Israel Stories

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Grail Quest - Part 3

How the Opus Dei got my email I’ll never know, but the fact that they read my blog is quite flattering. The email said quite simply that while they respect my faith, as a Jew, they feel it is improper to speculate about a religion and a faith that I have no formal learning or training in, do not subscribe to and have no interest in proving anything except my unfounded theories and an unacceptable element of humour. And then I analysed the email address and saw it was

Even so, I accept the above, and while my personal theories don’t need to be aired again, this story is about a Christian searching for something and the Jew just hanging around trying to help, in a manner of speaking.

Roger’s revelation in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre sparked a bit of a theological tiff with his father, the parish priest.

Roger had moved to the Old City and was staying in some rundown hostel in the Christian quarter. I hadn’t heard from him in a few days and then one day I received a call from his father demanding to know where he was, what he was doing and what the hell am I going to do to get him back to their village in Somerset. I had the number of the hostel and left about forty messages asking him to call me. Eventually I went looking for him. I could, I suppose, have told his dad I had no clue where he was and that he was not really my responsibility, but I have kids too, and the guilt got to me.

I found the hostel and asked for Roger. No one had heard of him. I described him and waited while the receptionist went off to speak to another of the workers. The hostel was grim. Damp oozed through the walls, there were hundreds of insects on the ground and an unusual smell of something dead coming from a back room. The walls were littered with icons, crosses and posters for the Underground nightclub.

“I think you want John.” “No, I want Roger.” “Yes but he now calls himself John.”
Its happened, I thought, the good old Jerusalem Syndrome has claimed its next victim. “Where can I find John?” I asked. I was directed back to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where, sitting on the ground in rags was Roger or John, mumbling in English and schoolboy Latin something about the end of days.

“Roger, what’s going on?” I foolishly asked. “Call me John.” “John, what’s going on?” Stupid question number two. Roger then proceeded to explain that he was the incarnation of John the Baptist and that he was back to lay the way for the lord’s second coming. “It’s just that your dad is really worried and wants you to return to England.” “Did those feet in ancient times walk upon England’s pastures green…” Roger began to sing, very badly and causing two soldiers to look round and fidget with their riot sticks.

The words are from the English national hymn, “Jerusalem.” Look it up for yourselves and the meaning behind the words.

“Yes, John, and that’s why you must return in the path of Joseph or Aramathia, come let us make haste and prepare for the arduous journey ahead, and when we get to the airport, I’d wear trousers and not that dress.”

Roger is now a management consultant in the City of London, he has a Porsche, a wife, three daughters and the biggest house you have ever seen.

He claims the secret to his wealth was found that day in the Church.
I think it’s because he has a very wealthy father-in-law, but what do I know? I’m just a Jew.


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