One month ago today (June 11th) was the feast day of St. Barnabas, a man known for selling his property (which was extensive) and gifting all the proceeds to the Christian community.
In my novel, All the Gold in Abbotsford, St. Barnabas is at the center of the corruption and intrigue taking over the town. The evil bishop and his cronies forge a statue of fake gold and use it to con the townspeople into making donations...donations which ultimately end up in the bishop's own pockets!
Here's an excerpt from the novel (pages 154 - 156):
"Barnabas autem adprehensum illum duxit ad apostolos, narravit illis quomodo in via vidisset Dominum, et quia loctutus est ei, et quomodo in Damasco fiducialiter egerit in nomine Iesu." The bishop cast a sweeping glance around the church, then translated the statement from Latin to English. "And some days after, Paul said unto Barnabas, "Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do."
"Let us visit every city and see how they do!" His voice thundered across the hall. "Now tell me, good people of Abbotsford. How think you this city fares in the eyes of God?"
"The man Barnabas was born to wealth and sent to Jerusalem by happenstance, but this happenstance brought him into the presence of the Son of God, who took him into His fold. The word of God transformed Barnabas. He abdicated his wealth, his status, his estates--sold them off one by one. But did he profit from these deeds? Nay! It was to the Church that he commended his wealth, and God smiled on him for this act of faith."
The bishop gestured towards the golden statue, which glinted in the candlelight. "God also smiles upon Abbotsford. Through the gifting of this exalted statue, you must open your eyes and see that this bounty is not a reward for your faith! It is a beacon, a calling upon you all, to sustain--nay, double!--your offerings. As Barnabas did for Christ the Son, you must prove to the Lord that your faith is true."
Godfrey vibrated with barely concealed energy as he listened beside Stephen, and when Anselm unveiled yet another display, pulling the tarp from a new crucifix--also of gold--Stephen heard him exhale. But there was little time to focus on Godfrey, for the crucifix had taken Stephen equally by surprise. Who could've guessed that his rusted armor could purchase a massive golden statue of a saint and a golden crucifix? Godfrey and the magistrate had been busy, it seemed. As had Gilbert Smithson.
"On this day of all days, we honor St. Barnabas, who sacrificed his wealth at the feet of Christ. God now calls upon you to do the same. It is in honor of this revered saint and in recognition of your piety that you offer your own contributions to God, so that you might sleep in peace this night knowing He has secured for you a place in His everlasting kingdom."
The crowds erupted, their faces lit with wonder, and in twos and threes they pushed their way to the front to lay what little coin they possessed in the woven basket at the statue's feet. Throughout this procession, the bishop watched from his pulpit, taking in every last peasant and merchant who paid their dues. His eyes eventually settled on Stephen.
There was little choice in the matter. Stephen forced his way forward to drop his own silver into the coffer, proving he was every bit as faithful as the rest of them. Godfrey, he noted, did not.
Thus ended the feast day mass for St. Barnabas, and thus began the unfurling of the next step in Stephen's grand design.
So, let's get the facts!
Original Name: Joseph the Levite
Saint Name: St. Barnabas
Feast Day: June 11th
Time Period: 1st Century
Description: Christian missionary mentioned in the New Testament. He was one of the Cypriots who founded the church in Antioch, where he preached, and undertook a joint missionary journey with St. Paul from Tarsus.
So, now we know a little more about the inspiration behind the golden status in All the Gold in Abbotsford by E.L. Daniel!
Did you like the excerpt you read?
You can purchase All the Gold in Abbotsford in print or eBook at most major book retailers.