Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Missing the Miracle - Part III


*****
The religious leaders were waiting for him. David bit his lip and watched the young boy scuttle off into the crowds. The large man spoke first, rustling importantly under his robes.

"It is good that you came to the Temple to give glory to God, because the Rabbi who healed you is a sinner."

David let his jaw drop. As a blind beggar, he'd learned little about politics. Most of his life had been about survival. But still, it didn't make any sense. Why weren't they praising God for the young Rabbi? He remembered what his father had whispered to him however, and how scared his parents had been.

"I don't know if he is a sinner or not." He paused. "What I know is that I was blind and now I can see."

One of the other priests, a short, bristly man with thin shoulders, shuffled his hands together.

"What did he do to you? What kind of black magic did he use to open your eyes?"

David stared at the intent faces looking at him. Among them, there was not a hint of joy or compassion or excitement. He glanced over their shoulders and up towards the rising columns and sacred carvings of the Temple. The idea of the Temple, of what it meant, was taught to every Jewish boy growing up, including those born in sin like himself. Somehow, David knew that his faith would never be the same. It was as if something had died inside him. The Rabbi had opened his eyes, but David was no longer sure it was a gift.

"We asked you a question."

"What do you want me to say?" David said. "I told you already. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples?"

He bit his tongue as soon as he'd said it, but it was too late. The group of them, as one, seemed to rise above him.

"You little jackass! What the hell do you know? We follow Moses!"

"You're nothing but an ignorant little piss ant! You probably do follow that blasphemous rebel! We know where Moses comes from. Where does he come from?"

David felt his ears burn. He'd been called names and insulted his entire life, and for the most part, he simply accepted it. Not today. Not in this place. Not after what he'd been given.

"What? You don't know where he comes from? He opened my eyes! God doesn't listen to sinners! And no one has ever even heard of a man born blind suddenly able to see! If he wasn't from God, he couldn't do anything."

The large man moved suddenly, at a speed that belied his size, and seized David by the back of his cloak. He dragged him to the top of the stairs in the outer courts and threw him down the stone steps.

"Guards!"

He moved down the steps to where David lay groaning, and kicked him roughly.

"You ignorant piece of pig swine. Of all people, a sinner from the time you were born. How dare you lecture us!" He paused and stepped back. "You will never set foot in this Temple again!"

A squad of six Temple guards came running. He pointed to David.

"Get that little turd out of my sight."

Two of the guards picked David up roughly under his armpits and dragged him through the courtyard. People looked over in astonishment, but moved quickly out the way. They dumped him outside on the Temple steps.

"You heard the priest." The guard said. "Don't come back."

David watched them tromp back inside, and lay in misery as the crowd flowed around him. Some of them glanced at the bedraggled form and offered a look of sympathy, but most passed without noticing, or seemed offended by his presence. David felt himself grow small inside. It was horrible to beg for your survival, but never before had he witnessed such cruelty. His eyes had been opened, and as a result, everything he had ever believed in, everything he'd ever hoped for was gone. His parents would disassociate themselves from him after what he'd done today in offending the priests. He would never worship at the Temple. And the only friends he knew, the community of beggars and poor, were gone as well.

Maybe the priests were right about the Rabbi. David closed his eyes and felt the tears run down his face, remembering the way Jesus had touched him, had spoken so gently. He pushed himself to his feet. It didn't matter now, what was one beggar to a man like that? David crossed down in front of the steps. His feet lurched and a sharp pain in his side forced him to go slowly as he looked for a new place to beg.

******
-Steve