helping him to do right by giving us the coin, yet another inner sense was telling him that I was fooling him. Maybe it was telling him even more than this. I felt ashamed and sorry for him. I could not tell him anything though for I did not know what he would do.

Then he took the Silver coin from my hand and mumbled something about me losing it. Then gave me two copper coins. Enough for just a meal or two. I wanted to tell him it was all right. To explain how I would use it for food for our whole group. That I was responsible and that I could be trusted, that I was not an idiot.

Oh, I couldn't say that though. It would serve no good and only anger him. He might even take me to the authorities and accuse me of swindling him. No, I don't think he would do that. I was at a complete loss for what to say. I had started the lie and I had to continue with it. But at the loss of the coin.

How could I even justify expecting to keep the coin? How could I justify anything that came out of this lie. God came to me as he often does and graced me. In a second I released it. It was over. All the pressure of the money was gone. It was all right. In that moment I grew up quite a lot. God had shown me the evil that our minds can create. We can gain materially, often it can be done pretty easily. Depending on how we acquire it, it can be a good force or a bad one in our life. So often material gain is superficial, transitory and of pain.

It is horrible when we achieve by ill or evil means. Then we must work so hard not to lose what we have taken that rightfully belongs to others. It becomes the worse form of work, because inside, in our soul, we know it is wrong for us to have it. It has been achieved at the expense of another. It truly belongs to that other. God tries very hard to get it to where it belongs. We expend a tremendous amount of energy just holding on to it. Trying to prevent it from going where it belongs. All the while, we are in pain because deep inside we know the truth. That we have stolen what belongs to another and they do not have what is justly theirs. If we live our life holding on as hard as we can to that which is not rightfully ours, then what good is it?

You know that gentleman chuckled as if he knew what he had done. I do not think that he knew though, not consciously. Deep down inside he did though. He had turned the tables on me. I was fooling him and thinking all along I was getting away with it. He kept making it harder and harder for me to play my game. Then he introduced his game. Suddenly he had me playing his and I did not even realize it. I wondered what would have happened if I had admitted that I was not an idiot. Would he have let me keep the coin. No, not only would he have not let me keep it, but it would not have been right. I still would had obtained the offering of the silver coin by deception in the first place. To change things and try to profit by what I knew to have been a lie in the first place would be bad.

As I walked away I wondered what he knew. Figuring anything out just then was a difficult. My mind, my world was spinning around just then. So many questions, understandings and half understandings were hammering relentlessly at me. I was sure of only one thing I told myself, that he didn't know I was a girl. That was a small satisfaction. At least there was something I could be sure of. I could be sure of something else to I realized as I became aware of the presence of the Archangel Gabriel. Gabriel had worked the strings on that man like a marionette. That angel had taught me a lot of lessons in a very short period of time and I was soon to find out, the others in my group would learn a few lessons as well.

Boy I really wanted to go to Greece after that. I ran ahead to the others with the two coins the man had given me jingling in my bag. When I caught up to the others I told them I wanted to go to Greece, They said we would not go there before the resurrection. They were wrong, several of our groups would travel there before ten years had gone by.

Ester showed appreciation at the two coins the wonderful man had given me but the others laughed when I told them of the Silver coin. From most of them it was a mocking laugh. It's strange when you have something of value that other people don't have, they seem to dislike you. I guess its envy. But what's strange is that they dislike, or perhaps it is that they fault you even more when you lose it. If I were talking of the two copper coins they would not have even reacted.
Walking along, they said it was probably a brass button or a medal shinned up. They made fun of me for the next week. Their comments were about metal. They would point at something, even the short swords that some men wore and say they were made of Silver. I finally got tired of it and glared at Joshua. He stopped and then soon the others got tired of their joke as the air began to fill with tension. That tension was because I just knew I was right and everyone feels it when their and my beliefs are contrary.

I started thinking again. about the coin. It is interesting how if you are not defending yourself how you can think things out better. If it was a button or medal there were no holes in it for sewing. It was also quite small to be a button. and who would have a button with the Emperor on one side and I think the picture of a bird on the other? I asked the others what could make brass very heavy, just in an offhanded sort of way over the dinner meal. There was a silence and everyone turned towards me. Even Rachel who always talks whenever no one else does. Mary stopped in the middle of serving Joshua his food. When all their attention was focused on me. I said, 'It felt as though it was three times as heavy as brass or copper.' Mouths began to drop open, because they knew I had never held silver before and didn't know how heavy it was. Then I slowly asked, 'do they put the emperors profile and letters and numbers on buttons or medals?' Then I added very slowly 'and on both sides?' 'Do they make buttons without holes in them?' I swear by that time Joshua's mouth was open wide enough that a bird could have flown in, turned around and flown out. The tension that had been filling the air since I had stared down the others became a heaviness that I could feel hanging over them. I said, 'You know that guy is still getting to me'. 

I had to turn away from the fire since a very wry, and very very satisfied smile was coming across my face. Finally that gentleman had gotten to the others as well. It was very quiet for the rest of the meal as the tension dissipated with their understanding of what had really occurred, and no one ever spoke of that incident again. It seemed the others had more respect for me from that time on. I certainly did.

That little event with the man had ended so soon. The short time I had spent with him had a very profound effect on me. Giving me an understanding about people that I would carry for the rest of my life. From then on, I knew deep down inside, that the Gentiles were just the same as we Jewish people were.

To be continued.

 

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