George MacDonald has no difficulty finding the trapdoor at the bottom of your intellect. He opens it and walks into a darkness you never knew existed. He goes down into the blackness as a matter of course, as if simply going home. Each step, not hesitant and inching, but familiar of the way. His voice, an un-wavering torch. No change in pitch or pace, steady in its joys and sorrows as he descends to his work far below you. He walks easily from this dimness to that utter darkness—for his light is God’s light, and is bright enough for all. And he is unashamed of any place where light may shine.
I am floored by several passages, and in this one he builds to a crescendo at his description of God’s prison. And my thought was, “I know that place.”
“Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”
My cup runneth over…
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life…for thine is the kingdom and the glory forever and ever. Amen
When Cleopus’ eyes were opened by the breaking of bread and the sharing of it, Christ disappeared from Cleopas’ sight and entered his burning heart.
As if Christ had said, “Now that you have seen what you needed to see; now that your eyes have opened to what your burning heart already knew; you know where I am and how to find me.
I must go. If I do not go, you will not look for me. And you must always look for me; only then will you always find me.”
Jesus did not come that we may have answers--but that we may have life, and have it abundantly.
Any answer, even if explained by Christ himself, would not aid our essential need one jot. Our need is life. More of it. Our need is Christ himself. Our need is the Father who gives life. Who is life.
An answer can not be abundant. Once given, more of it can only be redundant. An answer is a cessation. An ending. A nullification. A balance. But not Christ—not Life. Life is abundant. More life is abundant life. It has no end, the highest it goes, is higher than the highest heavens.
I believe because He saw me when I was completely alone. He saw me. And that was enough. I believe. And the circumstances of my aloneness, of my fig tree, of my pre-called life, no longer matter.
And God promises that just as He saw a thing I knew couldn't be seen, doubted would ever be seen--myself; that just as what He; the Creator of all things, all lonely islands, and trees, and selves; the Creator of all oceans and continents and stars and nights and suns saw was one of His created; that just as the God who sees every lost soul saw mine made me first believe; so I, even I, as blind a beggar as I am, will see greater things to make men believe.
I don’t think the vaccine is very useful.
Because the sun stands still in my heart.
Maybe when the sun moves on and I must follow the light, and jump the shadows
and pick up the dead;
and in the last fever of sunset chase my enemy side by side with my savior—the Christ.
Maybe then will the vaccine become something to me.
Who knows? Who can see in the twilight?
But for now the sun stands still.
The day continues on and on. Shining it’s eternal noon. And the shadows are shrunk.
And I and my army have all the time in the universe.
And I and my army are victorious.
A good story does something to you.
We say, “That hit me hard.” Or, “That punched me in the gut.” Or, “That really affected me” or “got to
me.” It is like the story is a person, or a fighter or a body in motion.
It does something to you. Not you to it.
The only thing required is to be quiet and listen. To sit down in front of it and shut up. Any studying, interpretations, calculations of the story are in a sense way too late. Too slow. Tectonically slow. The wrong move.
If you tell me a story and I trust you, like you, love you; I accept it before I believe it. I believe it before it is explained. The correct posture seems to be an intense, unrelenting humility before it. To truly love a thing is to know its essential goodness, and it is to simply allow it to happen, or to happen to you. Like life for instance. Like the Bible. The Bible is happening to you.
But if the point of reading the Bible is not to study and interpret, in a sense, try to understand it, then what is the point?
It might be more correct to say there is no point in reading the Bible. Or maybe the point of reading the Bible is the same as the point of exploring a large and luxurious library in a distant castle which you inherited: The point is to enjoy it.
Or, strangely, to be terrified by it. Since enjoyment and terror are very close things. (Like the sheer joy and terror of a new baby). And this is understanding. Not intellectual understanding. Not rational understanding. But Job-like understanding. Ecclesiastes-like understanding. To accept the weight of a thing without asking how much. To accept it without explanation.
This freedom then somehow opens a door to all doors.
We seem to have inherited from Adam the eternal habit of making things too complicated. As if this is the best way to simplify. We make our words longer. As if this is the best way to understand. More. We make our sentences are longer. As if this is the path to clarity. We must always add to the sentence, “Be.”
“Be saved. Be cleansed. Be healed.” When “being” and “being saved” are one and the same. We must always add to the sentence, “I want to see.” “See God. See eternal life. See truth. See lies.” When “seeing” and “seeing truth” are one and the same. The same with live. The same with love. The same with ask, seek, and knock. We must always have a for, or a what, or an object, or a reason. But when we disappear, the speech and the sentence can shorten dramatically to the true nature of existence. The man who spake, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins,” could only speak a thing like that from his heart. Just as the man who truly understands it can only hear it with his heart. And both watch every bird fly away and the sky suddenly darken at its utterance.
But the rational man who speaks from his mind, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins”—no matter how well it fits onto his detailed and highly crafted, and highly reasoned doctrinal system; no matter how well it nulls out his own cosmological mathematics; no matter how perfectly he copies the original—that man is lying. Now the Spirit and Truth of that sentence may and can seep into the heart of another. But what a shame for the man of the mind! The Spirit can not strive with his mind. He is alienated from his own salvation.
That rational man will evangelize the simple name and message of Jesus and others will respond to the name, moved by the message and worked upon by the very Spirit the man himself does not have within. And the man will watch this occur and believe he understands their salvation better than they. In this sad way, he becomes a lonely statue on the bottom of the ocean where the ark of Noah once dry-docked; bemused at the quietness, heaviness and lack of sun in his world; waiting to get on a ship that has already sailed. Waiting for life to begin.
He sings beautifully in the belly of the big fish, “I lift my eyes to hills. Where does my help come from?” And others hear and leave and ascend. And he remains in his darkness.
Morality is not a balance. It is a battle. (Like drinking) the difference between not drinking, drinking, and drinking too much is only in the heart. It is a choice of conscience. To know that one sip is wrong or one sip more is wrong is no different to the man that knows it is wrong and does it anyway. Morality is not a balance, it is a bloodbath of choice and of knowing what you are choosing. And on The Day. The Day one reaches the gates of the kingdom of heaven, the plains behind him will be soaked in blood. He will be ankle deep in bodies and bone. Walking atop the slain. His sword will be dripping with blood in his hands. And he alone will set it down at the gates. And Lo! The gates open and the sword disappears and there stands the king. The Christ. And the man looks down and lifts up the skirt of the fallen dead and sees a name on their thigh. He raises their helms and sees himself. All and everyone himself. Every choice. Slain. Every choice to hate or love, to quit or stay. To do a thing and know it was wrong—or not. A bloodbath. A thousand times ten thousand slain on the killing field. And there the man sees his life and then turns and sees Life. Just there. And he who was once an old man finally becomes a small boy again. And the king embraces him as He lifts and embraces all His subjects. And the boy cries at his giant shadow and then he laughs. And Jesus says gently to the boy, “I knew you could do it.” Together they walk through the gates into a courtyard full of little children. And one, a little girl, blonde, says, “Who are you? I think I knew you once.”
And she is familiar to the boy. He knows her but also doesn’t know. She asks if he wants to play hide and seek. And he does. But before he runs away into the kingdom, the great and mighty King says, “I have something for you.” And He reaches into his pocket and hands the little boy a white stone. The boy looks and sees and feels a name written on it. A name written in letters he has never seen but knows only he can read. He knows it is his new name. And the king says, “This is for you. Because you overcame."
And as the boy runs, the white stone whispers in his heart, "You are special to me. Out of everyone who has ever been or ever will be, only you have this name. I named you this long ago. And only you and I may know it. Which means something else: I am special to you. Out everyone who has ever been or ever will be, you know me in a particular way that no one else ever can. So we are more because of each other. I love you.”
And the boy knows he will never lose his stone. He couldn’t if he tried. He will keep it in his pocket. He will take it out and look at it. He will feel his name engraved on its side. He will put it on his shelf at night. He will sleep and sleep and sleep.
There is one that goes to Hell and comes back. Not that looks at a world gone to Hell, but that goes goes there himself and comes back. That goes to death and comes back. Turns around and in one hand holds a candle, in another keys, and says he has found a way out and will show you.
That’s the sense you get when you read Isaiah or the revelation of John. You get the sense the tongue of Isaiah and the hem of John’s robe still burn from brimstone and Angel of Fire as they shout and dance and scream. There is nothing dull in those writings. There is nothing gray about what they’re saying. They stand towards the listener with eyes wide open, then glowing in mouth, spewing fire.
It is often complained by those both inside and out, that when the Church talks of End Days it is a talk of frightening things by frightened people. But my complaint against them is that they are not frightened enough. It is only the prophet who has gone to Hell and come back and who is still smoldering with embers, who has been to the belly of the whale and come out, who speaks with conviction and properly placed fear and can direct his message with true courage.
It is only the Savior who has gone and talked to Satan, who has come back with keys to the gates of Hell and death, who can burn brightly with the white light of the spirit and truly speak as one who has seen and knows about death and fear and salvation.
It is why the pacifist who says “war is horrible“ should either be slapped or their mouth should be sealed up shut and why only the soldier who has been there should be the one to speak of its uses, either horrible or not, or it’s glories either wonderful or not. It is the one who’s been to Hell who knows and feels what it is. Otherwise it’s just one’s opinion, And to properly talk about the End Days as all the prophets of old, as of John the Baptist and John the gospel writer, and as Jesus the true Savior himself, God himself, is to properly hear they are not sharing their opinions, they are sharing their experience with reality and coming back to talk about it.
The end times are not something you talk about secondhand.
The sudden, striking, frightening realization that your failure to recognize your present state of fear that destroys your life is your final failure at the judgment.
Your failure to recognize that this very life of yours is your kingdom life and your failure to recognize that your current state of Hell and fear that kills life is your failure at the judgment. The winnowing fork separates the exact people who thought they were wheat into chaff. They were chaff but they called themselves wheat. They were goats but they called themselves sheep.
And He never knew you.
Love is not a loan. That is the way a person loves, but not the way a Christian person loves, and not the way God loves.
Be kind to the ungrateful; which is to say be kind to a person who not only does not return kindness, but spits on on it; be a giver who expects nothing in return. Why? Because being like that is being like God.
Yes that’s very deep. RE: relating. It goes with something I have been working on for some time now: the way we think about reality in terms of relationship. The most basic relationship (almost: but the trick actually lies inside) has to be the relationship between two things, because one thing can not relate to itself. Sort of like the impossibility of dividing by zero. So let’s start with the relating of two things. For example, the relationship between man and woman, or even more generally, male and female (think “marrying and giving unto marriage”). It kind of has this rock bottom, inescapable dualism to it. And that dualistic nature of things can easily become the rock bottom truth of everyone’s reality. But it is actually here, at rock bottom, that the rock becomes most important. Because the rock may be a low thing, it may be so large a thing it goes away, it may be a thing as black and invisible as space itself, but it is without a doubt a thing, and it is the ground, or background, things, even a two-pronged thing like dualism itself, stand on.
Why does this matter?
Because as long as anybody in the cosmos is "marrying and giving unto marriage" to another body, these two bodies are lost in space.
Because any single body in space can not tell if it is moving or not relative to the blank space around it unless there is another body in that space (think of a planet hanging alone in the complete emptiness of space—no stars, nothing but blackness. It could be traveling at 60,000 mph or -60,0000mph in any direction, or not moving at all, or in circles. Who knows? The only way to tell if it is moving is if another planetary body is there). Now, there is still a major problem. Take these two bodies in space and ask this question: “Which one is moving? Is it both? Is it just one, or is it the other?” Because unless they are both moving at the same speed and direction, one will always appear stationary in relation to the other that is in motion. There is NO way to tell which in the reality of space...unless...there is a third object. Then when that trinity is there it becomes clear how the original two objects, at least, are moving relative to each other. And then it has a kind of a “majority rules” thing to it. As all trinities do.
Now. Go back to “marrying and giving unto marriage” or to the tigress that related with Cain, or to the “Sons of God and Daughters of men.”
It seems we are always forgetting something that helps us know where we are. Always getting lost without that third thing. Without that rock. And that lostness manifests itself in the constant directionless, endless process of either “marrying or giving unto marriage.” EVEN, and
maybe most clearly, in our actual marriages. It has that same endless, unknown “happening” to it, that forever disorients two bodies in space. A pushing and pulling. Neither body knowing exactly, but always assuming they know, which is doing the pushing away and which is pulling close. But there is this other thing. This place where all the constant marrying, the constant tensing and relaxing, can actually stop. And the two bodies become, each unto themselves, one thing, one flesh—but also the same thing. Not one wearing a black tuxedo and one a white dress, but both wearing something else—like a blue velvet mantle with a golden cross. There is a time when the destabilized orbits of wild and energetic electrons and protons might stabilize by the introduction of that neutral, in a sense, invisible, something else. Each thing then a unity unto the themselves, and finally to each other.