Historical setting: 588 C.E. Courtyard of Ligugè
I fear our peaceful joy of Creative Spirit eternal in beauty and life may not be perceived as enough to satisfy unquenched longings for earthly wins. Earth and heaven seem further apart. When creeds and mouthed prayers twist and unravel with the sound of a Christian earthly achievement as “thank you God for our numbers and power” something tangible may be seen, but also, something mystical is lost.
Now as Ligugè dwindles in numbers and earthly importance we too, are unsure if we celebrating a lasting spiritual legacy or grieving an earthly loss. Ligugè really doesn’t have much shine on earth. Yet I do know God is still present with us. Thank you God. We still have songs and prayers and responses to calls. We simply have none of the earthly “mosts” of today’s monasteries.
Brother August’s artistry has attracted a sponsor. A marble stone was quarried, and is being brought to us by a team of mules.
I’m glad we haven’t taken to making our own wine so that I can see my son once in a while even though fewer guests drink less wine. So it is longer between visits from Ezra. And I know Ezra too, is a rich patriarch now.
These are times for remaking the metaphor for the Jesus kind of joyful peace, “the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus always answered questions of an eternal heaven in the present tense. He said, “I am with you always.” And whenever I find I am in his midst and warmth even in these times he never says “if you achieve enough goodness to earn your way to heaven I will be with you only in some far off distant day to come.” He is with me now, still speaking.
In our Jewish ways we shouted out psalms of lament and expected God to be a power present with us. Now the blessings from earthly priests seem shy in calling God directly into the hungers and hurts of earth. The priests say “one day there will be golden streets and castles in heaven for those who suffer on earth.” But isn’t that place with many rooms, prepared for us by Jesus right here in our midst like the prayer caves for the desert aesthetic? [John 14:1-7] Or is the long wander always somewhere other than in life. Is it like the horizon, always within view but never present?
Here, I would ask the artist.