Monday, January 11, 2010

The Name, Jesus and the Fools

What Jesus Runs Away From

The son of Mary, Jesus, hurries up a slope as though a wild animal were chasing him. Someone following him asks,
"Where are you going? No one is after you."
Jesus keeps on, saying nothing, across two more fields. 
"Are you the one who says words over a dead person, so that he wakes up?"
"I am."
"Did you not make the clay birds fly?"
"Who then could possibly cause you to run like this ?"
 Jesus slows his pace. 
"I say the Great Name over the deaf and the blind, they are healed. Over a stony mountainside, and it tears its mantle down to the navel. Over non-existence, it comes into existence.
But when I speak lovingly for hours, for days, with those who take human warmth and mock it, when I say the Name to them, nothing happens. They remain rock, or turn to sand, where no plants can grow. Other diseases are ways for mercy to enter, but this non-responding breeds violence and coldness toward God.
I am fleeing from that."
As little by little air steals water, so praise dries up and evaporates with foolish people who refuse to change. Like cold stone you sit on a cynic steals body heat. He doesn't actually feel the sun." Jesus wasn't running from actual people. He was teaching in a new way.

(Version by Coleman Barks, "The Essential Rumi",
HarperSanFrancisco, 1995)

Flee from the foolish;
even Jesus fled from them.
Much blood has been shed by companionship with fools!
Air absorbs water little by little; even so, the fool drains you of spirit.
He steals your heat and leaves you cold,
like one who puts a stone beneath you.
The flight of Jesus wasn't caused by fear,
for he is safe from the mischief of fools;
his purpose was to teach by example.

(Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski,
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance", Threshold Books, 1996)
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