Saturday, December 27, 2008
Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana
In August I read Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice. Today at the library I picked up her second book about Jesus and found it to be a winner. Like Out of Egypt, The Road to Cana is a novel and does not pretend to be otherwise. It is the story of about a year in Jesus' life, and ends at the wedding at Cana.
Some of the characters are known from scripture; others are creations of Ms. Rice. Jesus is portrayed as being a somewhat strange, but very loving member of a large extended family. James is named as his brother, but it is noted that he was Joseph's son by his first wife, not by Mary. Further the book, which is written in the first person and told from Jesus' point of view, describes his kinship relationship to several people and then notes "they are my sisters and my brothers". A main character in the book is the bride at the wedding at Cana--Jesus loves her but realizes that marrying her is not his vocation.
Throughout the book Jesus speaks of feeling like something was just beyond where he was. Finally, after his baptism, when He is in the desert, the book says "The dawn came. And the dawn came again, and again. I lay in a heap as the sand blew over me. And the voice of the Lord was not in the wind; and it was not in the sand; and itw as not in the sun; and it was not in the stars. It was inside me. I'd always known who I really was. I was God. And I'd chosen not to know it. Well, now I knew just what it meant to be the man who knew he was God." Next, Rice does a great job of fleshing out the story of the three temptations in the desert.
I think a very real temptation in writing a novel about Jesus is to make Him in your image; rather than to allow Him to remake you in His. However, I think Rice does a good job of expanding on the Biblical Christ rather than remaking Him. The scene between Mary and Him at the wedding was almost funny. He didn't want to "go public" but she knew it was time.
If anyone is hesitant about reading this book because of the content of Ms. Rice's vampire books (or some others I'll not mention)I have read that at the the time she wrote the vampire books, she was an atheist and/or agnostic. Since that time she has reverted to her Catholic faith and written these two books about Jesus. Her latest book is about her reversion, and I have a link to it below. It is on my to be read list.