#42.3, Tues., March 7, 2023

Historical setting: 602 C.E. Cottage in the Vosges

         The pagan-like secular church has become a true sanctuary for our worship through these years. The shrine in this place of worship in the woods is made of forest things. A twig, in front of the candle flame on the Christian altar spreads a fully embracing shadow of a tree, overwhelming the sanctuary in the forest pattern of branches across the ceiling all from shadow in the flickering light.

         It is the nature of humankind to respond to the astonishment of the grandeur of Creation with an unquenchable thirst to create, in a human way, a touch or a voice or a god, to look beyond a small self for a god to worship. It is the creative response to Creator. It comes in patterns, ritual, redundant celebration, holy gesture to thirst for God.  She has the unspeakable name, and yet we name God: Diana, Artemis, Mother Nature, Thor, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Yahweh, Lord, King, god, God.

         Sometimes we create an image with our little fingered hands. And sometimes we create music with a range of tone so sparse even the creatures of the sea and woods know the wider songs. And sometimes we create a love of it, and God who is God answers our tiny personal creation of question and captures us completely in an unbounded, unsorted universe of love – tumbling us into so many facets of joy we had never even imagined. The human longing is to own this, to tether it to us, but when it is contained for keeping it seems to vanish, though really, it has become all there is. 

         So after the armies leave, and the church rulers rule, and song is a music lesson, the old gods are set in the niches with new names to fit the new times — then we are at worship.  The people come and go welcomed, forgiven, restored, amazed, beloved – there aren’t words to say it. Worship is silent. 

         And Ana and I still hide our grief from all our other children who live. 

         Dear God, thank you for these children.

         Just now I’m watching that ten-year-old Simon, the twin who survived, as he is watching over his four-year-old brother Haberd. We wait for the older boys to come in from the new planting so I can tend to the mule while they get to their lessons with Ana.

(Continues tomorrow)

Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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