Goddess Murder, 10: Dinner

XII. Dinner

[From The Gospel According to Mary, as translated by C.T. Edwards, A. Healy, L. Moresco, and S. Wise]

One evening we were invited to dinner by Salome, who had known Joshua for many years, but had not seen him since his baptism by John. During the dinner, she turned to him and said, “Sir, who are you now? You have climbed into my bed and eaten from my table, but now you act as if you are someone important.”

Joshua replied, “I am still the one who loves you. Now I am undivided, for I was given the Holy Spirit by my Mother in Heaven. To be undivided is to be filled with light.”

Salome looked about at us, at both the men and the women students, and asked, “Then may I be your student?”

Joshua replied, “Woman, can you guard the mysteries of my house?”

Salome asked, “How do your students guard the mysteries?”

Joshua replied, “By being like little children playing in a field they do not own. When the owners come and say, ‘Give us back our field,’ the children will strip themselves naked in order to give back the field.”

Looking about, he said to all of us, “As children of truth, do not clothe yourselves with transitory garments, for it is nothing great to wear the finery of the world. Rather, you will be happy when you strip yourselves. Our bodies are the work of God and give glory to Him.”

Salome asked, “But can we go naked before all the world?”

Joshua replied, “When you take off your clothes, place them under your feet, trample on them as little children do, but feel no shame, then you will see the son of the Living One, and you will not be afraid, for there is a shame that leads to death and a shame that leads to life,” by which he meant that we should bare ourselves when we eat and drink in his memory

Salome asked, “Is that when the Kingdom will come?”

Joshua replied, “When you make the two into one, so that the male and the female are equal to one another, the male not dominant, the female not submissive, then you will become truly human and you will be in the Kingdom.”

Salome asked, “But what does making the two into one mean?”

Joshua replied, “A man shall leave his father and mother and shall be united with his wife, and they shall become one flesh, so that they are no longer two but one.”

Judas objected, saying “A husband and wife do not become a single body!”

Joshua replied, “Why do you not understand? They become one soul in two bodies.”

I said, “Jude, it is true. Our marriage is like that.”

Salome asked, “Sir, where does that path begin?”

Joshua replied, “In love and kindness, for if even one of those had existed among the governors, wickedness would never have come to be.”

Salome asked, “And where will it end?”

Joshua replied, “In unity, just as we began in unity, for then the two shall be one person.”

James said, “All women will bless you, for I am amazed at how these who were powerless vessels have been made strong by perceiving you.”

Joshua replied, “Whenever you speak about perception, you strengthen my women students.  I have made all of them masculine. In them the female has been raised up into the male.”

James asked, “Which women have been your students?”

Joshua answered, “They are now seven: Mary, my tower of strength, Martha, Arsinoe, Susanna, Joanna, the other Mary, and now Salome. I will guide her to make her masculine, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you men. For every female who makes herself masculine will see the Queen of Heaven.”

Salome looked up in surprise, her mouth open, her eyes bright.

 ***

 Six days before the Passover Joshua came to Bethany, to visit Lazarus and Martha. They made him a supper, and Martha served: Lazarus sat at the table with him, and the house was filled with a loud voice of a meal.

I sat at Joshua’s feet and listened to him, for the Fa­thers have advised us, “When a sage comes into your house, do not treat him with disrespect nor sit be­side him on the couch. Instead, sit at his feet on the ground and take in all his words with awe and fear, as you would if you were listening to him in the study house.”

Martha was burdened with serving. She came to him and said, “Rabbi, don’t you care that my sis­ter has left me to serve alone? Please ask her to help me.”

Joshua said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are careful and trou­bled about many things. Only one thing is necessary. Mary, queen of my flesh, came to Bethany with me and has chosen that better vocation. Do not take it away from her.”

***

On the preparation day, our Rabbi sent me and the other women students to prepare the Passover for him. Toward sunset he came with the men.

As he reclined with his students, he said, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

When several persons recline together, one blesses for all; so at the beginning of the meal, he took the unleavened bread, and blessed it, say­ing, “Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth. `I will offer to you the sacri­fice of thanksgiving, and call upon the name of the Lord.’ This is the bread of poverty that our ancestors ate in Egypt. Let all who are hungry enter and eat; let all who are needy come to our Passover feast. This year we are in bondage to the Romans; next year may we be free.”

As he broke the bread, he said, “Thus the Romans will do to me”

We said, “Rabbi, let that be far from you.”

But he replied, “I must do my Father’s will.”

We ate the roasted flesh that night with the unleavened bread and bitter herbs, according to the instructions, “Eat it all; leave nothing for the morning; burn the scraps. You shall eat and be satisfied, and bless the Lord thy God for the good land that He has given you.”

If wine comes after food, one blesses for all; so at the end of the meal, when the fourth cup was brought to him, he said, “`How can I repay the Lord for all his bountiful dealings with me? I will lift up the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.’”

As the House of Hillel teaches, he mixed the goblet of wine with water, then poured water over his hands; wiping his hands on the napkin, he laid it on the cushion.

Taking the last cup, he blessed it, saying, “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, creator of the fruit of the vine. You who have joined the perfect, the light, with the Holy Spirit, unite the angels with us also, the images. We praise you, Father; we give thanks to you, O light in whom no darkness dwells.

Giving the cup to us, he said, “Remember me when you eat and drink, and I will be entirely present with you. As for me, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine again until I drink it new in the kingdom of my Father.”

James said, “If the Romans kill you, I will not eat again unless I have seen you raised from the dead.”

Joshua replied, “Have faith, my brother, that the Romans will kill me, and that our Father in Heaven will keep his promises.”

When we had sung the Hallel to end our meal, we walked to the garden called Gethsemane. There he prayed, saying, “Father, please let this cup pass from me—but your will, not mine, be done.”

Suddenly the temple guards approached. All of the House of Hillel and the House of Shammai and other godly men were keep­ing the Passover; wherefore the Sadducees, and those who kept no com­mandments and were friendly to the Romans, had gathered in private to con­demn Joshua. There was no one to protect him.

The captain of the guards asked, “Are you Joshua the Nazarene?”

He replied, “I am.”

The guards seized him and would have seized all of us, but we fled. One guard seized the linen cloth that John, the youngest of us, was wearing, but he shed it and ran away naked.

We fled to the room where we had eaten the Passover and hid there, fearing that the Romans and those who served them, the Sadducees and the wealthy, would seek us out also. We hid all during the festival. When it ended, mingling with the crowds who were leaving, we fled to my home in Bethany. Then, still fearing we were not safe, we made the three-day journey to Galilee.


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