Crowd Purchases are consummated with the clank and clatter of exchanged coins as shrewd merchants and haggling buyers add to the bustle of the market. Livestock voice stubborn resistance as herdsmen mutter and curse. Everywhere jostling throngs of purposeful travellers are bent on accomplishing some errand of busy import. Above the din, scribes and Pharisees engage in loud debate. Occasionally a blast of a trumpet clears the path so one with rank or nobility can make his celebrated movement through town. Beggars and cripples cry out for alms.

Through this bustling lakeside, teeming with its smells and sounds of activity, a Man moves calmly toward a docked boat and its cargo of waiting fisherman.

'I'm sorry to have kept you waiting,' He says swinging aboard the small vessel. 'I stopped to talk with Mary. She seemed discouraged when I saw her last. But now let's be off! I'm as eager as you to finally be underway.'

'That's for sure!' responds Peter. 'I fear for my nerves if we don't find some peace and quiet soon. It's not that I don't like people, You understand, but most seem to be little more than curiosity seekers.'

'It's true, Peter, many of them do come only out of curiosity. I also wish there were more earnest ones among them.' The Latecomer pauses, contemplation softening his care-worn brow, then adds, 'But whoever comes, I will in no way cast out.'

A moment of quiet follows, full of wonderings. Then James abruptly changes the subject. 'What bearing shall we take? The lake is large, and there are many possibilities.'

'Well, James,' comes the reply, 'I vote for the northeast shore. It's peaceful and quiet there, and this time of year Mount Hermon's snowy slopes will make a beautiful backdrop to the blue and green of spring.'

'Then bend the oars, men,' cries James (whose boat it is), 'and soon we will be catching sun as well carp or barbles along one of the finest bits of shoreline on Galilee.'

So time flew, as it always does when a happy purpose occupies the day. These fishermen were eager to ply their trade, and the Teacher, for such was the Latecomer, looked forward to a space of uncrowded time with His men.

Eagerly, He joins them, muscles straining at the oars, as they dip rhythmically and pull across the placid reflection that is Galilee. But word of mouth is often the quickest means of travel, and so it happens that news flashes from farm to farm and town to town along the northeasterly direction in which their boat is moving. Judging by the interest with which this boat's progress is noted and passed along, one would judge the Teacher to be quite popular. He is!

The rowers approach the green velvet hills composing the northern shore. One by one the oars abruptly cease their circular motion. The men gaze in wonder at the majestic snow-clad slopes of Hermon. As they watch, great white clouds that have been obscuring the mountain melt into blue, revealing the summit. Reflected sunlight glistens from the mountain's icefields and leaps again from the mirrored surface of the lake. The men drink in the scene, filling their souls with energy and peace. Pressures drop away like weighted nets into the lake, and their voices mingle in glad expressions of joy and wonder. The next few days will be greatly appreciated and well-deserved!

Turning from Hermon, they look at the Teacher and discover Him gazing in a different direction. Silently, chin cradled upon hugged knees, He looks across the liquid surface. He appears lost in thought, and their eyes follow the direction of His gaze. Suddenly their holiday vanishes and is replaced by a noisy crowd expectantly thronging the shoreline.

The men suggest turning about and looking for a more inaccessible shoreline. The Teacher looks at His disappointed companions, at the hopeful crowd, and then back again. His lips move silently, as if in prayer, and then with a careworn smile He gestures toward the shore, saying, 'Friends, welcome to the blue and green of spring.'

He taught them there. He healed their diseases. He broke bread for them. And His friends remembered that He had said, 'Whoever comes to Me, I will in now way cast out!'

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The Pleasure of His Company - Greenpeace
Copyright 1994, written by Lee Venden