Now, I would like to tell you how I came to write Casting Lots. I was in church listening to a sermon, when I felt compelled or called to write about how the Gospels came to be written. Having been called, how does one accomplish the task?
For years, I’ve been intrigued by early Christianity and by the Roman Empire. My love of Rome grew out of my second year of Latin class where my professor would dazzle us by being able to recite the Gallic Wars of Julius Caesar in either Latin or English from memory. His enthusiasm about Julius Caesar was infectious. I can still see him standing on his desk lifting a miniature legion’s Eagle while quoting the passage about the Centurion who leapt into the seas’ waves to lead Caesar’s forces to invade England.
So a story about a centurion came to me naturally. Of course, there is a centurion who is described by St. Luke at the crucifixion of Jesus. What prompted that Centurion to utter: “Surely, this was a righteous man.”? I wanted to explore this question.
I also wanted my Centurion to be related to Caesar’s Centurion. To fit the timeline properly, Centurion Cornelius had to be the grandson of Caesar’s Centurion. It seemed to be a fitting way to honor my Latin teacher.
In Acts, St. Luke related the story of the Centurion who was converted by St. Peter. In my mind, it was clear that this Centurion was one and the same man who was both present at the crucifixion and then who was later the first Roman official to be converted to Christianity.
In later blogs, I will relate how other elements of the story of Casting Lots came about.