Historical setting: 563 C.E., remembering villa near Zaragosa in 462
Here is a quiet place to collect my thoughts as I now have the one thing I was seeking – my clarity of mind. The bishop laid out details of a time in the missing century. And now my own remembrances have become horrifically clear. This is why I’ve kept these things hidden in this smog of forgotten time. I recall the villa and its ancient heretical cult festering like a plague, feeding on fears and longings for an unknown and unknowable abusive god. The God of love and life was unreachable by these cultists expecting, as they did, only sacrifice and punishments.
I remember we were meeting together on the villa’s warm and breezy portico. Susannah led us in a familiar hymn as though we were all of a single mind and one voice. Then a young cultist asked that we may speak our separate prayers aloud. We heard, buried in each prayer of unctuous words a statement of judgment of earth things and a promise to pay for the “sins of earth” with holy suffering. How is it that God can even hear such a chaos of jangling sacrifice and useless human pain and not send down angels to set it right again?
I pretended then, my prayer aloud; or maybe it was a sermon for earth in the guise of prayer but it forced onto them the Genesis thought – “After each day of Creation God said ‘it is good’. Thank you God for all these beloved people and for this whole beautiful Creation you have named ‘good.’”
One shouted out, “So how do you know the mind of God?”
As I was opening that Gospel of John to the first page, I started to say, “it is written… expecting I would read the part that begins, ‘In the beginning was the …”
Susannah answered, “Just listen to him! This man brings us the true Gospel!”
I had indeed come as a stranger among them and a messenger of the Word assigned the task of freeing them from so much self inflicted suffering, but were I sent down to them on wings from heaven I would truly be a failed angel. Every message of every angel begins, “don’t be afraid” yet there is no edict I could think to announce an honest dissolution of fear. And at that very moment the fear of ethereal awe was immediately changed to an earthbound and tangible fear – an arrow landed in our midst — the unspoken terror was of an earthly war.
(Come again Tuesday, Sept. 22.)