At the ninth hour of prayer Peter and John, or “Jhon” as he renders it, ascended the stairs of the temple called Beautiful, encountered there a man halt from the womb.
The man, laid in the porch of the temple called Beautiful, desired alms of them about to enter, alms to anoint the unlevel walls and floors of the room that was his body, wasting away.
The entering pair “fastened” (he says) their eyes on him, the one asking, and said “Look on us.” And he did, he gave heed unto them, trusting to be their recipient
of something or other. “Silver and gold have I none, such as I have give I thee,” spoke Peter, giving his right hand. In the name of Jesu he lifted the lame one onto his ruined feet.
The offered hand retracted, bearing a weight unused to being lifted, even as their fastened look urged the man’s glance forward, as if tethered or, better, a bungee cord springing upward in lively retreat.
Immediately his anklebones received strength. The recipient was rising up, was soon risen. He “sprang, stode, and also walked,” or so it goes in William Tyndale’s good glad version, robust
words like a jubilant tiding, fresh-faced for this story. Walking and leaping and lauding god, he accompanied the two in the temple, and held them, healed. We astonished crowded the gate,
passed through the elaborate entrance to the temple called Beautiful. We knew him, and therefore were all the more sorely amazed. We followed the praising trio deep into Solomon’s hall.
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; And he was essentially a blameless dude, and unarrogant, And he was blessed with seven sons, and three daughters, Which is a lot of children, and where, I ask politely, is the Part of the Book of Job where we talk about Job’s spouse, Who is conspicuously not discussed in the back and forth With his buddies and then suddenly the Big Guy Himself Answering out of the whirlwind and commanding old Job To gird up his loins, which loins were undeniably vigorous Previous to the Lord interrupting Job, and after the Maker Finishes one of the greatest eloquent scoldings of all time, He grants old Job another seven sons and three daughters, Again without the slightest thanks for the astounding Mrs. Job who suddenly has twenty count them twenty children With no mention of her humor, or the vast hills of diapers, Or her wit which survived kids throwing up and the sheep Wandering off, and plagues of locusts and things like that. A good editor, I feel, would have asked for just a glancing Nod to the wry hero of the tale, at least acknowledgment; Something like a new last line after So Job died, being old and full of days, which might read, And also passed a most Amazing woman, of whom nothing other than the blessing Was ever said, her heart being a gift beyond calculation by Man, her mind sharp, her tongue gentle, her hands a mercy, And her very presence full reason to kneel in prayer at that Which the Lord in His mercy has made and granted briefly. A line like that would only hint at her, but it’s a start, right?
Hanging quilt and the gazes of the carved half-dozen prows of ships and this preacher, upright and upholding the opened and planed smooth Word of God in his lap, he fixes his hollowed eyes past the book, on a particular point of sight, devotional turn for the wooden minds in his care. Or recollects a work song from before the war and feels its hum in his brow and high cheeks that betray the grain of southern white pine, deep gouges of chisel and time. I am praying to him now, that the split in his spine will hold. That like his arms blessed tight to his trunk, he will keep his own counsel until the Spirit fires him alive as the free hand and eye of the vernacular maker whose sermon he is.