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Signs and Wonders: Read an Excerpt
Lamech waited a decent while, and then tamped down his nerves and excitement and entered the inn. The proprietor paid him no mind as he pointed the way upstairs to the dining room. Lamech opened the door to the room and paused momentarily to adjust to the dim light provided only by a few candles at the table. All eyes in the room turned to look at him, as he carefully removed the hood covering his face.
It was the woman in the red shawl who responded immediately. "Ay—Master!, Master!" She said this in a near whisper, but the silence in the room was so profound that she might have been shouting. She rose unsteadily from the table and began approaching, but then lowered herself on the floor in front of him. "Bless me, Master!" she pleaded, and she appeared to reach out to his feet.
Lamech was prepared for this moment but for none of the other moments that followed. "Bless you, my sister, but do not touch me. I have not yet gone to my Father." With
that, he removed his hands from his cloak and raised them over her head, saying once again, "Bless you."
The light from the lamps flickered on the faces of the people sitting around the table, their eyes fixated on his hands with their blood-encrusted wounds. The woman in the shawl raised her head for the first time and saw above her the healer, the magus—Jehoshua returned from the dead, his crucified hands poised over her head. She sobbed intermittently. Others began to half-walk, half crawl from the table. "Bless me, Master!," they cried, "Heal me, Master!" or "Forgive me Master, I am a sinner." He approached each one quietly, raising his hands above them, and saying "Be healed," or "You are forgiven."
Lamech was used to seeing crowds of people before him transformed by greed or covetousness, but never before had he witnessed this type of transformation. He himself felt a change come over him. His body was incessantly tingling. He sensed a tremendous power over these people, as if they would do anything for him if he merely whispered his desire. At the same time, he felt an urge to do something for them, to remove their anxieties, to take away their pain, to satisfy their longings, however inchoate or ineffable they may be. It was this urge to help them that surprised him more than anything, because of its strength, and because it fed off their pleas and their belief in him. To be able to do these things for people—this was a power unlike anything he had ever imagined existed.
Lamech realized he was becoming too engrossed in the proceedings and had to remove himself for his own good, yet he had no idea what to say to them. He spoke whatever came to his mind as he backed slowly to the door. In an almost inaudible voice he said "Remember to feed the hungry, and care for the poor. Remember me. I will come to you again." He closed the door quietly behind them, his cloak still draped over one arm, and then thrust his hands in his cloak as he unthinkingly walked down the stairs. The proprietor was automatically prepared to ask him to settle up his dining bill, but glanced at his face and thought better of it, for what reason he knew not. Lamech closed the outer door behind him. Soon one of the men came down from the second floor and told the proprietor in awed tones what they had just witnessed.
"It was Jehoshua. I am sure of it. I have seen him before, and he spoke exactly as Jehoshua spoke to us over a year ago. He has escaped his crucifixion, or somehow come to us from beyond the grave—he talked about not having yet gone to his Father. I don't know how, but it is the living presence of the healer. I know you must find this impossible to believe, but ask them—ask any of them!" Here he pointed up the stairs to the dining room.