When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. — John 18:1

 

“Malchus!  Over here!”

Malchus had been sent to the Mount of Olives to gather dates and figs for the household of Caiaphas, the chief priest.  Malchus was a slave.  But his loyalty to the chief priest allowed him the privilege to go just about anywhere within and near Jerusalem, despite his young age.  Malchus had met Mary and me on one of his trips to the mount.  It was as risky for us to talk with Malchus as it was for Malchus to talk to us.  Nevertheless, his stories of Jerusalem, the Caiaphas, and The Temple were so spell-binding that we could not resist our conversations.

On this day, Malchus did not appear well.  Mary and I had been following him until we found a place to talk privately.  Malchus seemed dazed.  He stumbled often and dumped his basked of figs once.  And he was holding tight to his right ear.  Either Malchus was truly ill or he had something big to share.  We hoped it would be the latter.

Malchus ducked behind a large palm to join us.

“Look!  Quickly!  Look at my ear,” Malchus asked nervously.

Mary and I examined his ear closely and proclaimed it to be perfect.  A very fine ear.  And quite clean, too.

“That can’t be.  The man called Jesus was in Gethsemane last night.  I overheard Caiaphas order his guards to go with a man to arrest Jesus.  I think his name was Judas.  Caiaphas sent me along in order to report the events back to him truthfully.  I got too near and the one they called Peter drew his sword to protect Jesus and sliced off my right ear!  It happened.  My ear was on the ground.  So much blood.  But Jesus picked it up and held it against my head.  Now look.  My ear is back where it should be,” Malchus explained.

“What did Jesus say,” Mary asked.

“He said something odd,” Malchus replied.  “He said, ‘Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given me?’  Then it got crazy.  The soldiers arrested Jesus and everyone else took off in all different directions.  But my feet wouldn’t move.  I stood there.  Alone.  Frightened.  Wondering if I was dreaming.”

Imagio Divina — Divine Imagining — encourages us to enter into stories of the Bible using our imaginations for God to talk with us.  Begin by reading a piece of scripture, closing your eyes, and allowing yourself to enter the story.  Who is there?  Choose a character that you identify with and become him or her.  What do you see?  What do your smell?  What do you hear? What do you touch?  Allow yourself to weave the scripture story into your imagination, braiding the biblical details with those you see in your mind’s eye. Many journal their journeys into antiquity following their Imagio Divina practice.  For everyone, prayer is the natural conclusion.

 

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