Man-Corn In the Promised Land IV
Five bearded men discuss a recent public execution while standing in a circle alongside a busy, dusty road outside of Jerusalem in the Roman Judea province.
“Salvation from eating another man’s flesh? Drinking his blood?” The first man said. “That man was insane! Insane, I say!”
“It was symbolic,” The second man responded. “He taught in parables. The man was a holy prophet of peace.”
“Ha! He was no prophet. What kind of holy prophet associates with women? One was even a prostitute!” The third man spat on the ground.
“He said he came to bring the sword, not peace,” the fourth man put in.
“That’s right, he was a bully!” The first man almost shouted. “He beat the money changers, with a knotted rope, chased them right out of the Temple grounds. He even intimidated the Temple guards. They did nothing to stop him.”
“He was a drunkard,” the third man said. “His disciples were swindlers and rogues. The two big fishermen are well-known barroom brawlers. They call them the ‘Sons of Thunder.’ Another of those disciples is a Zealot, one of those bitter, anti-government extremists who cling to their swords and their crazy end-of-the-world religion. What he led was more like an outlaw gang than anything else.”
“What do you say about the man they crucified?” the second man, the youngest, asked the fifth man, who had been silent during all this.
“What he said about eating his flesh and drinking his blood was meant to shock you,” the tall fifth man said. He looked shrewd, like a man used to working with his hands and his head. “He meant it literally, in that you must eat his flesh with an earnestness you never had to eat anything before. It is the only way you can be made to face the crisis of corruption that is all around you. Propriety, living in conformity by eating correct food, observing correct rituals or having correct politics, like the Pharisees, blinds you and puts you on the road to hell.”
“How could that be true?” The first man clawed at his wavy hair. He looked like he wanted to tear out the image he had of himself as a ghoul raiding a cemetery to eat another man’s flesh. “Cannibalism and anarchy to reach salvation? Everything of value cast into the gutter to gain his salvation?”
“If the lion eats the man, the lion is blessed with life,” the fifth man responded. “If the man eats the lion then the man is blessed with life. Despite this blessing, either the man or the lion will soon become hungry again. But if the man eats the flesh and drinks the blood of the Son of Man, the Lion of Judea, then he will be blessed with eternal life and never really go hungry again.”
“There goes two of his disciples now,” the fourth man said after they had all been silent for what seemed a long time.
“What is your name?” the first man meekly demanded. “Who are you?”
“You know who I am. I have no more time for talk.” The fifth man started off to catch up with the two disciples.