Occasionally I post fiction to this blog.
Usually it means I don’t have time to write anything more substantial.
This story may or may not be timely.
(loosely translated from the original Aramaic)
‘The place of wailing and gnashing of teeth,’ roared the preacher, his eyes burning with conviction.
Slowly at first, and then with a gathering momentum, the crowd who had come to hear him speak dispersed, until only a solitary young man remained.
‘They listen, but they do not hear,’ moaned the preacher.
‘They hear you all right,’ said the young man. ‘It’s just that they don’t like what you’re saying.’
The preacher snorted with indignation. ‘I speak God’s word.’
‘You’re a good speaker,’ said the young man, ‘but you need better material. That bit about wailing and gnashing of teeth, people have been listening to the prophets spout stuff like that for hundreds of years. They’re sick and tired of it. You need a fresh approach.’
The young man nodded vigorously. ‘Why don’t you tell people about God’s love? Remind them of the sense of wonder they felt as children hearing God’s word for the first time.’
‘It might work,’ mused the preacher.
‘You could illustrate your point with stories, parables like the holy men from the east use. Everyone enjoys a good story.’
‘I like where you’re coming from,’ said the preacher, placing a proprietary hand on the young man’s shoulder. ‘My organisation has a place for a promising young man like you. What’s your name son?’
‘Simon, son of Mandel.’
‘Well Simon, Mandel’s son, I shall call you Peter, for you will be the rock on which my church is founded.’
‘Another thing,’ said the young man as they walked off together, arm in arm. ‘You’ll never accomplish anything if you rely on the Jews. You need to get the Gentiles on board as well.’