Anne Rice, the highly published author of such works as Interview with the Vampire, has recently delved into Christian novels. I read Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt a couple of years ago, and was intrigued at how Rice can draw a first person account of Christ's life and times in the early days of the church.
She has just completed Called Out of Darkness, a Spiritual Confession which is a memoir regarding her journey back into Catholicism.
Now, I am enjoying her 2008 work Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana.
For a practicing Christian like me, it is simultaneously mesmerising and terrifying. Rice writes as Christ in the first person, leading up to His first miracle - changing water into wine at a wedding.
In one of the opening chapters, Rice has Christ awakening from a dream, where he is envisioning Avigail, a local woman who he cherishes. Christ says, "Go away, beloved girl. This is not for me to know, and Christ the Lord will not know what he does not want to know - or what he would know only by the shape of its absence."
These are powerful and profound words, coming from God and man in one, a perfected being who knew how to suffer and die for the sins of the world, yet needed to die without sin himself.
Rice paints what could be a realistic accounting of Christ's walk as a man...and God. As a man, he fully understood how a partner in life would fulfill Him, but as God he could not partake. Christ knew the journey before him was short; his ministry was just three years, before the Romans would take him to the cross and death - and subsequent resurrection.
Some Christians may cry blasphemy regarding Rice's work, but for me the book allows for deeper introspection on how much Christ suffered for us all. For it was not only at the cross, but also as he walked, alone, in perfect union with God the Father's mission on earth. Christ set aside those parts of a man - love and passion - that drives us and makes us whole.
He truly did suffer in every way, so that we could be free.