- On the run?
No, only without lodgings tonight. And you?
Why? you ask. Do you, a Jew and a Galilean, like living under the Romans?
Of course not.
And what are you doing to free Yisrael?
What can I do, I, a woman?
A pair of women emerged from the shadows. Come with us! We are gathering
friends, comrades in the struggle.
What does your struggle look like?
What does it look like? Like every struggle for freedom. What are you
asking? Don't you know anything about what's going on? Did you see the
crosses over there? Are you a Jew who clasps her hands in her lap and waits
for a rescuer to relieve you of the struggle? Come, girl, come with us.
Here: take this, hide it under your cloak.
Cold steel: a dagger.
A low, sharp order, and the shadows crept away. I saw no face. The dagger
lay in my hand.
I considered: over there the Baptist with his penance screaming. Repent, for
the end of time is near, change your life; and here the dagger and the
struggle for freedom. Over there waiting for the Messiah, and here your own
deeds. The purifying water, the purifying blood.
Morning came. I saw the hill with the crosses. The bodies still hung on the
wood. There were women among them, with their bellies turned toward the
stake. What a feeling of shame. I laughed out loud, then I cried. My
people, my people, what they do to you, how they shame you! How they hound
you! And no one to save you from misery. No one. Where is the Eternal One
who made the testament with us, the great, eternally valid testament? He is
breaking it! He, not us this time. But maybe it's all a deception and this
Eternal One doesn't exist. Maybe the Greek was right when he said: we make
gods, we make our own god. In order to bear our misery, we invent the
Father-God and the Messiah. Infantile beliefs, foolishness. Enough of that.
Final repudiation. Earless, eyeless, powerless! I screamed it into the cold
morning. You're supposed to be the Father? You are not. You are supposed to
be with us? Where then? You promised us your kingdom. Where is it? Where is
your help? You make the rich richer, the powerful more powerful, you forget
the poor and even take away their daily bread. That's what you're like, IF
you even exist. It would be better for you and for us if you didn't exist.
Listen, in Yisrael's name you are never forgiven. Amen.
Frank Thomas Smith