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Saturday 9 April 2011

Chapter cut from Fifth Gospel - A Novel - HOSANNA

‘Behold thy king cometh unto thee; he is just and having salvation; lowly and riding upon an ass and upon a colt the foal of an ass.’
Zechariah 9:9

IT WAS ON Sunday, on an ass’s foal, that Christ Jesus came into the city of Jerusalem followed by those faithful to him. As he entered through the great gate of the city the crowds, having received tidings of his approach hastened to meet him and upon seeing him they were seized with ecstasy and began to throw palm fronds over the ground in imitation of those primitive rites of spring. He was to them a symbol of a king, the sun that rises out of the darkness of winter’s night; and also the symbol of a priest of the order of Melchizedek who has come to bestow his blessings on those who are gathered in the oldest sun-sanctuary of humanity - Mount Zion.
He knew their thoughts and understood that the frenzy in their souls would not last.
For three years he had held back his magnificence not wishing to prematurely dazzle human beings. But now his divine selfhood was consuming his very humanity and so it radiated outwards through his human body like a flame that burns brightly one last time before reducing the wood to ashes. Soon he would stand before them like a dying star, a powerless human being and he knew what they would do.
It was his destiny to pass calmly through this festival of merriment, meekly through the welcoming praise of Hosannas to show the world the way that leads from the powerless body to the resurrection of the spirit.
This morning he had instructed his disciples to go to Bethphage, which means the House of Figs, a hamlet situated on a rocky plateau on the other side of Olivet. He had requested that they find him a foal of an ass, the white colt upon which he now sat.  He had chosen this place because in Bethphage the old initiatory practice of ‘Sitting Beneath the Fig Tree’ was still cultivated and it was here that these animals were held sacred. They were held sacred because Balaam, the old prophet, had also sat upon an ass. But the ecstatic visions that Balaam had achieved through the state of soul bound to the body, the ass, were no longer appropriate. He wanted to show his disciples how the Fig Tree was barren, that the old initiation must give way for what he would bring and so he had pointed out to them the Fig tree with many leaves and no fruit. He wanted to show the people that the time of ‘riding of the ass’ was over, for a new awakening was upon them, so on this day, when the old sun still shone in the heavens, he used a symbol the people recognised from the past but he showed them how he would use it in the way of the future.
He looked about him now to his disciples. They were revelling in the royal acclamations; laughing and smiling to see so many happy and ecstatic faces - all except Lazarus-John. Tomorrow Christ Jesus would curse the Fig Tree and in the coming days they would come to observe how fruitless were these Hosannas and how temporary and superficial were these cries of Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord! For he knew these Hosannas would prove not a blessing but a curse; they were poisoned fruit; an echo of the ancient and archaic language sung by jubilant crowds on Mount Zion soon to be traded for angry calls on that other mount, the arid place where lived the old moon religion of Jehova, Mount Moriah, where was situated the Temple of Solomon. For tomorrow he would enter the temple and cleanse it one last time of those nefarious intruders who, under the guise of priesthood, tainted his Father’s house with the traffic of money. One last time he would show them the power of his spirit before the great battle with the Pharisees and Scribes, which he knew would come. Then at last would the Fig Tree wilt and wither away and the people would realise that he had not come to bring back the old mysteries - to breathe new life into an old corpse - but to show them the seed to something new – something they could plant in the soil of their hearts for later times.
This realisation would eventually nail him to the cross
And with sorrow in his heart among the excitable sounds of the jubilant, fickle populace, he wept for Jerusalem. He wept for its people and he prayed to his Lord on their behalf.

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