And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.Luke 7:2
And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.Matthew 8:6
There are of course differences in translations of the synoptic gospels, Matt, Mark, Luke and I almost always go back to the King James Version of the gospels believing that in the manner they were assembled and translated from the ancient languages to have been a fair distribution of meaning of these considered to be sacred Christian texts.
Some things over the years I remember and reassemble in my mind to clarify later.
I do remember as I have mentioned earlier that some gospels passages have stuck in my mind over the years from my youth and having been read in church. And in those fairly ancient days of the fifth and sixth decade of the twentieth century, I remember a phrase that struck a note back then and now I feel in my heart the time to speak.
The passage in Luke 7 was about a Roman Centurion who asks Jesus for a healing of his servant “who was dear unto him”. Of course the gospels and all ancient histories lack a great deal of detail that we in the modern age demand and expect from writing. But that phrase has stuck in my ears and memory until yesterday when a thought gelled in my psyche.
Matthew has the same story line in its eighth chapter but the Roman’s slave and or servant is said to have “palsy” and was greatly tormented. No mention of a bond of affection and or respect for the life of the servant/slave. Of course some of these translations are many times trying to empathize with the culture of the times.
Luke I have been taught was a Greek. As such his Greek outlook and Greek culture seem to not be ashamed to add a note of affection between master and slave. Perhaps the dying slave had been a tutor, a second father, or he, and I presume he here, might have been his lover. We will never know.
If you believe in the basic message of Jesus, then Apostles or later disciples who wrote down the early oral traditions of the early Christian cult aimed for accuracy and perhaps on occasion feelings. Greco-Roman culture did not draw lines so tightly and meanly between sexual practices as we now do in very recent history.
The use of the story of a Roman Centurion could have been a later add-on to make the gospels more user friendly to Greeks and Romans after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.. I think rather than being an add on, it seems the real thing because it speaks of faith and a hierarchy of principles and commands and blind discipline that held the Roman Empire together for so long. I think it possible and probable that Judaism for a Roman army officer was a local religion and a local “god” that demanded attention and respect. After all, it says the Centurion built a synagogue. Not perhaps kosher on his part so much as trying to win the hearts and minds of a captive people.
Jesus in his ever widening circle of the people, real people, outside the sham world of the Temple crowd in Jerusalem appealed to all levels of humanity and to their individual needs and cultures.
I believe that this curing of a “servant dear unto him” may have been an unbiased act of love by Jesus, by God to a gay couple. It was perhaps a gay miracle by Jesus.
I say all this because an energy hit me yesterday. Someone kindly forwarded an article in USA today about some conservative bishop in the Church of England ranting his hate directly at gays and indirectly at women ordinations etc. It is a wonder how these conservatives in the COE/Episcopal Church can eliminate 50% of humanity in the form of women and say another 5% in Gays. Rip the church apart and live in the mistaken belief that 45%, a trimmed budget of Jesus’ Church, is a queer fulfillment of Jesus’ command to preach to all nations. I do not believe Jesus left a list of the select few in those nations that should listen and or be saved.
So, the article in USA Today was negative energy created in the universe by a very smug blind cleric. Well the negative energy hit me and it knocked me in the head and I remembered the thing about the Centurian and his “gay” servant that I had filed away for some time. The world and or universe may be on its way back to balance now that the Centurion and his servant are now out of the closet so to speak. Thank you Bishop for the kick in the ass.
Jesus loves us all, every one of us.