As I get God Remains, third book in the series, ready for publication, I thought I’d revisit the wonderful world of the renegade Ethiopian priest that is Father Josephus. Here’s a piece from Journey of Josephus.
The golden gleam from the Dome of the Rock shone over the despair surrounding it, like the spring sun after a long hard winter. It did not matter if it were day or night, good weather or bad, war or peace. The Dome was a constant reminder of the power of faith. It was the hope of a better tomorrow, and a gift from a long gone cherished yesterday. Built by Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, he had intended the structure to be used as a shrine for pilgrims. The narrow lane leading to the holy place was lined with lush and leafy trees, a present from a long ago king.
Between the gifts of the caliph and a king, were the armed guards and tanks that kept the peace – or maintained the war, depending on the side of the Jordan you were born into. It was a pitiful statement of the human race that one family could cause so much pain in the pursuit of glory for ostensibly the same God.
And that is what they are. Islam, Christian, and Jew … distant cousins all.
Father Josephus was standing by one of those trees, watching as the men returned from their final prayers for the day. He held the girl in his arms, in her disguise designed by Mrs. Shapiro. He hid his smile; he was a priest, holding a girl of unknown origins, disguised by a Jew, about to enter one of the holiest Islamic sites in the world.
Who said missions of faith were boring?