Our Father’s Glory: an Introduction

Now lettest thou thy servant depart, Lord, According to thy word, in peace; For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples; A light for revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of thy people Israel.” Zechariah        Luke‬ ‭2:29-32‬


Faces we Remember

“ I heard your father died.” they said to me today.

I thought of the word “ died” .

My father often said “ your God has died”

And today someone said the same thing about him.

“Not everything dies” I said quickly.

When someone dies… or as we now say “ passes”, we remember. While they are alive we spend our time laughing  and complaining and arguing with them . But when they die, when they leave us to silence, we remember.

Some have memorials for those who died. Often services, or “homegoings” shouts of memory are expressed in words or tears or visions in our minds. These are all a gift for us to let us “remember”. Some, who “die” , however, slip away, slip away without anyone remembering. Their bodies are put in paupers graves or burned and contained somewhere in a government-owned yard. Yet, we all know , even the coldest atheist knows, someone once saw their face. Someone could remember them.

When my father died,two weeks ago, he had only a few friends. Mainly he had wives and girlfriends and two daughters to remember him. All his life he imagined he would be remembered. He was not unlike so many of us too who long to be remembered . Yet in his imagination it was grander than most….he wanted to be remembered for being “Lord Makemson” . He wanted to be known as a royal person who had “mastered” it all .

Like a Renaissance  man, he had invented and written and designed and performed to the level of being the ” maestro” of all things. All his close friends would call him “lord M” and so would I . It would be many years until I could call him “Daddy”. He forbid that name, but with every greeting of “Lord M” or “Make the Snake” a impish childlike grin would erupt from his otherwise always “pondering” face. He wanted to be remembered for being very great in the eyes of man.

Looking back ,  I see my father’s face. I see that  I grew up being changed every time I was around my father. Some records in journals record my mature love and others record adult years of childlike anger. A range of words   at this man who thought too much of himself and of whom I had no name to call.

He thought so much of himself that he developed among  all friends an ideology of a system of “one world order”. In the “one world order” ,he was to be the Ruler. The one and only Ruler.There would be no God, no competing “Theocracy” only His “Aristocracy” that of an Artist and Scientist. In his system, only the scientists would have faces with eyes to see. And only what the scientists saw could the artist paint. “No religion !” He would yell.

“But God still sees all and the universe is His canvas,” I would eventually be bold enough to yell back.

“Oh to hell with your God”  he would say for many years.

His face in early years red and fierce later to turn pale and pleading.

” I  will tell your God to go to hell” he would announce .

But God never went where my father told Him to go . He stayed right near my father on the porch waiting for him to come home.

Stone faces

“I still see his face” my sister texted. We last saw him lifeless , still , stonefaced. But it is not the dead alone that are “stone faced”. Many folks in our lives can become static and frozen in our mind. They stay preserved in a scene as we remember when we last saw them face to face . Away from the scene ,  we look at them in media but they don’t ever look back. Though we call the place “social ” , it is only a place where the sound is silence.

Frustrated, we tour faces like children in a hall of a wax museum. We prowl across our computers. Every face stares back , immobile frozen , from some moment far away. We  cannot make it change with a greeting. It seems No matter what you type at it,  it is only an emoji that comes back . Now even  your dearest friends  face remains the same. It’s an immovable face. One thought away from being an enemy  or idol or dead.

But in reality everybody with a  face has a face that  faces a newness every moment. We are all being changed. And though we think , “ah that is so and so “and they are “doing this and that”. At the time we say it , it is past and God. . . the Creator Of time and events … is forever making something new. Still,  we hang , we hold, we hope , that what we looked at a moment ago matches our judgement whether good or bad of someone.

And we proudly say “ oh I knew that all along about them” “yep , they are just. . . “ or “Im happy that they are. .. “ and “went . . and saw and have. . .” We seldom judge rightly. . . . much less than we ought. Much less than God created us to do. It is really because we do not see them face to face

And yet , if we do , if we do see someone face to face, we become so busy with the thing at hand that we do not see them at all. It may be dinner or church or work when we are given the chance to “ see”  . . .But here again  we are always thinking and feeling and talking. We seldom really see . We seldom really hear. We seldom are in a place where it is just us and our neighbor, loving, face to face.

And so if we cannot see our Brother ( or sister) we just might find we are far from a place where we see Our Father as well. We cannot hear or feel or see Our Father. delighting over them or us… delighting over  His children.

Soon they die. And when they “die” we wonder. . . we wonder where they are and where is Our Father in all of this.

Faces that cannot see
So, Since the dawning of Face book, folks have left their life journals and tucked them dusty and forgotten on shelves. Even if we receive journals at Christmas and holidays we now are more distracted to look at Instagram and Facebook. Always we are lured away from the joy of tearing the paper, opening the present and feeling gratitude for the person who thought enough to buy us a little space in the world .

Before us , A sweet little space to record God’s story in us. But , Distracted and wanting, like spoiled children, we quickly toss blank pages aside for the next “posted” thing. Thumbs up and thumbs roll across holiday photos and friends posts of a lives we never ever saw. Of friends we never remember hugging, Of food our families will never taste.

We think we are in a story of time. But deep down we know what we hold  with social media is an illusion . We hold a souvenir of a reality Our Father would want us to really enter and enjoy. Our Father wants us to meet Him with our hearts face to face.

So, Rising up away from the gift of  a journal , we return to “our network” and consider what others  with stone faces on screens  are doing. The journal is blank on the floor. But deep down, though we have seen many faces, we are lonely to see the FACE OF GOD in something, in someone. We want something alive and close. In the “now”  there is not one we know . We barely know ourselves. Somewhere we have lost what God intended for us to keep . To record. To remember….. To tell of His Story …To Remember in a life he has ordained since Before He ordained time.

Faces upon Faces, Posts upon Posts, we become like James says , walking away and forgetting who we are. Everything seems unreal. And when it is far away and unreal, we then become like prodigal sons who have run away from our Father’s face. We don’t even remember His face. We cannot see it smiling on the one who is sitting in front of us , we cannot hear it  we cannot believe it is real.

Our Father, God , who gave us our first blank sheet of paper to describe or draw a reflection of His Goodness waits. Though he seems like a “BabyDaddy” and we his  ‘latchkey children” being raised by a TV screen, there is something real and alive with us as a Father every moment . He has a face we cannot see.

Faces in Books
I sit now before photos and notes. Photographs and journals , as old fashioned and far away as they sound, are the next best thing to books. We all know it to be true when we hold it in our hands. We know something deep and mysterious and real may come from something bland and blank. Paper with ink. Photos with images. As trees ache, so do souls groan, for the axe, the axe of a Holy Hand to yield a better story. . . one with our name on it. One that is Alive.

“Scribbles”! My father thought it “common, trite, and close to barbaric” for me to write in a journal. While , he wrote many “great thoughts” on small spiral notebooks he ridiculed “the common folk ” writing in journals. As well , while he took many pictures, few photographs he admired. Yet often , in the last days we would delight in pictures of his ever thinning ‘European face”.

Busy through the years with “lord M’s” health and home, I did not know at the time what was beautifully unfolding. But now each journal entry, each picture,  like a presents drop in my lap waiting for me to unwrap little clues to the great treasure that was given to my dad.  I only unwrap the clues. The present was a gift only for my father, from my Father in heaven. .

I wish that I had written more clues and situations . I regret that I did not record every discourse and distress, every battle for belief, every tender shared joy of the atheist man and his “Primitive, slave, “ Christian daughter. But most times my entries would be interrupted by another. Mostly ,Jesus would enter between me and my father.  the complaint of ours turn to praise and the hurt of ours turns to health. .

“ I prefer you not disrespect me by bringing your imaginary Messiah around “ my father would say “I do not need him to be in the story of my kingdom”

My pen might dry for a moment. But with a shake soon I see I could bring my father ,” The other” around Jesus at least  in my journal . And when I did it would totally change my mind about my father on that very paper and for a moment I would REMEMBER HIM AS OUR FATHER KNEW HIM. . . for a moment I would see his face as His heavenly father saw His face . And even if , I could not, even if I were to slam my book shut in unbelief, there remained an eye in my heart opened for the impossible. There was the whisper saying ” no eye has seen no ear heard what God had prepared.”

I  begin to write this for my family and For all who call me “family. “But I write it also for any who long to believe for another, for those, like Saint Augustine’s mother ,who prayed thirty tireless years for the salvation of one.  And this is also for ones who do not want to grow weary but write to Our Lord  about their wrestling in hope. And this is for my father, my sister’s father, the writers, to bear patiently with my grammar and to hear what we share.  . a Story. .. A Story of a very GREAT GLORY that Our  Father wants us to see . . FACE TO FACE!

So at the right time, a time when we see Glory in the end was a Glory we never saw in the beginning ,we might Believe Him much more! Yes and Amen there is Something about the way Our Father created us, all of us. We continue though all time to write stories and take pictures.

Perhaps, I said to my father “ there is a story being written about you by God. What if He is not dead but a brilliant writer ? ”.what if He is the most brilliant writer whose story he wants every one to remember ? And what if His story remembered Gives Him Glory ? ( to be continued)

The Glory and the Madman: God has descended into Hell. Part 3

part 3 of a story birthed by a journey of faith with my atheist (now agnostic) father. Subtitle: The Nicene Creed negates Nietzsche.
Previous chapters :

https://vunglaub.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/the-glory-and-the-madman-part-1the-latern/

https://vunglaub.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/the-glory-and-the-madman-part-2-god-is-dead/


friedrich_nietzsche_quote_3

My father has walked and talked in what believers call ” a healing” for three years.It was not a complete healing. The cancer in my father’s bowel has not grown further but has instead , at times ,decreased in size and not gone to new territories in his body. Standing at attention to every report,   brothers and sisters in my church , like the Centurion soldiers  (matt 8:5-10), have prayed and believed with me for my father. And now, weekly on Sunday, we rejoice in my telling of the containment of the cancer  .

As for my father, forgive him Heavenly Father, for he does not know. He is an agnostic. And  he has easily ignored the  divine hand that has held and healed him these three years. Instead, ignorant , he has chosen to work and wine and dine and write plays and poems without interruption . . . without any interrupting  thought of  The Eternal Creator God.

Like many of us who need the same forgiveness , the act of ” living  well” has had a way of interfering with” thinking rightly” about Our God.  Yet ,in a moment, a word from a doctor  jolts believing and unbelieving minds  to desperately long for something miraculous.  We long for the  “Eternal” to extend what is called “terminal” , the “Creator” to fix His created thing. Our thoughts line up like soldiers on mission to find hope. . . . . we look for merciful deliverance from  a terminal end.

it may be 6 months , one more Christmas, the BOWEL cancer has grown ..” we hear.

“It is inoperable.” Dr S said as she crossed her legs, turning  to my father ,with ipad  displaying my fathers latest medical results on her lap.

Bowels and Bathrooms

“The bowels of existence do not speak unto man except as man ” Friedrich Nietzsche

Suddenly,  both  our minds were jolted to thoughts of mortality, the end of life as my father knows it. We left the office to walk down a hall that had grown longer than ever before.
“Am I going to die?” my father asks

” I don’t know when?” I answer (1)

“This may be my terminal point , this Christmas.” my father speculates

“But you know there is an eternal point for you as well”. I offer

“I don’t want to hear that religious fairy tale ! I’d rather my soul live in the bowels of hell than to have to pay homage to another, . . . that God of yours” my father says angrily .

“He is your God too , you just don’t know it yet” I reply as we walk. 

” The bowels of hell my dear. .” my father chants in a kinder tone.

” speaking of bowels “, he smiles as if to apologize for his outburst ” I must use the restroom before we leave”.

My father turns away from me and shuffles  down the long corridor back towards the restrooms at Mayo clinic.

“I’ll wait here ” I say as I sit on a bench .

Waiting here, I think of prayers prayed for . I consider God’s specific answer to specific prayers. We have prayed  for my father to experience the mercy and love of God through Jesus. And yet, I have only thus far watched  my father  turn and spin  with every reaching of the Lord’s hand.

This resistance  has had me so desperate that ,on one Tuesday night, I begged some brothers for prayer again . The dear brothers initiated a prayer for my father that I expect answered.  I expect an answer,  by the power of God, before my father’s earthly departure. One brother in particular, Mr Larry Fussell  ,prayed “may your  Daddy have a glimpse of what hell looks like so he’ll change his stubborn mind about going there” .

After an “Amen”, Mr . Fussell grabbed my arm and said “I just don’t  want to even think about him  going there when Our Father’s got such a better place for us. . . .may Jesus turn him around”.

“i amen that  ” I said to Mr. Fussell.

That night many of us prayed and  tarried for my father to agree with Our Father and so run into the eternally merciful arms of  “Our Father who Art in Heaven” . That was a year ago.

These  prayers prayed for my father remain as a sweet aroma , an incense for my hope filled  soul. When I am with my father, I imagine that this aroma  fills the air around my dad  like a cloud . And like a cloud driven by wind I pray it follows him everywhere.

Then , I pray that the aroma is so strong that   it produces a hunger in  the “hounds of heaven” (2) https://youtu.be/V6hNu8U7NScth that may be released to retrieve my father  back to his Creator, his Father, his Master and his Lord .

Sometimes, I even see these hungry hounds  guarding my father’s feet from the very bowels of hell  . . .AND even chasing them into the “Bowels of Christ”  Then, from  these imaginings  I  rise and say: .

he-descended

“I beseech you from the bowels of Christ , Dad, to think it possible that you may be mistaken (about the bowels of hell”( Oliver Cromwell)

My heart shouts these words as I watch my father come back towards me down the hall.

“Bloody hell! They are cleaning the water closet. I’ve got to use another one”  My spirit of  shout is subdued to a sluggish slur “Ill wait here while you go “I say.

” Here I go” my father turns to another direction ” Here I go , sent not to know for whom the bell tolls, ,, it tolls for me” https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/44107 my father quotes John Donne as he walks by, his finger pointing in the air..

I remain on the bench in the hallway of Mayo Clinic to write this story on my phone. It is triggered by a thought of Christmas.

Many pass by me, each to a destination . Do we really know of the final destinations that Our father has prepared for souls ? That thought is too weighty , so, I think of Christmas . . . . a last Christmas this year .. really will the “bell toll?”  . . naw, I chose to think of memories of last Christmas NOT the fears of this being ” the last Christmas. . . .”

Bowels and Church Bells

Last Christmas eve , my father went to church.  Every Christmas Eve that I can remember my father has consistently set suit , tie and a certain time to go to church. He always chose midnight. There is something strange and compelling about the midnight hour.And, midnight would  always come quickly on December 24th.

When I  recall many December 24th’s , I see my father dressed  in tuxedo at 8pm for cocktail , conversation and caviar. I see him standing as a great orator in the living room ready for discourse with friends . I hear his  intense philisophical bantering about the futility of life and stupidity of having faith . I see how he would use controversy mixed with literary dialogue  to introduce his greatest ideology , the future of His “New World Order”.


His ‘new world order’ was an Order where scientists reign as the governing body. An order where  “true culture and art are the only legal pastimes’. Additionally, he would edict a decree against  the breeding ground of “faith” by mandating a ban on ” the primitive culture, churches and ritual” .

Finally, with eloquent words from Voltaire and other “enlightened men” he would pronounce an Order where “the abomination of the lower class would be culminated by prohibiting all fantasies produced by Faith .”  The only reigning expression of life that he would allow to remain would be  ART and SCIENCE .

Once the company was convinced of the corruptness of religion and the grossness of Faith , he would invite them to toast  with a shot of brandy or schnapps . “to Lord M ” they would say “and the New World Order”.

With toasting glasses ringing like bells , I would know it’s time to slip on my black patent leather shoes for my yearly ride to church.

How upside down it all was. The worship seemed to be for the man, my father.  and the entertainment seemed to be the ritual of the church.

“let us go celebrate the’ philosopy of hypocricy'” his faithful followers would quote my Father as they drove to church on Christmas Eve.


The tradition of midnight candlelight service  captured my fathers senses since he was baptized in 1933.  On that date, the date of his baptism,  my father was first seen by heaven, in a large ornate Anglican church in downtown Jacksonville.

Now,  ever since his  first sniff of incense and his first hearing of church bells and his first sight of a cross pointing downward to his frailty, my father senses have longed for the celebration and majesty displayed in the season.

But last Christmas, last Christmas when invited to church ,my father announced.  . .”I am not going for all that raving about saving, I’m only going for the pageantry of Christmas”  he reminded me 80 years later as he sat weakly on the side of his bed .

Dutifully , I looked at him, setting aside shirt and pants and coat for our traditional trip to church on Christmas Eve.

No religion okay. Religion is the opiate of the masses” he quoted Stalin as he looked back at me with a childlike grin.

“Im going for the sake of art and ART ALONE” he announced with the defiance of an adolesent child

.” I will only go to a church that appreciates art. I will only go to the Anglican or Catholic church where there is some art and culture”

“fine”  I threw his pants across the bed ” Halleluiah !” I shouted displaying a charisma from my Pentacostal church

“Well,You know all art declares there is an Artist” I shouted from the closet looking for a shirt.” I just want you to know I don’t believe in religion either, religion does nothing for my soul,” I say as I sail a red dress shirt across the bed ” I believe in God! and we worship because He is beautiful”. I think beyond my words, . . .  most certainly our worship is God’s artwork for Himself.

My father interrupted my thoughts. “Hells Bells.   . . stop that nonsense, stop being a attorney for that felon God. . . and bring me some champagne that I may lubricate my soul to prepare for this ritual of yours and of all the masses” my father shouted back.

The Bowels of Hell : No Beauty

The Catholic Church where my husband attends is built in the 70’s. It is not ornate or particularly profound in its display of the doctrines of Christ as other sanctuaries in the Catholic faith.  Sometimes, it feels as if the Lutherans were on the building committee. A large wooden carving of The Good Shepherd greets you like a massive metamorphosis of a trunk of a tree outside the church entrance.  The interior is large sanctuary style seating over 1000 facing an altar where a large simple  concrete crucifix hangs before long window panes etched with a vine and grapes.  Stations of the cross sit simply as a back drop around the sanctuary.

Yet, something about Christmas Eve makes the most simple become most sacred. The sancutuary in the Christmas season smells of pine from trees lined across the altar. Candles cast warm glow over faces , even the faces of Jesus in each  stations of the cross glows. Red tapestry drape the altar. Art unflolds in celebration.  Every thing seems to bend or lift to the coming King. And my soul continues to say “He is beautiful”

“we are going to be late if we stop at the liquor store” I explained to my husband.

“He wants a miniature to make it through mass” my husband replied.

We arrived five minutes before mass.  My fathers miniatures of Bushnells Irish wiskey was tucked upright in his pocket. My husband and my daughter proceeded me in entering the sanctuary.

“come on .hurry on pop” I said to my father. He followed behind deliberate and delicate . He walked deliberate because of his age but delicately because he thought himself an artist..

The prelude of the entrance hymn was playing.  A soloist was singing Handel’s Messiah. She served a soprano “who may abide the Day of His coming?who shall stand when He appeareth?. . .” I waited for a response. It is strange how year after year , no one ever answers Handels questions (3) . . . they just sing as if they have the answer.

I genuflect as I enter the pew . I like to bend my knee imagining  that I am right in front of Jesus.  It is my present for him at Christmas. Since a little girl my knee would bend. My knee knew more than my soul knew for many years. But now my soul knows . So the   song surrounded my soul as a Thankyou note for letting it know what the knee already knew . Everything, sound and smell and note ,caused my knee and soul to linger longer than ever before last Christmas eve.

So long did I linger that I felt my father fall against me .  “Bloody Hell” he shouted. His words echoed along the walls and up the ceiling to the etched glass . Most every face  turned.

The soloist stuttered.

Lifting one finger up , my father declared

” well ,bloody hell lets get on with the show”

The soloist continued to sing ” And He shall purify. .” from Handel.

” Why did you have to shout  in church ?” I scowled at my father as we sat . Our flesh sat instead of submitting to the ritual of kneeling to pray. 

“what? ” my father looked impish yet child like.

“Hell” I said.”you shouted bloody hell.” I explained .”  Nevermind” I shook my head and began to sing the assigned hymn. Singing words without my soul, I began to think. . .

Why in the hell would my father shout “hell” and make his life choice “hell” ? Hell. Hell has no art on its walls. “Hell has no song in its sanctuary. Hell is chaos with no center point.  

Hell  is a place void of the Glory of God.

This church, with its order and beauty and song, as  every church, show glimpses of Glory.

Truly all that inhabits the  earth shows hints of the Glory of God.  People with  all their expressions of beauty, in sanctuaries, out of sanctuaries,  only reflect hues of the true beauty of the glory of God.

There is no place where there is a complete void of a glimpse of the glory of God. But Hell…Hell is void of all glory, all beauty.  Hell holds no reflection of the beauty of the Glory of God.  Truly,Hell is “bloody hell” it is “true very true hell”.

In its bowels there is not one song to make the soul bend. not one painting to cause the eye to wonder. There is  not one story to transcend the soul to new thought and new lands. There is probably not one color. All that is hell bound will be separated from light and life and love. It will not be “a hell of a place” but a “place of pure Hell. “

For there is no beauty in the bowels of hell.

THE BOWELS OF HELL: NO END

My thoughts fired like bullet upon bullet through three hymns. And my father and I continued to worship together in the church. Soon together the Christian and the Atheist  said the Nicene Creed  .

“and He descended into hell”.

I looked over at him when we said “hell” yet again. Together.

We smiled and then kept reading. I  soon tucked the creed in the hymnal and said it by rote memory so that I could pray with my spirit . Praying in the Holy Ghost that my father chose another destination..

My prayer was interrupted as I thought how the church looked at him when he screamed “bloody hell” . I thought how most of  the  church folks had their bodies turned toward him as he shouted.

How quickly they turned from the altar to a man in mortal distress. But they did not know he was in distress. Can they really recognize the hell bound. Might the screams” hell ” send them tarrying and falling and pleading like we did the night my church prayed. What would happen if there is no one to plead for my father?  If my church or this church no longer prays?

I returned to pray ” Don’t let him go there Abba Father. Don’t let him go to hell .How awful it is and he does not know” I pray.” And Father ,why did you send your son there?” I pondered

” I wouldn’t even send my father in all his ways there for a day. . . and you. . .   . and you oh Father  sent your son”

On the third day He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father(interceding for my father)

Some Church folks don’t use the word ” Hell.” They soften old King James junkies with words like Sheol, and Gehenna. And they  speak of a place where there are two levels one for the righteous and one for the damned.

In the Bible, the one person most talked about, by Jesus, for going to  heaven ,as a destination, is the man named Lazarus. And the  One most examined for going to  hell, as a destination , is the anonymous “rich man”. These  two men oppose one another in a sad story of Love consummated by Lazarus ,  and Love pleaded for by the rich man.

The place of hell and the  design of hell is often debated. But one thing is certain, Jesus last sermon was preached there.  The Word declares that Jesus, God’s son, descended  to preach in this place  and to capture for  himself those righteous souls separated from their body . And from there he  sent the unrighteous to an eternal fire and those trusting in His righteousness to an eternal life. To the righteous he declared the sting of death forever gone to the unrighteous the sting of Death to forever to be felt.

“And sits at the right hand of the Father from whence he will come again to judge the quick and the dead .  And His kingdom will have no end”

Even before  our birth we  were created for eternity : but a choice remains for either an eternity of LIFE or an eternity of DEATH. This eternity is buried  in our hearts .From the position of life God has a place without end called ” heaven”. Yet from the position of death there is a place without  end called ” hell.” .

“Holy” is what divides the road. It is the stop sign in the forked road of heaven and hell. The roads lead either to a final verdict of “holy”   “Without sin” in heaven OR a final verdict  of the”unholy” “dammned”  in hell .

To think it simply ,  life along the roads in heaven are  a consummation of every longing  while life along roads in Hell are an intensifiying of every regret . And all of this in an Always, Forever, Everpresent State

The mortal body  is but dust in the road as the soul begins its course to the doors of either heaven or hell . At the door,  all will either encounter the Loving  embrace of their Father who has made them “holy” by His Son  going before them  Or they will encounter  the complete and final loneness of self ,separated,  weeping  longingly with no one going before them to make them “right” for His embrace. There is no escape, both places are the endpoint of an endless existence that encounters its Creators judgement . .a judgement previously encountered on the cross by Christ or a judgement encountered on the individual at the end of his mortal life.

The BOWELS OF HELL: NO RESSURECTION

“and we believe in one holy (Catholic) church , the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection of the dead.” the Nicene Creed

My father and I said ,together , the greatest promises of our Maker. We recited “we believe in , the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection of the dead”. The creed ends with a declaration of the proposal of God. The Proposal cries as it did in the garden for His first children.” I love you and I have prepared a place for you” It shouts. It is a display of love more glorious than any love song or story or art or church or person. It is the place where every longing for beauty and love is fulfilled. It is where you will come face to face with the one who Loved you first. The One who has rescued you from hell and resurrects you into His presence in Heaven.

“Amen” we said. “So be it” many pastors translate. I thought of this as my father put his book in pew. So be it. So be everything my father  said last Christmas in his unbelief. Have Mercy Lord Jesus on my fathers unbelief. Have Mercy in this Year of Mercy.( 5)

The memory closes as I see my father come down a different corridor from the one he had gone.

I go to meet him “Where did you go? The bathroom was the other way. . .isn’t that where you said you were going” I ask

“yes, I don’t know what happened.  Some how I got turned around but where I went was much better” my father continues “there is always a better place “

“yes there is always a better place” I reply “Amen”

 

  1. bloody” was a common used word, type of cursing in british english since  1670 . implying” completely entirely, truly” not emphasizing blood however german/ Dutch may indicate intensifier related to God’s blood making the noun it modifies most true. Similarly, Austrailian usuage and indication for use when saying “Bloody struth” meaning “without a doubt , the truth”.
  2. And it is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgment Hebrew 9:27
  3. The Hound of Heaven https://g.co/kgs/qQMVdS.  https://youtu.be/V6hNu8U7NSc
  4. Nicene Creed http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/nicene.htm I believe in one God the Father Almighty,Maker of heaven and earth,And of all things visible and invisible:
    And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God,
    Begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light,
    Very God of very God,Begotten, not made,Being of one substance with the Father,
    By whom all things were made;Who for us men, and for our salvation came down from heaven,And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary,
    And was made man,And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
    He suffered and was buried,And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures,And ascended into heaven,And sitteth on the right hand of the Father.
    And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead:
    Whose kingdom shall have no end.And I believe in the Holy Ghost,
    The Lord and giver of life,Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son,
    Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified,
    Who spake by the Prophets.And I believe one Catholick and Apostolick Church.
    I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.And I look for the Resurrection of the dead,And the life of the world to come.Amen.
  5. 2016 was designated the Year of Mercy by The Church. All year , everywhere you can hear the Lord cry ” listen to me you stubborn of heart, you who are far from righteousness; I bring near my righteousness it is not far off and my salvation will not delay. I will put my slvation in you For My Glory  Isaiah 46:12-13 

The Glory and the Madman: Part 2 God is Dead?

God Is dead Yellow Edited

Originally written Feb 1  2014

“why must you pose as an criminal attorney for a dead man?” my father asked as we drove to his radiation treatments

“What do you mean” I asked.

“I mean God is dead” he said.

“Have I killed Him? ” I asked recalling a line from Nietzsche’s madman.

“No He is a felon.  He did it to Himself” he replied.

What became a saying among the seeker , an artillery for the atheist and a point of repulsion for the Christian has now become a common phrase for many. Popularized currently by counter arguments that state “God is not dead” in movies and songs, many have become familiar with the phrase “God is dead”.  The phrase itself is birthed in  a nest of questions posed in Nietzsche’s “The madman”.  It is a conclusion that erupts from an encasement of hypocrisy and skepticism.  It is a rebellious creature of the soul for the unbeliever. And it is  likewise a rebellious aspect of the soul of a believer who doubts . There is a strange blunt honesty  in these three words that rivets like the three words of Pontius Pilate when he cried “What is truth?”

Listen to the angst in the agitated soul who sees God as dead. The angst is not so much from watching  God’s death from an abortion of His own being in the cosmos . Nor is it  a view of the suicide bombing of a Deists galaxy of belief, But ,rather it is written  as an interrogator investigating the crime scene of a murder.

Where is God gone? he called out.  “I mean to tell you!! We are all his murderers! But how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the whole horizon? What did we do when we loosened this earth from its sun? Whither does it now move? Whither do we move? Away from all suns? Do we not dash on unceasingly? Backwards, sideways, forewards , in all directions?  Is there still an above and below? Do we not stray, as through infinite nothingness? Does not empty space breathe upon us? Has it not become colder? Does not night come on continually, darker and darker? Shall we not have to light lanterns in the morning? Do we not hear the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? do we not smell the divine putrefaction? For even gods putrefy? God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him!  

I looked over at my father, I had grown tired of defending God.  I had grown tired as I pulled up to the Cancer Center.  My readiness and my answer for the hope I carried within me felt depleted.  I said “go ahead , go to the check in and I will meet you after I park”.  He smiled as a  boy who had first won a fight with his mother, Impish yet naive.  He did not know of the havoc over his soul  in heavenly places.

Perhaps, Frederick N and my father, Lord M have killed God with their minds.  Their minds bent on logic and science as  the measurement of the possible life of one called “God”, extinguished the possibility by probability. And yet, both probability and possibility, are merely by products of a Creator of all things.  For the atheist to cling so solemnly to Nietzche’s cry is in itself a cry of contradiction . How foolish to say He is dead and at the same time so claim Him as having existed . Declaring His dead  existence only limits His scope of existence. It sets His existence in a time frame not in Eternity.. 

But what of the Christian.? What of me? Weeping and moaning in a parked truck calling to God in complaint of his creation, my father? Has not both the saint and the sinner killed Him in our minds as we reduce the extent of His existence  in all things.  We say” He is over all things” and “all things are under His feet” from His very words.  And yet, we reduce Him to an inactive God : a bellhop for desires,  a life raft in trauma, or ever so distantly . .  a corpse.  Might we be jarred by His voice in Job to hear Him say:

Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man I will question you and you make it known to me ‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding,  Who determined its measurements . .  have you commanded the morning since your days began and caused the dawn to know its place that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth. Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home?.(various Job 38)

I got out of the truck . The air was tenderly crisp. The flowers were budding in the front of the center. Creation was declaring a beauty.  And in the beauty was a cry of Infinite Being . The cry of one who does not need an attorney for He represents Himself . He is saying “I am not Dead. Even though you try to kill me. Even when you say I have not heard. I have not acted , I say .  I AM.”  I AM. The breeze seemed to whisper “I AM”.

And Job replied “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you: Therefore I repent”. And so I too repent  of killing you , limiting you in my mind FATHER.

to be continued

 

 

 

The Wanderer

God sends His children in the field to invite other children to come through the gate. We are children crying out to the old and broken “here, here is the Shepherd. Fall into His arms! He will carry you through the gate.

????????

Mr. R is a friend . He is a delightfully brilliant friend. He is a tall lanky elderly man . He tells many tales of his travels and his investigations as a lawyer. Spry and savvy in his 80’s , his conversations are sharp and roll from one adventure to another. They roll without pause as if he had eternity to tell them. He waits patiently for ears to hear him. He lives like he knows about eternity . He likes the thought of it but has not glimpsed it . He reminds me of a child who has read about eclipses but never seen one.

He knows me as a “good christian woman”. No matter how often I tell him there is no one good, “No Mr R, ,no not one is good.” , He calls me by the same title. I have grown to accept that He may have a miraculous glimpse of Jesus when he sees “good”. Though that be true, and all the evidence of heaven would show that we are drawn to the goodness of God that we see manifest in the believer, this lawyer would go against such evidence. He would prefer to give credit to me.

“The Jews say this. . . and the Muslims say this. . . and you Christians say this. . .”

But what do you say Mr. R.?

“I say. . . well I say I am a ‘free thinker and a wanderer”

Is that so dear Mr. R. Where are you wandering to?

He laughs

‘Think freely about that my friend ” I say.

Well. . .. Mr R proceeds to relate stories of the past when beatniks set both tone and cadence for the thinkers and the wanderers.

Last week, Mr. R” wandered” via ambulance into the hospital where I work. He called it “chance” that I saw his name. I called it “divine”. My visit to his room he welcomed. Though ill, he continued to speak of details of his condition with great knowledge and eloquence.

Mr R. likes prayer. He likes to hear things I say to God and then interrupt my speaking . He usually asks “Is that so?” when I pray a declaration about the character of God. So, I asked on this day “Mr. R can I pray for you before you go to surgery?”

“if you would like to” Mr R stated.

“I would ” I said . Christians often pray for unbelievers and “wanderers”. We usually do it behind their back in secret places. God used Mr. R. to teach me to be unashamed to pray to God in the presence of all.

” I would like to call on the God who rules over all things. . . all things like surgeons and pacemakers and bleeding times”

“Well you can call on a guy like that for me”

“I will”. I proceeded to pray ready for Mr. R’s predictable interuption

“I don’t mean to interrupt but lets say this God exists. . . I don’t think He has much dealings with me because I don’t have much dealings with Him.”

My heart melted. I heard the cry of a man who did not know he was loved by God. I felt Jesus weep. “But Mr R. He is intimately concerned with you. He is considering everything about you. ”

“How do you know this? You cannot see this?”

“I can. It is Jesus. He is the image of the invisible God . The God who made every cell of your being . Lots of what we trust we do not see. . . ”

“I don’t think I will commit to any of that. That belief stuff. . . How bout you being here to visit that is enough” He looked up and smiled as if sending me off.

“Me visiting is not enough you know. ”

“it is for me” Mr R said.

Children want friends to come into the playground. They invite the ones they like and the ones Daddy says “invite” . But not all come. They know it costs much and that they don’t deserve to be invited.They do not see that He paid the price.

When these friends dont join us we often cry. I ran home to Daddy, Abba, Father. I cried and cried and asked if He would go get Mr. R. . I think “he will only come to your voice” I said. Speak louder Lord, For he is old and his ears are dull.

i prayed :”father remember his affliction and his wanderings , the wormwood and the gall!. . .. My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me .  And this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. . The steadfast Love of the Lord never ceases , His mercies never come to an end: they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  “The Lord is my portion” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him”  For the Lord is good to those who wait for him , to the soul who seeks Him.  and It is good that I should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord for Mr R.” Lamentations 3:19-26. Amen.