Left and Right—the whole crowd is at fault.
(Parallelism to St. Paul in the Castle barracks in Jerusalem in Acts 22)
Even when the left has you by the scruff of your neck and the right has the gun at your temple, there is no more joyous place to be than directly in the center of God’s will.
Those who mourn and repent will be saved. Those who don’t will be destroyed.
Those who mourn and repent for all the detestable things going on inside the temple will be saved.
The one out of seven—the writer—the marker—will mark the foreheads of those who mourn. And they will be spared. The other six are warriors who will pursue and destroy everyone else.
Similar to Cain’s mark, in a way. Tied to Seven and Multiples of seven.
It also connects to Paul’s Road to Damascus/ lightening bolt experience. A question lurks within: Is it a curse or a blessing to be spared? To see. To see your blindness. To be blind. To live knowing of your murderous heart. It is to be Cain. “Why did I live?” It is to be Paul and suddenly know, as if struck in the head with one of Stephen’s stones, of the detestable practices inside your own temple.
It is to be marked in the head with a lightening scar. To be the boy who lived. To be this thing that cannot be killed from the outside. The mark brings with it seven-fold mayhem and seven hoarcruxes of death. The blood soaking in the earth moans and screams in your ears.
What is this mark then?
Is it a mark for life or death?
Both, in a way. The ego, my divine mark, as such, can not be killed from the outside. It may be flattened, squeezed, shattered, shrunk, and kicked; but it cannot be killed. Yet my strange invincibility also chains me to Death; brings death to the world; both the Death I cause and the Death I escape. What to do with this marked thing? This monstrosity of consciousness. Touched by hate, and love and choice. Marked in a place visible to myself in a mirror only. What now? This mark! What to do about it? What now?!
There is only one solution: Death.
Death to the undying ego--death to the undead.
But since the almighty God himself has protected the bearer of this mark, like Job, from outside asphyxiation by Satan, the only possible death left to me is death by oxygenation, conflagration, immolation, and explosion; death by life, death by Christ--a death by my own voluntary choice.
Only by laying down, only in letting go, only by a Way hidden in the pattern of flaming blades swirling over Eden, may the marked one become finally and forever accessible to his Savior—Breaking the chains of death. Bringing Life in the Savior. Bringing life to the world.
What is the mark?
It is a mark for redemption.
That is how forgiveness works.
Like life, the past is something you can choose to give away instead of keep.
To forgive is to give away a closely held past in the present moment. In a real sense, it is to walk into the past and release the poisonous link from the chain of your existence before it ever happened. And miraculously when you look down at the infected wound on your flank, it is healed. Just an old scar with the echo of something forgotten. The negative meaning, the pain, somehow unobtainable because you have finally chosen to let it go in the swift river. The injury and the wound set free to be spoken aloud with the tongues of angels in the mouths of man.
When you’re in the zone...
which is the proper mode of being...
which is the mode of Christ’s being...
...the target is huge. The bullseye enlarges to encompass all of you. You suddenly stand at the center of the magical fire. You can’t miss. Shoot.
I hate these bars.
I hate these chains.
I hate history.
Ok, but why hate? Why hate the thing you stand in the middle of?
Why not love? Or at least accept, which is the same thing since by any standard a good definition of love must include acceptance of a thing despite its limitations?
Bars, chains, and history just are. Limitations simply exist as a reality.
When Paul said—“I am exactly where I am supposed to be. How could I be anywhere else?”--
prison doors opened and chains fell off. This is the way to freedom.
When you hate your history you become the most hateful history.
Just ask the Bolsheviks.
Do not miss the transition points:
"This is what the Lord said to me:
Go and stand at the all the gates of Jerusalem.
Say to the people, 'Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath Day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem. Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath. Keep it holy..."
This is a continuation of a previous thought regarding Christ--he whose life is indescribably described where two lines cross— as the invisible fulcrum on which all things pivot. He IS the Sabbath. He IS the doorway.
Jeremiah is making the connection that the Sabbath is an invisible door.
The Lord warns in Jeremiah: Do not miss the invisible transition points--these Sabbath Doorways. See them. Separate them clearly and with devotion: keep them holy.
This inability to maintain an attentive eye towards the relationship between things—to keep it holy—is a constant mistake committed by those who struggle with God. The unseen relationship between two worlds IS ALSO the doorway between two worlds, two realities, two stages of thought, two paradigms, two levels of consciousness, two lives. These transition points are thresholds. They are not simply a tether between one work week and the next or between outside the city and inside the city; they are an invisible door--a quantum wormhole hidden behind the wardrobe. A rift transporting between what is above and what is below, between heart and mind, intellect and faith, faith and works, emotions and reason, material and spiritual, a part and its whole, and a whole and its parts, and so on… They are a doorway to new and more accurate visions of the many worlds you inhabit. In them and through them you discover which world is greater and which is lesser, which world is outside and which is inside, and which world sits within which. And so God does not take lightly the mistake of ignoring the background in lieu of the foreground, or vice versa, ignoring the foreground for the background. You need to see both. Regularly, rhythmically, cyclically—at the frequency of life, you need to see both. But if you never find the doorway between two worlds, then you are forever trapped in one. So what now? How can you find a door you can’t see? For it is only by seeing the doorway as separate from your current reality—by keeping it holy— that you may truly walk through it.
Jeremiah hints the answer to seeing invisible doors is related to not carrying a load--unburdening, letting go-- as you pass through. You can't bring anything with you. He describes these holy transition points as the Sabbath and the city gates, and commands the people not carry a load on or through them respectively.
He warns! He raises his voice and his fists at the city gates! He warns that your constant resistance—your consistent pushing or pulling in one world—allows these vital thresholds to other worlds to slip past unnoticed. If you push-on through, then you miss the keyhole. If, for example, you never put down your load to crossover from the outer world to the inner, then you will miss the threshold; never even realizing your sandaled foot passed for the briefest of moments through something called an inner world at all. In your constant striding from peak to peak, stepping right over the valleys, you will notice neither the heights at which you walk nor the depths beneath your feet. If everything’s resistance against a load, then the Sabbaths fade away and everyday is Monday. And, then, there really is no change. Jeremiah warns: when you carry a load from outside the city to inside, then no matter which gate you cross, you never really enter it. It is only in unburdening the weight of…of whatever, of “being you,” that you may see between, see how things relate, that you may see clearly the invisible door and walk into the city of God.
Apocatastasis: starting over; restoration of an initial state.
Jesus is the alpha and the omega--the omega and the alpha.
The Redeemer bends the straight line of time and experienced reality into a circle or a horseshoe. In this reality, the end and the beginning actually look at each other. They are the closest to each other. And it is the figure of Christ which crosses that divide. It is the rebirth. Jesus tells Nicodemus, “I know how to get where you want to go, but you can’t start from here. Anywhere you are on this circle is further from the place I am, and the place you should be. The closest place to the end is the beginning.”
Except ye become as little children.
The last chapter of Genesis concludes the story of life. It deals with a question. Maybe the ultimate question: Do you trust life? Or do you mistrust life?
For the anxious man, the obvious answer is to be generally suspicious of life because it is out to get him--to hurt and kill him. And his healthy suspicion of life keeps him safe from...well, life. If the suspicious man wants to live--and by "live" he universally means “a long time"--then he will bend all his attention in service of safety, protection, and security so as to remain alive.
So if the anxious man's fundamental view is that life can not be trusted, and since God IS life, then the dark secret beneath his ground is that God can not be trusted. And because this man is made in the image of God, then his God’s fundamental view must obviously be that man can not be trusted.
Again, if you are suspicious of the life God gives you; it is only fitting that God must be equally suspicious of the life you give him.
But wait…that can't be right...because all relationships are built on trust. Truth, trust, is PRECISELY what binds two into one—moreover inextricably defines it: two things bending and flexing, opposites moving and dancing, juxtaposed voices singing in harmony. This is a reality that, technically speaking, can not be broken. The only way to break it is to hide that reality under the darkness of an idea; a thought; an illusion: the only one I can trust is me.
So what is the proper vision of life?
The anxious man claims:
“The best thing I can do with something I have a relationship with (a system, a morality, a polity, a person, a faith, a view of the world, an idea, a God) is use it to tell me whether or not life is behaving as I expect. It extends the vision of my eye over an ever-sweeping arc that pays attention to this suspicious world so I can be a good ruler of the living; rather than a good savior of the dying. My world, and hence God’s world, is made up of rule followers and rule breakers. That’s it. Obviously what I can not see can not be trusted."
If the suspicious man asks himself, What is going on behind my back?
His basic assumption is: It can’t be good.
He is like Jacob in the last chapter of Genesis ordering his beautiful son Joseph to spy on his brothers. He does not trust the world--he does not even trust his own children. "Brotherhood may be a fine dream, Joseph, but brothers need to be watched."
If this is your view of Life; then this is your view of God. And your philosophy of life is a kind of totalitarianism.
But that is not God’s view life... or you.
God is truth. Which means God is trust.
God is life.
Trust life. He trusted you with His.
When Jesus shows up and tumps all your stuff over...you have a choice to make.
I began to see spiritual truths in the old book where I had not seen them before; finding them not in scriptures scrubbed of all grime and paradox, but in dusty tales of donkeys and dragons. How did I not see them before—these glints of gold in the dirt? It’s terrible enough NOT to see. But one sure way to make it more terrible is to think you can. NOT to find an important thing is awful as well. But, again, the only way never to find it is by thinking you already have. I was a self-deluded arborist stupidly smacking my face on the one tree, it so happens, for which I no longer looked. And it was this about myself—this dilution of myself—and these constant bloody noses: because I believed I possessed truth; because I believed I possessed sight; I was like a man with a fatal illness he did not yet know he had; who somehow, unbeknownst even to himself, wound up at the doctor’s office. My brazen ego alone confident of health, but all else below that proud little scrim, everything deeper within and further without the cosmos was unsure: “Oh, it’s nothing doctor. Just a vagueness here in the pit of my stomach. Just an achiness there in sunsets and starlight.”
Maybe I was sick.
There is a part of blindness that is sheer. A part that is utter. But there is another, sicker part that is volitional: not that can’t look, but won’t. And that kind of blindness is a lie. It is a willful blindness. No sane person would choose to blind themselves. But it is precisely what the rational person chooses all the time. They rationalize. As long as there is a good reason to see, they will see anything. As long as there is a good reason NOT to see, they will see nothing. Like the emperor who refuses to see the empty spinning wheel, because to see AT ALL is to admit he was wrong. This kind of blindness is the first step in drying out a heart of flesh. The pharaonic lie: to look down from tyranny onto the burdened and call it ease. It hardens the heart into a stone that gazes upon freedom and calls it betrayal.