The lost Gospel of Nathaniel
When Jesus got back from John’s camp on the far side of the Jordan, he had changed and talked constantly about this holy anointing oil. Gone were the fine Egyptian linens and leather sandals, all replaced by hemp. Hemp sandals wear faster than leather, which can last a lifetime if kept well-oiled, but suddenly Jesus would not touch leather, nor would he eat meat, and he wailed should anyone speak of slaughtering anything. Of course, we all assumed he’d lost his mind in the desert and no one took him seriously. Especially his mother. We waited for him to return to normal. But he didn’t.
Eventually Jesus convinced me and James, Thaddaeus Judas to come check out the scene at John’s camp. Andrew was already there and maybe Thomas too. That’s when the Anointed Ones came into being. Funny how these amazing spiritual beings from all over the world had ended up at John’s camp on the Jordan, a town of tents, where dozens of tribes met and held ceremony as one tribe. The best musicians, dancers and performers were there because once you get a reputation for parties, party people come in droves. And unlike Temple ceremonies, we had only one rule: Don’t hurt anybody, and that included feelings. But these parties had a special spirit because John didn’t allow any alcohol, so we never had any drunks to contend with. John said alcohol and money were both infected by evil spirits and to be avoided.
Everywhere you looked, hemp plants were growing and we were using this plant for everything, but mostly making oil from the flowers. We burned it in lamps, rubbed it on bodies, poured it on our heads and even put into our food. John was the first one who said it would heal anything.
The Anointed Ones got started with Jesus on the oud, which is called the lute in Greek. Jesus read Greek and had studied Pythagoras and was using scales nobody’d ever heard of and had an obvious flair for harmony. The party started every day at four twenty and John would speak at some point. Most of the speech would be about what was needed to be done the next day, but a lot of it was John talking off the top of his head about spirituality and the power of love. Jesus started playing lute during those speeches. I had my tavil stick, so I joined in. James had a ram’s horn used to call council. Eventually, we had Matthew on tof, Philip on daf, and John on asor. But it was when the harmonium appeared that everything went to a different level.
We started with songs of our ancestors, but John was adamant we had to make our own songs. He said the oil was our guide and to follow our hearts. The Anointed Ones took over at John’s pretty quick, and we always had the premiere slot during ceremonies. Not to mention we became popular with all the girls in camp.
When the powers-that-be heard how big John’s scene had gotten, they infested us with secret agents. I know Judas Iscariot, Simon the Zealot, and maybe even Simon Peter were part of that crew. They were never part of the band. There was a lot of jealously. Jesus never touched any money from the gigs and neither did I. We had this crazy attitude because we thought its Roman spirit would infect us.
One day John disappeared and we heard rumors he’d been imprisoned. Then we heard he was dead. Same as it always was. Nothing we could do. But Jesus came up with a plan. During Passover, Jerusalem is always flooded with pilgrims and the Temple yard filled with birds and animals awaiting sacrificial death. Jesus wrote this chant called Blood on the Altar. He wanted to perform it all around Jerusalem during Passover week. But when we got to the Temple to perform our song, Jesus asked one of the priests if he could buy a pigeon. The priest showed him a cage, and before he could do anything, Jesus let the bird fly free. Now this priest wanted Jesus to pay for that bird, but Jesus asks to see another, bigger bird, and he let that one go free. Suddenly Jesus whips off his rainbow-colored hemp belt around his waist and starts using it as a whip to start a stampede of cattle, while a bunch of us got busy opening up cages, letting all the creatures go free. Some priests rushed after their animals, while others came in a group to confront us. That’s when Jesus turned the table with all the coins over, which really threw the priests into a panic, as everyone began diving after those rolling coins racing down the cobblestones. It was hilarious and we couldn’t stop laughing as we slipped away in the madness that followed. We knew something was going to come down after that incident, but we didn’t think it was going to be a crucifixion.
Judas set Jesus up later that day, but Judas didn’t hang himself like they say. He was murdered and all our money disappeared with him, as well as whatever he was paid. There’s a lot of theories, but few facts.
What I see happening is the Anointed Ones are dying like flies, while the double agents are taking over our peace movement. Notice the oil is once again disappearing? If they catch you making oil, it’s considered black magic and they can crucify you on the spot. Only priests are allowed to possess this oil, and they don’t use it anymore except on themselves. And you don’t see many hemp plants growing on the banks of the Jordan like you used to, because they send troops to stomp it down every spring and fall.