Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana (Anne Rice)

Rating: [rate 5.0]

Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana (Anne Rice)It’s a winter of no rain, endless dust and talk of trouble in Judea. All who know and love Jesus find themselves waiting for some sign of the path he will eventually take. After his baptism, he is at last ready to confront his destiny. At the wedding at Cana, he takes water and transforms it into rred wine. Thus, he’s recognized as the anointed one and called by God the Father to begin a ministry that will transform an unsuspecting world.

I swear, the blurb at the back of the book does not even come an inch to the actual story inside the pages. It doesn’t even give any hint of the conflict and the trouble and the miracles inside the story that you really have to read this (relatively short) book if you want to know what this is about.

Ever since I read Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, I’ve been excited to read the next installment in the series. I saw this one in hardbound for a year and resisted to buy it because it was too expensive, so the moment I saw the paperback version, I bought it immediately, excited to read how Anne Rice portrayed Jesus’ next few years.

The story doesn’t pick up right after where the first book ends, though. It picks the story up again when Jesus was already thirty, unmarried, surrounded by his brothers and sisters and nephews and nieces. He was a carpenter together with his (half) brother James, and across their place lived Avigail, his kinswoman, who he was sort of in love with.

Now I know that is something kind of like The Da Vinci Code contains, but it’s not. One of the things that readers should remember in reading this is that it’s not necessarily true, and it may just be a plot device to get the story going. The thing about the first two novels in the series is that it gives us a glimpse of Jesus’ humanity, on how he came to terms with his divinity all in his Father’s time. The novel tries to fill in the blanks in between the times not mentioned in the Bible. Like I said, it’s not necessarily true, so don’t consider the novel as your new Bible, but just something to think about.

Regardless, it’s another beautiful work. I love seeing Jesus called as “Yeshua” — it’s an endearing name. I love it when he and Mary get to talk, like they both share a quiet calm about them and a knowledge of who he really is, despite what everyone else around them is asking or telling them. I liked it when Yeshua stole to the olive grove to have time for himself, or when he appreciated the beauty around him. I liked reading about how Yeshua struggled with his emotions as a man, but still pressed on and continued to be connected with his Father. You know how whenever Jesus went to a quiet place or to fast, it seemed like it was a sparkling calm picture and he was just kneeling down, praying with peace etched on his face? Well, in this story Anne Rice painted a different picture — a picture of Jesus struggling with his Father about his humanity, about what he is supposed to do and what he wanted to do, but ultimately still following his Father’s will. It was a more realistic picture, as we have to remember that Jesus is still human as he is also God. In a way the story inside the book made me relate to Jesus more, that even he can struggle with what God wants, but still follow His will, fully trusting in the Father.

This book covers more Bible stories than the previous one — starting from Jesus’ baptism with John the Baptist to his temptation at the desert to Mary of Magdala, to the calling of his first disciples and finally ending at the wedding at Cana. The ending kind of feels rushed, like everything happened too quickly after the other, but then again maybe I just don’t have a sense of time when I read the Bible. :P

Suffice to say, I loved this book, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one. :) I bet I’d be crying bucketfuls on the next. :)

Is it possible, Lord, to be with each of them when he or she comes to know? To be there for every single cry of anguish? For the grief-stricken remembrance of every incomplete joy?

Oh Lord, God, what is judgment and how can it be, if I cannot bear to be with all of them for every ugly word, every harsh and desperate cry, for every gesture examined, for every deed explored to its roots?…

…I will. O Father in Heaven, I am reaching to You with hands of flesh and blood. I am longing for You in Your perfection with this heart that is imperfection! And I reach up for You with what is decaying before my very eyes, and I stare at Your stars from within the prison of this body, but this is not my prision, this is my Will. This is Your Will…

And I will go down, down with every single one of them into the depths of Sheol, into the private darkness, into the anguish exposed for all eyes and for Your eyes, into the fear, into the fire which is the heat of every mind. I will be with them, every solitary one of them. I am one of them! And I am Your Son! I am Your only begotten Son! And driven here by Your Spirit, I cry because I cannot do anything but grasp it, grasp it as I annot contain it in this flesh-and-blood mind, and by Your leave I cry…

…What judgment can there be for every man, woman or child — if I am not there for every heartbeat at every depth of their torment?

(p. 222-224)