New review of Where’s Sailor Jack? : ‘‘…romantic, poignant, and extremely funny, exactly what I want from a family saga.’ – Stephen Carver, Blot the Skrip and Jar It

Archives: jesus

Ecce homo

Pilate gives up his fight against Chief Priests dressed in 19th century suits. Who can understand them? The scourged Jesus picks up his cross to the sound of the Muezzin from Temple Mound. He staggers up the Via Dolorosa under an arch he doesn’t remember seeing before. He hears his mother, dead for nearly two thousand years, shouting, “This is my beloved son.” In his confusion, he stumbles back through time. A Roman soldier hoiks from the crowd some poor sucker called Simon. Not the one aka Peter, who’s not to be seen. This guy carries the cross the rest of the way. That nice lady from St Veronica’s mops Jesus’ brow. They pass the souvenir shops selling printed Turin shrouds while you wait. Jesus trips over the manhole made for him before all time. Some women collecting for the local hospice smile reassuringly. He looks up to Golgotha. They walk on, past Orthodox and Catholic guardians exchanging holy-water-pistol fire. Simon lays down his cross. UN soldiers emerge from their bunker to nail Jesus to it.
He refuses mingled wine and gall, and exchanges words with the two blokes alongside having a bad Easter. In literally excruciating pain, he mutters something about being forsaken by his father. It is finished. It is accomplished. It’s over. He won’t be seeing rainbows any more. He’s thirsty and takes the wine.
A few hundred yards away there’s an explosion. The veil of the temple is rent in twain. Into thy hands, I commend my spirit.

New Year musings

 

By the time you reach 70, the New Year isn’t just an occasion for looking back over the last year but over your whole life. The Christmas card intake is reconciled with the Christmas Address Labels file, notified mortalities too easily deleted and unexplained absences placed under investigation. My mind has thus turned quickly from Christmas to Easter. When Jesus was up there on the cross, did he say “It is finished” as John had it, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me” as Matthew and Mark report, or “Into thy hands, I commend my spirit”, Luke’s version? How did he view his life in that literally excruciating pain? As success, failure or journey to the next place on the itinerary?

To promote my book I’ve joined Facebook. Gawking at the timelines of friends from long ago, I can see lots of smiling faces with happy family lives. I can also read some grumpy words from less satisfied souls. Nearly all the evidence in both camps is of careers petering out rather than as outright wins or losses. But there’s enough there to suggest that success in the private sphere matters more than the public.

And have I made the most of myself? I married late at last to gain a happy home and family as a smiler. I occasionally grump that I didn’t quite make the highest echelon in anything. I was a good footballer who couldn’t turn pro. I just missed an Oxford first and went into business rather than nuclear research. I peaked as CFO of a major company very young, but then career flat-lined. In later life I’ve written a novel which was appreciated by those I would have expected to like it but with little traction elsewhere.

Jesus could well have said all that the apostles have quoted.The words show mood shifts but aren’t contradictory. My novel argues that what you become in life is with you from birth. For me, Jesus was wholly man throughout his life, and from his death wholly God at the start. He looked down from the failure of the cross to glimpse the success of his life.

I should have achieved more. There was too much indecision, too much procrastination. But I do have a great family, and have had some wonderful friends, human, canine and feline, from a long and fortunate life. I did eventually finish the novel that was in me, even if it didn’t grab most. I thank God for it all.

As his Bobship wrote: “My love she speaks softly. She knows there’s no success like failure. And that failure’s no success at all.”