The theme of prayer the other night was the question Jesus put to the blind man—What would you have me do for you? The answer was easy for him—I want to see. And so he did, by his faith.
It was an interesting thing to think in what my answer would be—or better, what my answer is, to the same question. And, it came easily to me as well. What would you have me do for you? I would have you write with my life. I want to write more of your story with my life.
And with that came the most marvelous imagery, the most beautiful pictures in my mind and heart. It was something like the wedding feast at Cana, but instead, people gathered around a fire at night, telling stories. All had told one except Jesus, who is laughing and looking deeply as he pokes the embers to stir more flame.
¨There is another tale,¨ he said between the conversations and good spirit…and as people began to realize what he said, they quieted slowly and turned toward him.
¨There is another tale,¨ he said again, ¨But it is not in my bag to bring forth and reveal, though it has its home in me. I know it by twist and surprise, grace and syllable, but again I say, it is not in my bag of stories to spin amidst these sparks and stars. Search your own.¨
Surprised and curious, people unbuckled or untied their purses and satchels, searching for some forgotten hint of the words Jesus might mean.
I folded over the flap of the bag always at my side and slid my hand in as well—moreas a matter of following suit than of hope in finding something new that was not there when I gathered my things for the day in the morning. My fingers touched the familiar edges and shapes lovingly. It was a perfect bag, a comfortable bag, that held all I needed in a day and I kew each ítem in it.
I looked and saw Jesus tilt his head back, pulling the person next to him to his front. Soon, they were both pointing at the stars and marvelling. Then, my fingers went into a far soft corner of my satchel where a coin often likes to hide. There was something new there—smooth and gently curved with a stopper in the top. It fit easily in my palm as I carefully withdrew my hand.
I lifted my own head, staring across the spark-lit darkness. This time Jesus was looking at me. And so were the others.
I held the vessel up to the moon and starlight to see more clearly. As I brought it closer to me, I found myself protecting it almost reverently, as one might the tender first flame of a newly lit candle until it gathers strength.
Jesus passed through the ash and flame, approaching me face to face. His hands wrapped my own for a moment before he moved behind me and put his hands on my shoulders. No one had spoken for several moments.
¨Ink?¨ I asked. I felt him nod gently. My thumbs loosened the cork plug and I tucked it safely in a pocket. That same hand reached again into my bag and found a narrow roll of cloth. Working free what the worn material protected, I brought out a freshly sharpened reed.
I felt Jesus smile and sit down behind me. Others also began to sit, leaning on one another for warmth and the pleasure of close company.
I dipped the reed inside the fine clay bottle and felt the refreshing confidence of river water moving through my being. I smelled lilacs as though I were napping in their branches and oh! A taste filled me entirely! Cinnamon, honey, and clove! The bite of curry, garlic, and pungent, warm, citrus…smoothed with a clean hint of something close to vanilla. The sound of drumming met in my hearing with the calls of birds whose songs were the light for flowers to open! Before my eyes was the very world! People standing shoulder to shoulder, weeping and dancing, people eating, sharing, walking together…
I heard myself sigh in wonder before I spoke. ¨The story I continue is old and true, according to all the faith I have. In the beginning was the Word…¨