A personal take on some key Biblical happenings: from Creation to the Exodus, Christmas to Easter, get the inside track on the One behind it all.
Humorous, down-to-earth and unpredictable, this is an engaging and surprising telling of the greatest tale ever told.
Also includes the more reflective Walking the Earth – Times when God walked on the planet.
An extract from the book
Part One – Creation
Part Two – Joseph
Part Three – Exodus: Phase 1
Part Four – Exodus: Phase 2
Part Five – Christmas
Part Six – Easter
WALKING THE EARTH
Part One – The Creation Page 100
Part Two – The Flood Page 102
Part Three – The Tower Page 104
Part Four – The Promise Page 106
Part Five – The Rescue Page 107
Part Six – The Wrestling Page 110
Part Seven – The Birth Page 111
Part Eight – The Wilderness Page 115
Part Nine – The Blind Man Page 116
Part Ten – The Prodigal Page 117
Part Eleven – The Death and The Rising Page 119
Part Twelve – The Future Page 121
Part Thirteen – The Present Page 124
- - - -
Part One - Creation
(Genesis chapters 1 & 2)
Decided to keep a... what shall I call it? A bicycle? A velocer raptor? A library? An aviary? A priory? A friary? A diary... a diary yes that sounds good. Decided to keep a diary. Don't think it's ever been done before. Nice to have a record of things as they stand though. Actually things don't stand at the moment. Nothing stands... or sits... or lies down. Because nothing is. I'm seriously thinking about making a fresh start. Or just a start really, because it would be the first start ever. Yes. THE beginning. Yes, I think that would be good. Perfect in fact. I’ll start tomorrow. Is that the first instance of procrastination? I suppose it is, I suppose that means I’ve just invented procrastination. Anyway, tomorrow I will make a change, all this blackness must go. Mind you, when does tomorrow come? Perhaps I should make a change now, then there'll actually be a tomorrow. Yes. I like that. I'll be back in a minute.
Marvellous. Done it. Ushered in the light. Switched on the biggest bulb you've ever seen. When I say ‘switch’ of course I really just mean I told the light to roll up and there it was. I mean I haven't invented the switch yet, so it would hardly be worth me trying to flick one. Or press one. Or whatever one does with a switch. Anyway. That's changed things. The light's here. Bit bright though. I'll just switch it off for a while. Till tomorrow.
I think it's tomorrow now. In fact, I'll call this tomorrow for definite. We had a bit of daylight yesterday and... oh did I mention, daylight is what I decided to call the light. The light is day, the dark is night. Then we can have dark nights and light days, can't really do it the other way round, dark days and light nights. Doesn't sound right. By the way, if you're wondering, yesterday is what I've decided to call the day before tomorrow, which is actually today when you're there, but tomorrow before you get to it and yesterday once you've left it behind. Simple really isn't it? So today, which of course refers to this day now, which is sandwiched neatly between yesterday and tomorrow (oh and don't ask me what a sandwich is at the moment, no time to go into the world of flour and peanut butter and chocolate spread and tuna at this point), now where was I?
Oh yes - today I've decided to make the sky. It's a strip of blue, perhaps grey, or occasionally black, sometimes shot through with a red tinge, or a purple one, and from time to time an orange hue. Anyway, this thing, of variable shades and colours, is going to be called the sky. It seems to fit perfectly just above the ocean, now I know what you're thinking, where did the ocean come from? Well, that came about as I put the sky in place. I gathered all the vapours together, the universe is full of them, then with a somewhat majestic sweep of the hand, (it was most impressive) I cut a line through the vapours, and where they collected underneath the line it formed the ocean and where they gathered above it became the sky. Elementary... sort of. Now I know this doesn't sound like much, one mere sweep of the arm, but I've decided that's enough for today, I'm going to put my feet up and contemplate the sea for a while, and the mysteries of the deep...
- - - -
Part Five - Christmas
(Matthew chapters 1&2, Luke chapters 1&2)
Day twenty-nine - Tuesday
I am not turning out to be the meticulous diarist I hoped I would be. One thousand years may only be a drop in the ocean when compared with eternity, but as far as my diary is concerned it's a ridiculously long period of time in which I have made no entries whatsoever. I can't even pretend to have been on holiday. A millennium! And not so much as a weather report. Where on earth should I begin? Well, there's been a palace load of kings, Jeroboam, Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Ahaz, Jotham, Uzziah, Hezekiah, Manasseh... oh and plenty more. A templeful of prophets, including the greats - Isaiah, Ezekiel the first mime artist, Jeremiah, and Daniel, and in their shadow, Amos, Hosea, Micah, Habakkuk, a few others and of course, the reluctantly nautical Jonah. All of whom turned out to be great friends of mine, some of them more quirky than others, and all of them dripping with courage and oozing with tenacity. They gave a few people a headache, and one or two others a pat on the back. The last of these, Malachi, left a rather stirring message in his wake, his last words if you like, on the answerphone of life... ‘the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings.’ I rather like that. And it brings me neatly to the reason I've finally taken up my pen again and am ready to write.
I have a plan - in fact, I've had it since the tree incident in the garden, all those centuries ago. You see, I've not mentioned it before, but I have a son. He's been around since the beginning. He was there in the dawning days of the new planet, when the dry land was born, and the light broke through the curtain of darkness. In fact, the funsterbuds and the muckleheads were partly his idea, and he invented the bedragglefaggles whilst I was taking a nap. Well, he's going to visit the earth himself, a sort of working holiday. He's going there in disguise, as a human being, and he'll be just like old Adam, as perfect as the first human. He's going there to clear away the fog, to take down that wall that's come between me and everyone else, so we can talk freely again. There are a few risks involved of course, he'll arrive as a new baby, and the mortality rate at that age is excruciatingly high. But it'll be worth it because when people meet him, it'll be like meeting me, and the other way round. So all those who've forgotten what I'm like because of the tree incident... well they'll get a surprise, won't they? Of course, for some of them it'll be a nice surprise, but for others it'll be every bit as charming as a bucket of ice water on a cold and frosty morning, or as pleasantly surprising as a vampire bat in your vest. Hmmm... hope he behaves himself. Of course he will, but then good behaviour is open to interpretation, and I guess there'll be a few raised eyebrows... and voices... and fists. Oh dear. I can think of one or two colourful characters who'll be offended that I've even considered the idea of getting dressed up in flesh. The earth is a little messy these days, goodness knows what he’ll get stuck on his shoes, and hands. But then that’s the point, the purpose of the visit, not an Ofsted for the earth, but a rescue package for creation. Perhaps I should send him down there with a giant bin bag from the Jurassic period, and a Velcro suit that deliberately attracts all the planetary litter and garbage.
I had a meeting with Gabriel this morning. He's one of my agents. I've given him the job of breaking the news down there. He's in for a busy time. First there's Mary. I have a feeling this incident may well really put her on the map. Gabriel's visiting her even now as I write this, I thought I'd get the facts down early so that I can record the whole event in here. I recall writing that the tree was the most expensive present I could give to the people down there, but I think I was wrong. I think this will be the most expensive.
Mary lives in Nazareth, which is a village in Galilee. Oh I know what you're thinking, why not Rome, or Paris or Milan. Well, all I can say is, she's the one for the job, and she lives in Galilee. Plus the fact that one or two of the prophets I mentioned earlier predicted that my boy would be born in that neck of the woods. And I wouldn't want to go stirring up trouble with some of them, that Jeremiah in particular can be quite a handful, and Jonah's still recovering from his trip in the fish. His clothes have never been quite the same since their brush with the stomach acid. Let’s just say he doesn’t have the Lynx effect. Anyway, back to Galilee. I had wondered about a glorious, snow clad mountain scene. As if it was in the Alps. A sort of bleak midwinter birth, surrounded by a host of snowmen perched on earth as hard as iron, with the sound of frosty wind moaning... but it hasn't snowed in Nazareth in a good long while. So it's most unlikely. I'll write more this afternoon.
Gabriel's back! He's quite a mover, you know. Doesn't hang about. Mary took the news well, it seems. She was a little perturbed on first catching sight of Gabriel but then he is seven foot three and carries a shimmering sword studded with diamonds and sapphires, plus he glows in the dark. He told her she's a highly favoured lady and that won her over a little. Mind you, the moment he said, ‘Don't be afraid!’ she began to worry. He told her about my son, which was fine, then he told her he was going to be born as a baby, and that was fine too. Then he told her she was going to have the baby. Now that wasn't so fine. How shall I say it, she was... a little taken aback. Aghast. Knocked sideways. You see, she's only young, and she's not married. And most significant of all, she's a virgin. So attending antenatal classes for her would seem a little premature. Anyway, Gabriel explained that the baby she’s going to have is my son. And at that point she had to lie down. But she also readily agreed, and promised to obey. Then Gabriel left, and Mary stared into space for two and a half hours...
- - - -
WALKING THE EARTH
Reflections on Those Times When God Visited the Planet
I have walked the earth in many guises and on many occasions but few have recognised me for it.
Part One: The Creation
The first time I walked on the earth the day was a good one. The air was pure and new, as yet unsullied by waste and pollution. I walked in a garden and everything about the place was as fresh and vibrant as the first buds of spring.
The day began in darkness, as so many future days would. But this was a darkness of ageless hue and mysterious depth, a darkness as yet untouched by daylight. Then a word from me, a flicker of light - and a new dawn unravelled and gave way to the very beginning of time itself. Nature’s clock began ticking and the creation yawned and stretched and in an instant gave birth to entire solar systems and a myriad of vast sweeping universes. Colours fired, ignited and blossomed into solid matter. Celestial volcanoes erupted, planets exploded, stars scorched their way into history and in the aftermath a tiny planet was born. A place so meagre, so inconsequential that it might have been overlooked.
Yet it was to become a place of eternal significance.
And, after much work, I walked on that tiny planet in the cool of the day, passing through raging forests of trees and brightly coloured blankets of wildlife; past birds and beasts of all shapes and sizes. And as I walked I came to a clearing, and scooping up the dust, I turned and sprinkled it in the breath of the evening, letting it fall into a footprint I had just left behind. Before long the mound of mud at my feet took on a life of its own and spread like a shadow until it became the figure of a dead man. And as I knelt to touch the face I felt warmth pass through my fingers, bringing colour to the cheeks and rhythm to the chest. Then the figure coughed, twisted like a wind-blasted tree trunk and with a shake sat up, blinking and gasping for breath. I stepped back into the shadows to watch for a while, and one by one I sent a parade of birds and beast to visit the man and collect a name from the figure I had appointed as head gardener. But I didn’t rest for long, while the man slept I took a rib, tore it from beneath his flesh, and garnishing the bone with fresh mud and more warm breath. I made a second figure, and when Adam awoke, he fell back - abruptly startled at the sight of a woman. Meanwhile Eve coughed and spluttered her way into being before his wide eyes and gaping mouth, and when the shock had passed from them both, they walked away together and I left them for a while, alone and at peace.
Mornings gave way to afternoons, days melted into nights, and then, one cool evening I took another walk. The world had shifted, slipped on its axis a little.. Adam and Eve were nowhere to be found, I had to explore and call for a while before they finally appeared. The same yet different. They had made a decision and were regretting it. Chosen their own ideas over mine. They were desperate for a way back. They were coy about themselves too. So I listened, sat on a rock and made coverings for them, a place to hide. Shame. It permeated from them and into the garden like the smell from a leaking drain. And it would spread, I knew. So I found a new home for them. Then slipped away and wept.
- - - -
Part Two: The Flood
The second time I walked on the earth it was raining. Or rather, it was about to rain. The biggest, most cataclysmic flood you can imagine. It rained for many days and many lives were washed away because of it. But perhaps I should start from the beginning
Noah was a tough man, practical, hardworking, a master craftsmen. We got on well. He was honest, careful, vigorous, and bold. Which is more than can be said for his neighbours. I’d watched the world for a while, often been tempted to step down again onto its green fields and wide open spaces, but then I’d catch a glimpse of the occupants once more, and the sight always depressed me. The people had left behind the beauty of the first garden, now they ran wild, rampaging through each other’s lives. Tearing down anything they couldn’t possess, destroying what they couldn’t steal. Integrity had become a thing of the past and there were many walking wounded, countless victims left behind in the wake of this relentless selfish human devastation. The lying, the cheating, the stealing, all this carnage was happening on a daily basis. And worse too... the murdering and killing, the death of hope and joy and liberty. Something had to be done.
So I dropped by one day, called in at Noah’s workshop, and I had a quiet word, explained to him about the rains and the boat. It was all a dark mystery to Noah. The earth had not needed rain before; the water came up through springs and wells in the fertile earth. But now all that would change, and as I talked of boats and floods and rescue operations his demeanour began to change and for a while his courage left the workshop, draining his face of all colour and his hands of their strength.
But I pressed on, and explained the size of the boat he would need, somewhere that would be a floating home for the animals and a dry refuge for his family. He set to work and as the boat took shape his neighbours began to talk. Soon questions aplenty came at him, and to his credit, he never once shied away from answering. The world was going to be flooded, and anyone not on the boat would drown. The people laughed of course and went back to their worldly ways, few stayed around to listen and many spent happy hours concocting riddles and jokes around Noah and his floating zoo. But the work went on, and soon dark clouds began to appear over the horizon.
As I stood on a distant hilltop and felt the first drops crash against my cheeks I saw the raised startled faces, turned upwards in disbelief; foreheads set in frowns and shoulders raised in bewildered shrugs as the people on earth stood in silent wonder. And slowly the realisation slipped inside their closed minds, and too late they relented, too late they ran for those doors, too late they hurled themselves at the gnarled wood. But the locks were tight, the ship was ready to set sail, the days had slipped away and the opportunity had passed. Life was gone for them, all they could do now was stand back and watch its departure. One or two made frantic attempts to build their own meagre craft, but the work was all in vain. Time was gone; the mounting waves bludgeoned their weak constructions and washed them into oblivion. It was a terrible day, and great was the temptation to hold back the waters and close up the skies again. But the earth would have been no better for it. It had to be done. The planet needed a wash, and much was going to be swept away in the drenching of the place.
- - - -
Part Three: The Tower
The next time I ventured forth I came upon a city, bustling and bulging with people and ambition. I toured their thriving streets and happened upon a tower. The population busied around it like ants around a hill...