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THE TONY CROSS COLUMN

Article No. 75

A day in the life of a disciple

God, its hot today, not a cloud in the sky – I don’t suppose Andrew will be able to spare time to come back and tell me what is happening – I quite like it in this position, guarding the rear – seems to be my position in life! – supposed to be making for Galilee – oh there is a village ahead – looks pretty small – thank goodness the main crowd hasn’t arrived yet, otherwise we would have to go round it….

Oh! we’re moving – good – I want to get moving – hate standing still with everyone milling around – don’t like just staying in one place for days – not that we do that often! – no proper bed, scrounging for food carrying water – hey ho! – I don’t know this village – seems a nice little place and the people look friendly – that’s a pretty girl over there carrying the water jar – I think she is smiling at me! - wouldn’t mind getting to know her better! – yes, she is giving me a long look – but no time now of course and anyway life is much too hectic to have time to get to know her – where is Jesus? Oh yes, I see him – up front talking to Peter and John as usual – I really hope Andrew can remember to fill me in with what they were talking about and what the plans are – if he knows the plans! –I sometimes wonder whether there are any plans or whether we are going to wander around these villages for evermore! – of course Jesus says he has to go to the House of Israel – hell of a lot of places to visit if we are going to cover all Israel! – I’ll be tramping around these dusty little villages until I’m fifty – I now really appreciate the super life I used to have before I left home – Mum’s cooking – Dad having enough work to bring in the cash – and my three brothers – wonder what they are all doing now? – Silas did all right getting that job with the farmer – lucky sod….

Oh! we’ve stopped – some sort of argument I think – better get closer ready to form the protective circle around the Master as usual – God, how I hate everybody pushing and shoving and trying to hear what the Master is saying – how can everyone hear when it is a semi-private conversation? – but they do try! oh! I see – it is another blind beggar – the word has really got around after Jericho – I never knew there were so many blind people! – I suppose if I were blind I would lie in wait for a holy man they say can work miracles – ‘What do you want?’ The Master does ask some daft questions! Of course the man wants his sight back – that’s obvious – what is he doing? – he is using his spit to make some soil into a kind of mud and smearing it all over the man's face – no! only over his eyes – why on earth is he doing that? – it can’t be magic mud – the guy is letting him do it – now he is telling him to go and wash the mud off and he will see! - well, we’ll probably never know – only a few come back and tell us the results – at the rate we travel we will probably never hear – sorry to leave that village – I liked the look of that girl, and I think she liked the look of me too! – well, why not? – I am attractive to women – Rahab in Galilee told me so….

Here come the crowds – there must be hundreds of them – why do they all bunch together like this? I suppose they all left Jerusalem in the early morning and so all arrive around the same time. – well, here we go again – form a loose circle around Jesus so that he can slowly move forward – not easy and jolly tiring – yes the crowd is tagging along behind us - good job there are no villages or towns ahead as they would be swamped if we all came through- we have to avoid them these days – yes, I thought so – Peter is heading out into the countryside – need to get off this road and up onto the slopes of the hills where everyone can sit down on the grass and we can get some quietness so that Jesus can talk to them all – we’ve got to avoid taking the crowds across the fields otherwise the farmers will be up in arms with us….

This is nice – grassy and gently undulating- and if the Master stands on that knoll he will be heard by almost everyone – thank goodness he has got a good voice – if the crowd keeps growing the latecomers will just have to listen carefully from the edges –‘Yes, OK’ – of course I will stand behind the Master – Peter always tells me to do that – I think he trusts me at that post – he wants to be sure that the Master’s back is covered – and quite right too – he’s thinking about the people who creep up behind to touch his clothes in the hope of healing – I don’t know how he stands the pressure all the time, the Master – healing and talking and really giving himself to whoever comes to him – day after day – good, now I can really hear what he is going to say to them all ….

Oh no! not another delegation! – a group of five or six priests – I really hate Priests, with their prissy attitudes and legal minds, being precise and so correct – they stand out from the crowd in their robes as they thread their way through – you could spot them a mile away – I wonder whether today is one of the days when Jesus will really let them have it! - its nice on this grassy knoll on the hillside – they’re coming right up to the Master – I thought they were just going to listen to what he was going to say, but they want to say something to him – I wonder whether they are coming to argue or just to discuss? – they are asking about marriage – well, they won’t get far on that one – the Master always says simply that you should stay married – good thing too, although I suppose some men want variety – the Master is switching the argument to their attitude to divorce – that will rile them! – heaven knows these are the guys who cause all the bother about being correct but they permit divorce – by the look on their faces they are deeply offended – well, serves them right! - everybody knows that the Master is no lover of the Scribes and Pharisees – Priests come pretty far down his list of favourite people….

They’re off! – well that was a quick one! - I do hope he isn’t really getting all the Priests against him, because they are a powerful bunch - oh well! He knows what he is doing – ‘Yes Master?’ .. ‘Certainly, right away’ – Yes that’s right too – he is thinking about food for the people because this lot will stay here forever listening to him – he wants Peter to organize something – but what can he do? It would take £x to feed this lot and I know we could never meet it from the common purse. Maybe the women will think of something….

It was brilliant – Mary had noticed that quite a few had brought something to put them on until their evening meal and it was passed around that everyone should share what they could spare and then Peter rustled up some loaves and fish and everyone got something – it wasn’t much of course, but enough to put them all on till they got home – he’s talking now about the Kingdom of Heaven – I really can’t understand what he means by this - sometimes I think he means it is here right now, then at other times he seems to be saying that it is way in the future – well he knows what he is doing – our job is to help, look after and generally guard him from the huge crowds. They are getting bigger every week – where will it end? – seems he wants to say something important – oh no, he is only winding it down for today, telling them to remember what he has been telling them and to be nice to each other – and to get off home – they’re all going now – I’m not as tired as I usually am at this time – sitting on the grass has helped – oh no! he wants us all to cross the lake – that means a two mile walk to the lakeside first, before we eat – wish we could go back to that village, perhaps I might see her again – she actually smiled at me - I’m sure of it! – must ask Andrew whether he noticed her as we came through - my relationship with Andrew is very special – we get on even better than I do with my brothers….

Its good to be just the group of us again, with the women, too, of course – where would we be without them? – and some of them are pretty high-class people with plenty of money thank goodness ….

I really like it when we cross the lake by boat – its so peaceful here in the middle of the lake with all the hills in the distance – no noise, no dust, no crowds shoving and pushing – just Jesus and the rest of us. He is sitting in the bow of the boat looking out across the water – so still – I wonder what he is thinking? – maybe he is far away, back with his family? - I am so glad I said yes when he asked – I wouldn’t have missed all of this for anything – never mind all the daily hassle – I feel somehow a better person when I am with him and he is so straight with us all – seems to know just what we are thinking – and he is so understanding too, even when we make mistakes like that time I let that man through who was crazy – he seemed sane enough to me! - he notices everything, too - he probably saw that girl smile at me in the village – but I don’t feel guilty with him – just a great desire to please him – I guess he was right about that woman who came up behind him when I wasn’t looking – well, you can’t completely guard him when a huge crowd is hustling close – she reached out her hand and touched the hem of his robe – he was looking straight ahead, so how did he know she had touched his robe like that? He wasn’t looking round and doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head! – I guess he is just super sensitive – she did well that woman, because she told us afterwards that she had been healed – that was really something – nearly there – gosh, am I hungry! Wonder where Peter has organized for us to stay tonight - under the stars again I expect! But it would be nice to have some stew – What was the name of that village? I must remember it – it would be nice to see her again.

Tony Cross

August 2004


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