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Book Reviews
The Fugitives of Gethsemane
By: D.S. Lliteras - Rainbow Ridge Books, $16.95

Description: The Fugitives of Gethsemane explores the paradox that wanting believers must overcome while struggling to understand the essence of the Christian faith.

It is a creed that cannot be learned � it must be experienced by those pondering the complexity of its teachings. This book does not attempt to explain the unexplainable, but it does dramatize the efforts of four disciples hoping to find trust and belief in the Lord, Jesus.

So throw away your ordinary reason for this is the ancient mystery of belief, as it is.

Verdict: So what really happened at Gethsemane? Well, the scene has stimulated the imagination of many great painters down the years, that�s for sure. The light of a full moon accentuates the shadows in a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives. A lonely figure prays in anguish. Deep in careless sleep, his companions ignore his agony. The swords of the approaching soldiers appear on the horizon. The tension is palpable.

Jesus� prayer in Gethsemane is one of the most soul-wrenching episodes in the Gospels: �My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet, not as I will but as you (will)� (Matthew 26:39).

If the Transfiguration � the moment when Jesus is mystically transformed in the presence of Moses and Elijah � presents Jesus at his highest, here we see him at his lowest. The radiant Lord who stood erect on a mountain peak now struggles for light in the desolation of night. The disciples who were so attentive at the Transfiguration and begged to prolong the golden moment, do not want to hear or see what is happening to Jesus here.

These contrasting images bear reflection. We like to bask in the glory of the superhuman Jesus of the Transfiguration. He is a savior to be proud of. We do not want to deal with a savior consumed by loneliness, desperate fear and uncertainty. These traits are far too human. Nonetheless, this is the real Jesus.

Jesus� struggle in Gethsemane is recounted in all three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 26:36�46; Mark 14:32�42; and Luke 22:39�46). There are striking differences, however, for one gospel actually contains two accounts of Jesus� agony. What can we say of these varying accounts? Can we determine which was the most original and who copied from whom? Can we reconstruct how the story developed?

All that and oh-so much more has been circulating ever since they were first told, and passed down, ear to ear, but here in The Fugitives of Gethsemane: The Three Days Following the Crucifixion of Jesus by author D.S. Lliteras, whose prose is beautifully written at all times, and whose heartfelt, and vividly masterful verbal depictions are a work of art, takes us on a spiritual journey quite like no other.

He opens his book on James the Younger. James was called by Jesus to be a disciple some time after the call of James, son of Zebedee, which led to his identification as James �the Lesser / the Younger.� He, along with John and Peter, were considered pillars of the early Church, and St. Paul met with him about how best to carry on the mission of the Church.

From there we are introduced to Matthew the Publican, who stands as a positive example of what Christ can do with an �undesirable.� Matthew also stands as an encouragement for those who labor for souls among the �undesirables�.

We may never be able to understand the changes that God can make in a man. But we don�t have to understand. We only need to do our jobs and reach the world.

The book continues onward with chapters on, amongst others, Simon the Patriot, Discovery at Golgotha, Nightmares and Dreams, The Women and Jesus and comes to a close on Belief, As It is...

In closing, and no matter at what level your belief is, this tome of biblical fiction is written in such a captivating style, flush with fluid narrative and made accessible to read without being waylaid with heavy religious facts, that I would highly recommend it to anyone even curiously interested in what happened in those three days following the Crucifixion of Jesus.

About the Author - D. S. Lliteras is the author of sixteen books that have received national and international acclaim. His short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous national and international magazines, journals, and anthologies. He lives in Montgomery, Alabama with his wife and author, Kathleen Touchstone.

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