“How do you know it’s true?” Liam asked. “You have no proof.”
“It’s true if it changes us,” I replied. “The change is proof of its truth.”
Liam sputtered bits of scone at me, “There’s no proof that God is anything other than a fantasy.”
“The changes He has wrought in us and our world are proof,” I replied. “Just like the changes you effect in a diseased mouse.”
With each word, Liam jabbed the butter knife at the dish, “I can reproduce those changes. Any scientist can.”
My eyes narrowed, “Don’t be intellectually dishonest. You won’t always get the same results.”
“That’s to be expected,” he replied.
I breathed in and pulled down my hunched shoulders, “The effects Jesus has had on people have been repeated since Pentecost,” I said. “A small group of men went from terrified to bold in a flash.” I forced my shoulders a bit lower. “They risked their lives and most of them were tortured and killed for the Gospel. It continues today. People encounter Christ and they change. Radically. Jesus is the only new thing that comes into those lives.”
“It’s not evidence,” Z insisted.
“If a good percentage of your diseased mice showed radical healing after you performed an experiment, wouldn’t you take that as evidence that your hypothesis was correct?” I asked.
“Of course. But I can repeat my experiments with a new batch of mice and if I can’t reproduce my results, I know my theory was wrong. The Gospel has been preached in many places and people have either not changed or changed into something horrible.”
“That’s always been true. Many who heard Jesus, Himself, changed into something horrible. There are accounts of them in the New Testament. But many also were willing to sacrifice everything for Christ. The same is true today.
“Liam,” I leaned over and placed a hand on his arm, “you don’t toss your theory because some of your mice die more quickly as a result of your experiments. You expect that to happen. As long as you don’t have an unacceptable number of deaths or deaths due to unforeseen causes, you focus on the positive results. Your experiments are a success not when every mouse is better but when enough mice are — and that might be a small percentage.”
“Peter or Paul or any of them might have changed for a hundred different reasons,” Z told me. “You have no proof that God changed them.”
“That would be like me saying you have no proof your mice got better because of anything you did.”
I closed my eyes for a moment and blotted out Liam holding his tea cup. Please Lord? I begged.
Opening my eyes, I first saw my music notebook. “Let me play a couple of things for you,” I said.
Checking his watch, he shrugged, “Sure.”
I moved to the piano and played several bars of I Will Always Love You. Liam shifted in his seat.
“Kind of ponderous, yes?” I inquired.
“What about this?” My fingers beat out Sanctus.
“Hey!” he smiled. “Is that Salsa?”
“Bossa Nova,” I answered.
Liam sat next to me on the piano bench, “Play more of that second one.”
I played through to the end. “They’re both mine,” I told him. “I wrote the first one twenty-two years ago. I wrote a whole lot like that. My boyfriend used to say that they all sounded alike.”
“Do you want to hear them?”
“No,” he shook his head.
“I don’t blame you. They’re dirges.” I turned to Sanctus, “This one I wrote about six months ago. It was a grand surprise. I didn’t know I had that kind of music in me.”
Liam ran his fingers across the lyrics. “I can’t read this,” he said.
“It’s originally from Isaiah and Matthew, I told him. “But this is the way it’s used in the Mass. ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are full of Your glory. Hosanna in the Highest. Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the Highest.’
“I can choreograph and dance to this,” I said playing a few more bars then stopped and caught Liam’s gaze, “It’s true if it changes us. I know it’s true because it has been changing me.”