Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt

I’ve never read an Anne Rice book until this one. My non-fiction bias kept me away. However, I was drawn to Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt because I am always interested in learning bout people’s decision to return to or renew their faith. Anne Rice wrote this book as part of her own journey back to her Catholic roots. It’s a first person account of Jesus as a 7 year old child. And as a mother of a 7 year old I was especially intereted in her rendention.

As her fans will already know she’s a writer who can suck you in to the world she’s created. I have just discovered this and thoroughly enjoyed this glimpse into one person’s thoughts on what Jesus’ life would have been like at this stage. It opened up new ideas for me and new ways of thinking about my often conflicted views of the man/God. It also gave me new ways to think about the figures of Mary and Joseph who are so often blank to me.

Christ the Lord gave me a greater understanding of why Mary’s immaculate conception is so important – not just because one who is without sin should give birth to the Messiah but because she will also have to raise this son. And it’s the rearing that really becomes the most important aspect – one that we don’t hear much about in the Bible.

I also loved the concept, and it had never occurred to me before, that Jesus didn’t know who he was. That his was a story of discovery, looking for his path – like we all are in some way. It seems obvious to me now that if God were to decide to have this son and experience life as a human through him, that he would have to do it all the way – not with some special knowledge of himself. That would not be as authentic an experience. And how much more powerful the crucifixion becomes when it happens to someone who has struggled so with his reality – when so much was still unknown for him yet he is still willing to die. A representation of his own leap of faith.

It’s a complex and controversial subject – Jesus as son of God and God himself. It’s one I have trouble with. Anne Rice’s book helps me better align these two sides of Jesus. Now hers is a work of fiction of course, but really could be called an interpretation; and one that has just as much plausibility as any religious scholars’. Her research is impeccable! If you read the book, don’t miss the Author’s Note as the end. Her own description of her renewal of faith and reason for writing the book are as touching as the book itself.

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