Jesus in our time – 16

Jesus in our time – 16

Book of Remarks Chapter 1, verses 9 through 13

And it came to pass in those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John at the Boise; and immediately coming up from the water, he saw the heavens dividing, and the Spirit as a dove coming down upon him; and a voice came out of the heavens, “Why are you here, in a hazily-remembered Boise Summer of 2006, sloppily pasted onto the 2024 US presidential election? Aren’t you needed elsewhere?”

And Jesus, his rubber water sandals and polyester octopus-print swim trunks submerged in a slow-flowing bend of the Boise River, arched his bare chest, arms stretched out open on either side, up to heaven, “You know what you’ve made of me! With all that publicity. I’m everywhere now, always working working working!” And then, straightening, his lithe musculature glinting in the summer sun, “Here you happen to find me in the writing oF Bartleby Willard, who only writes what he feels qualified to write.”

“Ah, yes, Bartleby Willard. A daydream of a daydream writing daydreams! Seems harmless enough. Their trouble begin when they start thinking themselves real, which they can’t help but confuse with Real.”

And immediately doth the Spirit put him forth to the wilderness, and he was there in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by the Adversary, and he was with the beasts, and the messengers were ministering to him.

And the Adversary, who didn’t want to win so much as to be hugged and told he was special and prized above the common crowd, tempted Jesus, saying, “If you’re God’s emissary on earth, then dissolve all governments and replace them with your wise council. Why let the little fools keep mucking things up with their silly prides and greeds?”

But Jesus, breathing the fresh air high up in the pines while a wide river gushed by, gurgling, tussling, tossing, slapping, and chug-a-lugging in his ears, mused — gently, longingly, his eyes wandering the silver white-flashing back of a moving river — :

Who hath meted out the Spirit of Jehovah. Who’s His counsellor, teaching Him!?

With whom consulted He? Whom learned He from? Who teacheth Him in the path of judgment? Who teacheth Him knowledge? Who the way of understanding causeth Him to know?

Lo, nations He reckons as a drop from a bucket, and as small dust on the balance; Lo, He taketh up isles as a little, tender thing.

And the forests of the Americas suffice not in wood nor in beasts, a burnt-offering to make before the Lord.

All the nations [are] as nothing before Him, Less than nothing and emptiness, They have been reckoned to Him.

[Isiaih 40:13-17, starting with Young’s Literal Translation, but then fiddled around with]

And it came to pass, that the Adversary, grew tired of tempting Jesus, for his temptations tempted Jesus not at all, but he stood tall in the crisp pine- and river-scented, smiling calmly into the broad morning light, and his rebuttals were more like poems or little jokes than fights.

“This avails none. Let me wander off from here, a lifeless, soulless, empty husk, with no God anchoring my belly, no woman answering the call of my loins, no friend to hear the tumult of my shallow — lacking as it does the deep ocean of the eternal Light — mind and unmoored heart.”

But Jesus heard the Adversary’s very thoughts. They appeared over Jesus’s watching mind like lightning sparking, thunder booming, and black clouds bursting wind and water. And Jesus’s heart went out to the Adversary, and he turned and spoke these words:

“Not human, not creature, not worm or roach, nor even protozoa, nor even a virus, no, not a dead stone lacks the deep ocean of God’s eternal Light. How could you, rebellious though you’ve been and must remain for the time and space of this single little universe, be nothing but broken sticks and stretched cloths? Here, let us rent kayaks, that you might try to drown me while we together fight the rapids, enjoying in moments between your clumsy attacks and my deft parries, the fellowship of the journey through the sunlit spray and rapids-slapped stones.”

And they made a day of it high in the mountains a little beyond Boise town, not far at all if you have a car.

Author: Bartleby Willard
Editor: Amble Whistletown
Copyright: Andy Watson

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