>

A SUNDAY STORY


A SUNDAY STORY

At the end of the Gospel of John, the Evangelist makes the following claim:

This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written. (24-25)

This claim is the driving force behind “A Sunday Story.” Have you ever wondered about – for example – what happened to the Roman Centurion after he made his claim as to who Jesus is? Or maybe you have pondered, the woman who was caught in adultery that Jesus refused to condemn, what is her story? If you have, then you will understand the depth of the process called “walking between the lines.”
Each week (for the Sunday Gospel), our DRE, Earl Gervais will ponder the story, and share with you, what else might have been going on. Here is a brief description of how you can also join in the walking.

*****

In my book, Walking Between The Lines: Some Stories The Bible Didn’t Tell, I offer an imaginative way of digging into the stories of Scripture. I suggest to the reader that when Scripture is opened, it can be read, and listened to, or even retold, from the point of view of someone who was actually there – from the words of the Evangelist, or even from the words of someone “who might have been there.” It is a process of allowing the beauty and the mystery of the stories to fill our imaginations, our hearts, and our souls.

The Basic steps are as follows:

·       Pick a story from Scripture, then read it. But don’t just read it, allow it to come alive within you, close your eyes, and BE THERE.

·       Start by choosing a character – one who is actually in the Scripture story, e.g. Peter, the Samaritan woman at the well, the Roman Centurion at the foot of the cross; or imagine a character who might have been there, e.g. the owner of the boat that Jesus took out into the Sea of Galilee, or maybe a very dear friend of Jairus, the synagogue official whose daughter was brought back from death, or as we will do in this weekly adventure, the daughter of the innkeeper, or a stable hand, a shepherd maybe, an apprentice to the magi, or any number of souls who could have been there – then allow that character to share their full story with you. (You will see what I mean as you read the stories found here.)

It is my hope, my prayer, that once you allow yourself to “walk between the lines,” you won’t be able to look at our marvelous faith story any other way. And I pray that God will whisper messages, and thoughts of peace and joy into your heart. Here, in A Sunday Story, I will offer to you a story that hopefully will take you to a deeper reflection of the Sunday Gospel. And should you wish, I welcome your thoughts, and your feedback. Just e-mail them to egervais@arch-no.org. Feel free to imagine your own stories of what could have been.

MGPJ&LBEAYSWTJL

*****
Week of  February 10-11, 2018

When something absolutely amazing happens to you, for you, or to someone you care for; can you possibly be silent about it? I know I couldn't! That is exactly the point of this week's Gospel/Sunday Story. The only difference is that the experience comes straight from the hand of God, in the person of His amazing Son, Jesus. Jesus can do the same for us. We may not be a leper, but we cane be broken at times. And it is in those times when we must go to Jesus, just as the leper did, and ask for His healing hand.

How Can I Keep This To Myself (Mark 1:40-45)
Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time Cycle B

(A continuation of Taavi’s story…)

After I witnessed what I did, I just felt the deep need to go home and share the story with my mother. So, the next morning, I rose early. Aunt Zahra was already up and fixing the morning meal for all the guests she had in her house. Besides me, there was her son-in-law, Simon, his brother, Andrew and their two new friends, James and John. Oh, and staying around after some of the other healings there was Yared, Andrew’s friend and a few others who the man, Yeshua kept referring to as disciples. I began to wonder, should I consider myself a disciple of this man; was he indeed the messiah that my people had longed for?

I gave my aunt a huge hug, and told her I needed to get back home, mother always needs help with the Treat. The word was spreading and orders were now coming in from all over the region. I also promised to put in a good word, so that she shares the recipe with aunt Zahra.

“It is not a concern, Taavi. We are sisters, we need something to squabble over. Besides, if my son-in-law is going to follow this man, I have a very strong feeling that I will be preparing meals for many more people – no time to do the Treat proper service.”

I just smiled and hugged her again, “Tell Palma I will see her soon.”

The walk back home seemed quicker. It felt as though there was a special spirit coursing through my soul, a spirit of hope. As soon as I arrived home, mother was waiting at the door with one of those looks on her face.

“Before you say anything, aunt Zahra was indeed sick, so your premonition was correct. However, it wasn’t the Treat that made her well, it was the messiah.”

“Taavi, don’t you start…”

“No, really! There was a man there; his name is Yeshua, he was with Simon. He cured Zahra, and several others. I saw it with my own eyes.”

My mother’s face began to light up, “I had heard stories, but I never imagined, that maybe…”

Before she could say anything else, Gavriil walked through the door. Gavriil and I were like brothers. His mother and father both died when he was very young and my parents took him in. About two years ago, mother and I began to notice the marks. Gavriil had come to be a leper. And in spite of my mother’s insistence that he must stay here, Gavriil left for the desert, but would return occassionally, and my mother would always send him back with food and plenty of Treat for those he was now living with. Also, in spite of Gavriil’s insistence that she not, my mother would always greet him with a hug, just as she would me whenever I came home.

As she always said, “If Yahweh wishes the leprosy on me so be it, but nothing will keep me from showing you my love.”

I think this is what has kept Gavriil alive, for often he has spoken of ending his life, but mother would always say to him, over her dead body. I think that spirit of her love keeps his spirit of hope. She always reminded him that Yahweh has a purpose for his life, and his blessing. She always called his leprosy a blessing. I certainly didn’t get it, until the idea popped in my head.

I interrupted my mother’s hug, “Come, Gavriil, we must go!”

“But…”

“No buts my dear brother. Mother we may be back tonight, then again we may not, so don’t cook for us.”

Out the door we went.

“Where are we going,” asked Gavriil.

“There is someone I need you to meet.”

On the walk back toward my Aunt Zahra’s house I shared everything that my heart and soul screamed I must. And, for the first time in two years, I saw a real light of hope in my dear brother’s eyes. It was a good bit after midday when we arrived back at Aunt Zahra’s. Palma greeted us at the door, she knew Gavriil as well as I did. There was a time when I thought Palma would marry Gavriil.

“Where is Yeshua,” I blurted.

“I think down by the shore,” Palma replied.

Without saying anything, I sort of pulled at Gavriil’s tunic and we headed toward the sea. It didn’t take us long and I was the first to spot Yeshua. He was away by himself, standing on the shore line gazing out to the horizon. Knowing what I thought I knew, I was certain he was in prayer. I turned to Gavriil, pointed and spoke.

“That is him, the man who is standing alone.”

Gavriil broke into a bit of a jog, and arrived at Yeshua’s side before I did. As I was walking up I heard the two men. Gavriil knelt down begged Yeshua and said, "If you wish, you can make me clean."

I could see Yeshua was moved with pity. I watched as he stretched out his hand,
touched my brother, and said to him, "I do will it. Be made clean."

I saw the leprosy leave Gavriil immediately, and he was made clean. Then I fell to my knees in awe and in wonder. I heard Yeshua warn Gavriil and he dismissed him at once, saying, "See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priests and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them."

Gavriil and I leapt to our feets and started back to the other side of town. Gavriil turned to me.

“How can I possibly keep this to myself? I must tell my friends in the desert.”

“But you heard Yeshua. Tell no one, he said.”

The entire walk back home was a constant debate. How does one , once he is certain he has found the messiah, not desire to share that good news with the entire world?

When we arrived at my house, my mother was again standing in the doorway, but this time not with one of her looks, but with a glow of joy and wonder. Had I not known better, I would swear she knew what had happened. She took Gavriil into her arms and hugged him.

“Yahweh be praised. He has found in you an instrument of his love.”

Gavriil stayed the night with us, but in the morning when I woke he was gone. But he had written a note:

I have gone to show myself to the priests, and to do the prescriptions of Moses, just as I was instructed. But, I cannot keep to myself what I have been blessed with. I must share with the entire world that the messiah walks among us, and will be with us until the end of days.

*****


NOTE: If you have missed any of the previous SUNDAY STORIES, just e-mail me at egervais@arch-no.org, and I will send them to you. There is a new SUNDAY STORY posted every Friday.