Wednesday, June 28, 2017
On their long journey back to the Barbarian village, Mac Crieche taught the people a little of the Latin language, but soon realized that he would get further learning theirs.
In this, his new friend, the maiden Charelle-En, was an invaluable asset. It turned out that her grandfather was a deserter from the now abandoned Centurion legion at Apulum. Not daring to show his face in Roman territory again, he took up residence among these wild people. Her knowledge of Latin had thus been gained third-hand, and was fairly good, considering.
Her people were an ancient Daradanian tribe, cut off from their Illyrican brothers when the Iazygi tribe swept in from Scythia in the North. They found themselves wedged into the thin strip of no-man's land separating the Iazyges and the Romans. Unlike their relatives along the Illyrian coast, who were about half Christian, this group had never heard the Gospel at all.
Like so many other gods, the mighty En regularly demanded the blood, sometimes even death of his followers. It was no wonder, therefore, that the people were amazed when Mac Crieche began to speak of this backwards God who sacrificed himself for the people!
As they traveled, he soon found himself giving between three and seven impromptu sermons a week. Invariably it began as answering some questions between one or two individuals, and snowballed into a full crowd.
He even began to notice stray visitors from the tribes through which they passed. It was all he could do to keep the Daradanians from murdering and robbing them during the sermon.
He thought back to his own country, how so many Irishmen would rather give excuses than to come and hear the Bible preached, while out here here in the heathen wilderness, these people would risk life and limb among hostile strangers just to hear it.
In some ways, perhaps, "Christendom" was further from God than heathendom.
By the time his friends were beginning to soften to the idea of getting along with neighbors, Mac Crieche was presented with an all new problem.
They arrived home and the expedition party immediately scattered throughout the village, each excitedly spreading a mangled rendition of Mac Crieche's teachings. Damage control would have to come fast, so he asked Charelle-En if they had a town square or some other central place for speaking to crowds.
"I know just the place!" she said (now in her own language) and took him by the arm.
Near the center of the village there was a large clearing free of buildings. The earth here was hard as concrete, tamped over the years by countless thousands of feet. At one end lie a raised speaking platform of lashed logs and axe-hewn planks.
She pulled Mac Criechie toward it, but all of a sudden felt her grip slip free.
She turned back to see him frozen in his tracks. Transfixed, he looked up at the towering idol whose brother he had seen back at the battlefield celebration. The 20 foot tall En glowered back down at him.
It didn't bother him so much that it was a pagan idol. Well, of course that did bother him, but worse yet, it was the very same idol from his dream back on the Roman road so many weeks ago.