Excerpt

WE MEET ROMANS ON PATROL

It takes three days to get to the Holy City, and we would have been there on time, except, after folding our tent on the second day and continuing our journey, we encountered a group of helmeted soldiers, and, when they saw us, they went into the road in front of us and ordered us to stop. We did so, and a tall one with a very fancy shield walked up to us and addressed us.

“Who are you, and where are you going!”

Nahyim told him we were on our way to Jerusalem.

“And what manner of business do you have there?” queried the official. I then told him that I was on a Vow Mission and must go there. But I was more interested in his mode of dress, so I asked him,

“Excuse me, Roman soldier, but why do you wear such heavy leather clothes and that metal helmet on your head? The sun beats down on you, and I am sure the heat makes you most uncomfortable. Would it not be wiser to wear lighter clothes and just a headband? You would then enjoy the climate much better — don’t you think?”

The man stepped forward toward me, bent down to stare in my face, and announced, “Young lady, I have killed men for less impertinence than you have shown me. How dare you question an officer of the Roman Legions! I have a mind to feed you to the dogs. Now, on your knees, and beg forgiveness. Do it NOW!” “Oh, please sir, do not speak to me in that manner or make me bend the knee to you. I bend the knee only to my Creator, the Lord of Hosts, Ayl Elyon. I must also warn you that if you harm us, you will be punished in such a way that you will never forget it. If you have a family, please, dear sir, for their sake, you must not do anything rash. Just let us go on our way. We have no quarrel with you.”

I lifted my eyes to the sky and spoke to the heavens, “Ayl, please do not harm this man. He really does not know the trouble he could make for himself. Treat him gently — please?”

Suddenly, the earth trembled. Where the official stood, a crack opened in the earth, and the crack encircled the officer so that he seemed to be on an island of dirt, and the earth cracked even more, so that he was separated from the rest of the world by a wide chasm.

“Oh dear”, I said, “I told you not to menace us, and now see what you have earned. Please, official, just let us go on, and I assure you that you will not be harmed.”

The officer’s island shook again. Startled and trembling, the officer shouted, “Let them pass! Do not hinder them! Get them away from here!”

And so we went around the chasm, past the group of soldiers standing there with eyes wide as goose eggs, staring at their commander, and continued on our way. As we went further down the road, we once more felt the earth tremble, and, glancing backwards, we saw the officer step over the narrowing chasm to safety.

“Thanks, Ayl,” I whispered. “I’m so glad that you didn’t hurt any of them.