The Forgotten Parable
And after Jesus and the twelve had been in Jerusalem some days, they stopped one night to rest themselves and wipe away the cares of the day in wine and bread. And being men of many stations and minds, the conversation then fell off, and all was quiet, each avoiding the other’s eye. And Simon Peter, who never could abide a silence, addressed the Lord, saying:
‘For God’s sake, let’s liven it up a bit. Rabbi, tell us one of your stories.’
But Jesus did refuse them, saying
‘You’re kidding, right? Healing lepers not enough for you now?’
‘Raising the dead?’
‘It’s a showstopper, to be sure. I just asked if-’
‘If I wouldn’t mind doing half an hour? What do you think this is, dinner theatre?’
And Simon Peter was chastened, and said no more. But the Lord looked upon him with compassionate eyes, and sighed.
‘One more then, just for you,’ said the Lord, and Simon Peter’s heart was filled with joy.
The Lord paused for thought, and all eyes were upon him.
‘Consider the dinosaurs…’ he said. ‘They neither toil in the fields, nor do they-’
‘The what?’ said Judas Iscariot, interrupting.
The Lord turned to him, and his face was wroth.
‘The dinosaurs,’ he said again.
‘What about them?’
The Lord sighed.
‘They neither toil in the fields, nor…where was I?’
Matthew read quickly back from his notes.
‘Nor do they-’ he said.
The Lord was sore confused. ‘Nor do they what?’
‘We do not know, Rabbi….you were saying they neither toil in the fields, nor do they…something…’
‘Oh. Right, yes.’ The Lord cleared his throat, and began again.
‘Consider the dinosaurs…’
‘What’s a dinosaur?’ said Judas.
And the Lord did grind his teeth, and turn again to his interrupter.
‘The dinosaurs! Big scaly monsters, huge teeth, roamed all over the planet, most of them had a brain the size of a pea.’
Judas made to ask another question of the Lord.
‘Like some other people I could mention,’ said the Lord quietly, and Judas spake no more.
‘Consider the bloody…’
‘Erm…’ said Simon Peter. ‘Sorry to interrupt you Rabbi…but when did these dino-saurs as you call them…well…I mean…when did they exist?’
The Lord sighed again, and full of vexation was he.
‘Before you lot,’ he said. ‘Before you grew up from primitive primates, there were the dinosaurs. They died out before you evolved. Happy?! Everyone on the same page now?’
‘But surely…’ said Simon Peter, who was knowledgeable in such matters, ‘…surely in the beginnning there was Adam and Eve in the garden, and they were created unique above all creatures, and were the parents of us all?’
Jesus looked at him curiously.
‘You kidding me? You still believe that? I thought at least you lot would understand.’
And there was silence among the twelve.
‘Understand, Lord?’ said Peter.
‘That was just a simplified version of the story. Of course you weren’t “created unique”. Good grief, talk about arrogant! No, there were all sorts of things on the planet before you lot. Dinosaurs were the last major rulers of the planet…’
‘But…but that means…’
‘The POINT about the bloody dinosaurs, if you’ll let me get a word in edgeways here, is that they ruled the planet for millions of years, and never dreamed they were in any kind of trouble…’ He looked at Judas and Simon Peter both.
‘Then WALLOP! One spectacular event later, they were nothing but dust and bones.’
Judas shuffled awkwardly in his place. Simon Peter considered his sandals.
‘Learn from the dinosaurs,’ said the Lord. ‘Complacency will get you every time. You might rule the world, but unless you feed, clothe, shelter those who need it, you’re no better than the beasts, and your fate, like theirs, will go unmarked to silence.’
The twelve considered.
‘And as for you two,’ said the Lord, addressing Judas Iscariot and Simon Peter, ‘I’m watching you two, alright? Now can we eat please, my feet are killing me and I want an early night…’
And as the twelve fell to discussion of the weighty matters the Lord had revealed unto them, Thomas nudged Matthew in the ribs and spoke quietly.
‘Can’t see that making it into the book, can you?’
And Matthew shook his head, scratching out the notes he had made.
‘Nah,’ he muttered in reply. ‘They’d never believe it.’