Zadkiel rose from his perch and shook the dew from his feathers. Had he known what a damp assignment this would be… but no. It was important to stay with him.
As soon as gloom had turned to pearl, Jesus went to the lake side. He skipped stones for a while, then began jumping the rocks. Zadkiel waited, assessing Jesus’ mood, then he stepped to the water’s edge.
‘You seem perplexed.’
Jesus lost his footing and splashed into the lake. ‘You startled me! Have you been there long?’
‘Always,’ Zadkiel said, a bit hurt that Jesus had forgotten again.
Jesus was testing his balance on a swaying stone. He let his foot dip into the water, then spun to find his centre as the stone tipped. Suddenly he turned to Zadkiel and asked, ‘What do they want from me?’
‘What do they want from you?’
‘I mean: I got nothing but bile from Nazareth. Rumour and lies. So little faith that I was powerless. Then, in Galilee, they came by their thousands: wanting me to teach and heal, hoping to be changed. What do they want?’
‘You think they want to be changed?’
‘Maybe. Some of them. But really, they want me to change. They want me to be who they want me to be– all of them. In Nazareth: to be unremarkable. In Galilee: to work wonders and unleash the very power of God. I’m not sure that any of them can accept me for who I am.’
‘And who are you?’ Zadkiel asked wryly.
Jesus turned and eyed up the rocks. He leapt and landed safely this time. He let his eyes rest on the water, the light dancing like stars.
‘Sometimes, you know, it feels like whole worlds pass beneath me when I jump — that I could land on the morning star — that time itself yields — that I could leap out… or in.’
Zadkiel gave him time to think about it, then said,
‘And if it were true? If you could leap into or out of time? If you could choose anything, what would you do?’
Jesus twirled again, where he stood. He seemed unaware of it.
‘I would do this, I suppose. Feed them, teach them, heal what I could. Love them and be frustrated by them. Be glad for those I could call friends.’
‘So maybe it doesn’t matter then’
‘Sorry?’ Jesus asked, turning to look at him, trying to pay attention.
‘Maybe it doesn’t matter: what they say, what they think, what they want. If you could do anything and this is what you would choose, then just do it. Go on doing it. Be who you are.’
‘Who I am…’ Jesus echoed.
Then he looked again at Zadkiel, so calm and sure on his rock. ‘You are right.’ Jesus said. ‘And if it is true, that I can do anything, then I choose this!’
Jesus leaped to Zadkiel’s side and pushed him off balance. Zadkiel arose from the water, sodden and dishevelled. He shook out his feathers, then turned slowly towards Jesus.
‘Ah yes. If you could do anything…
You are wise to be glad for your friends.’
Zadkiel flicked his wing across the water and made sure Jesus was thoroughly drenched.