Book Excerpt: John’s Gospel: The Way It Happened
Have you read Revelation: The Way It Happened? If so, maybe it’s time to pick up the second book and finish the story of Matthew’s spiritual journey. Here he is in book two, now an adult, speaking with the aged apostle John:
“Christians are no longer welcome in the synagogues. I went to a service with my father a few days before he died. He wished to experience one last Sabbath, sharing the rituals of our God in the synagogue, so we endured the stares and joined the congregation. The president noted our arrival and asked me to lead us in the Amidah, the common prayer.”
“And you did?”
“I did. I began reading the Amidah as requested, and soon arrived at the Twelfth Benediction—
“For the apostates let there be no hope.
And let the arrogant government
Be speedily uprooted in our days.
“—exactly as before. But then, John, then came words I had never read before. Words that recently had been added to the prayer—
“Let the Christians and the heretics be destroyed in a moment.
“I read this curse aloud before realizing what I had said. I clamped my mouth shut and scanned the words on the scroll as the prayer continued:
“And let them be blotted out of the Book of Life and not be inscribed together with the righteous.
Blessed art thou, O Lord, who humblest the proud!
“I remained silent, refusing to speak this hideous passage in the presence of my father, and stared at the congregation and then at the president, who had chosen me to recite the words that would curse me and my father and the few other Christians who still attended. When I set the prayer scroll down, the president wordlessly stepped forward and grasped my elbow, escorting me from the synagogue. Moments later, my father appeared at the door as well.”
–John’s Gospel: The Way It Happened, 2013, p. 3, by Lee Harmon