Month: March 2014
In this moment, nurse
we beg you most Holy God,|
to bring some holiness into our lives.
Scorch our souls
with the desire to love the world into a better place.
Give us the courage
to follow not our dreams, but yours.
Clear us a path
through the inevitable turmoil of change,
for faith in You causes change, Glorious Change—
change of heart,
change of purpose,
and ultimately, change of culture.
Give us new, expanded ways
to see and serve our families,
and our world.
We pray in the name of the one who serves us all,
Jesus Christ. Amen.
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see through a mirror, find darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known.
Thought for the Day: “Gabriel, generic wake up! Wake up!” The voice kept calling my name, illness louder and louder. A bony finger was poking me in my side. “Sara! For the bazillionth time, please cut that out!” I screamed as I opened my eyes, because I awakened not to Sara, but to something I could barely believe. I must still be dreaming, I thought.
“Hello, my friend and brother,” he said.
“Josh? Is it you? Am I dreaming?” I spurted.
“You’re not dreaming my friend. What is a dream but another reality anyway?” Josh laughed. “Wake up!” he commanded, and then we were sitting on a bench in a massive park. At first I didn’t recognize the surroundings. It was a brisk spring day, and people were hurrying by. As I looked around, I noticed the intricate architecture of the Gilded Age and those first skyscrapers being built. There were women carrying parasols and dressed in extravagant gowns, men wearing complicated suits, horses and carriages and newly electrified streetcars sauntering by. Immigrant workers scrambled up multi-story buildings like ants. The smell of their tenements nearby soured the air, a reminder that inside the gilded cage, all was not well. Way to be obvious, Josh, I thought.
I hadn’t been here in a very long time, but I was too emotionally wrecked and physically beat up from all the reality jumping to talk to him about his plans. We sat silently on the bench until I was finally able to mutter a soft, “Where have you been?” Obviously dejected, I said “I mean, I’m glad to see you—shocked to see you, but I’ve got to be honest, I’m also more than a little angry with you, Josh! Everything’s a mess! Do you have any idea what Lou has been doing? You were his balance. With you gone, he’s been absolutely uncontrollable, and many realities are much worse for his wear. I went to the humans, as you did. I thought I could show them they were slaves to their own minds, to their own corrupt ideals. Lou found me—actually, Sara found me, before I could really get things moving. I’d just formed a pretty good group of radicals, too.”
“He sent Sara after you?” Josh seemed surprised. “Youch, that’s pretty low—your own sister as your bounty hunter. You have to admit though, it’s classic Lou!” Josh smiled gently and put his hand on my shoulder. “I find it intriguing you’re so upset about all of this. You know the way things work. Everything is temporal while we’re in it, everlasting while we’re not. Do you remember that lesson? That’s why we can come someplace like this, even though it’s a period long gone for some, still to come for many.” That’s why going to see the humans and trying to awaken them didn’t work for either of us, Josh thought. “I’ve realized something, Gabe,” Josh said. “I’ve learned that trying to change things actually does create change, but that change is subtle, and also much more pervasive than we thought. When the humans killed me yesterday…”
“Yesterday!” I screamed. “Josh! That was thousands of years ago!”
“Huh. Really!” He shrugged his shoulders. “Proves my point then, doesn’t it? For me, that was yesterday. And by the way—getting killed in a timeline? Painful. Truly, brother. Try not to get killed. You’ll just wake up in another reality with a splitting headache and a bad case of amnesia. The humans never get over their amnesia. For us, it fades after a bit—hours? Days? Years? Who knows? The whole getting killed thing was my fault anyway. I pushed them too hard. They weren’t ready in that reality. But here’s what’s interesting, my friend: In this gilded age? Everything is about to change. and in other ages too, everything has already changed.”
I was so confused. I thought I understood this whole multi-dimensional being thing, but I didn’t like Josh’s implication here. “Are you saying that everything you did in another timeline, actually changed this timeline, instead of the one you were in?” I asked, somewhat disappointed in what that implied. “No, you’re still thinking too linear, Gabe,” he replied. “What I’m saying is that whatever we do in one reality affects not only that reality, but also every other instance of that reality. Our actions create an infinite number of ripples throughout the universe. Every ripple is unpredictable and impermanent, yet in some way, every possibility is always being played out, eternally. So while you and I might not think we’ve made a difference, we’ve made a tremendous difference. Everyone makes a difference, whether human or one of the other beings that populate the mulitverse. It’s not all up to us, the way Lou thinks, Gabe. Come with me and I’ll show you what I mean.”
We stood up and began walking toward Hell’s Kitchen, one of the worst tenements in the city. The sun was going down, and as the gaslights began to flicker on, I noticed the shadows of things that never were and already are, the memories of the future dancing on the walls of New York City.
To be continued…
Prayer: May the effects of my actions bring peace, love, and understanding to the far reaches of reality, while also giving me compassion, hope, and solutions for my hungry, homeless neighbors here and now. Amen.
Scripture: Proverbs 29:22
An angry person stirs up dissension, decease
and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.
Thought for the Day: Lou shuffled some papers on his desk, health not really doing anything other than shoving things around pretending he was busy. The truth was, he was distracted. Hannah had let him know she’d sent Gabe into the void, and while Lou figured that would be the outcome, he wasn’t necessarily happy about it. He loved Gabe and just wanted him to be part of the family again. And if he was going to be totally honest with himself (honesty was not Lou’s best feature), he wasn’t sure he could handle another permanent loss.
When Josh left them all, Lou was devastated. The two of them had been constant companions their entire lives so, when Josh suddenly decided to live in the human world, Lou was shocked. When Josh never returned, Lou’s sorrow was almost unbearable. Almost. In response, Lou simply buckled down and locked any emotional attachments in the depths of his psyche. He turned up the heat on his mission to make the humans his loyal subjects, and eventually, to gain control of the entire multiverse and remake it in his image: strong, organized, and cultured. At least, that’s the way he saw himself.
Lou was shaken from his thoughts by a knock on the huge mahogany door of his office. Carved with intricate patterns of strange, fantastic creatures surrounding an enormous tree, the door was more like a portal between realms than a door between two rooms. As with everything Lou did, this was a calculated move. Plus, the door actually could act as a portal between realms if he wanted it to—if he needed it to. “Come in,” Lou said. Sara walked into Lou’s office and calmly sat on his desk facing him. She took his hands in hers, looked at him intensely, and then, in one unbelievably fast and elegant motion, she grabbed him out of his seat and tossed him over her shoulder. Lou flipped over and slammed into his office door.
“NO! Shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, SHOOT!” Sara screamed. That is NOT what I meant to happen, she thought. Distraught after she found out about her brother’s banishment, her anger clouded her thoughts. She reacted, unthinking, simply wanting to take a swing at Lou, at Hannah, at anyone and everyone around her. As is typical when we act out of rage, things did not go as planned. Instead of banging Lou up a little, Sarah threw Lou at the one object in the office he wouldn’t bounce off bruised and battered: his door, the portal to everywhere. Lou simply went through the door and landed—where? Where would Lou go, Sara wondered. She sat down in his oversized throne of an office chair and looked out his window, frustrated and pissed at herself (and the universe), and had herself a good, long cry.
To be continued…
Prayer: When the world frustrates me, Lord calm my soul. When rage overcomes me, Lord calm my soul. When I feel helpless against the systems that enslave us, Lord calm my soul, for I know that acting out in anger only makes things worse. Amen.
Scripture: Based on Psalm 19:1-4
The heavens declare the glory of the Supreme Consciousness; the skies proclaim the work of its creative imagination. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. They have no speech, cialis they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the worlds, malady their words to the ends of the multiverses.
Thought for the Day: Hannah handed me a glass of icy cold sweet tea as we sat on her unreasonably comfy loveseat. “I’d never met a human before, hospital you know,” Hannah said softly. “I knew they looked like us, but I had no idea the depth of their curiosity, or their abilities. You know they can do everything we can do, don’t you, Gabriel?”
“I realized that after living with them a few weeks. Some of them are more fully aware than others, but none of them realize their full potential. Not a single one. How is that possible, Hannah?” I asked. “How do you completely forget who you are? Whose you are? How can you not sense there is more going on than the physical?” Hannah sat next to me and took my hand in hers. “I know what you think, Gabe,” she said softly. “You think Lou has done something to them, or that the Supreme Consciousness has done something to them to make them forget. You think they’re slaves. But the truth is, nobody has done anything to them, including themselves. They aren’t being manipulated. Lou has certain ideas about how the multiverse should be organized, but he’s not playing games. He might be afraid of them—afraid of their violence. Lou is just trying to keep us all safe, sweetie,”
“I’m not falling for that old line, Hannah,” I said, dropping her hand and standing up in a minor act of rage and rebellion. “Lou uses the humans—all the humans, on the thousands of human planets in the millions of human realities. He wants to be the Supreme Consciousness, and recreate the multiverse in his image—with him as King and everything else subservient to the all-powerful Lou.”
She sat quietly for what seemed an eternity, although it was even more difficult to sense the passing of time in the needle than it was in the garden. Seconds, days, centuries—none of them mattered here. So we sat in silence until she finally said, “Lou has been trying to make a point, and he will not stop until he makes his point. I used to think he was right—that there was a hierarchy to the universe, with the being of all being, Him/Her, the Supreme Consciousness at the top, then us, then everything else, which we all felt was beneath us and worthless. But when the human came to see me—confused, frightened, yet so full of imagination and creativity, it suddenly hit me: none of us are different. No matter the species, we are all part of the Supreme consciousness—and this means Lou, too, Gabe. I know this sounds ridiculous, but Lou’s convinced the humans have the ability to destroy the entire multiverse. He thinks keeping them in check is the only way to avoid the end of—well, the end of everything.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” I said, stunned. “The only reason the humans seem so violent—okay, are so violent, is because of what he’s been doing to them! Doesn’t he see that? He manipulates and lies to them, and gets them to do the most horrific things to each other, to their planet, to all creation. It just makes the rest of us want to help them more. What about Josh? How come he couldn’t talk any sense into Lou? How come the humans wouldn’t accept him? He was trying to explain everything to them, to snap them out of their sleep. What happened, Hannah?”
She put her tea down and walked over to the window, looking over the eternal plain. She picked up her long mop of hair and tied it in back of her head, which made her hair seem suddenly much shorter. Had it changed length as she tied it up? She still had more magic in her than she let the rest of us realize. I joined her at the window and watched the beams of the sun gently paint the fields and garden below in purples, golds, crimsons, greens and blues, a vibrant pastel masterpiece. “Look at that, Gabe,” she said. “Do you really think anyone can control that? Existence is much more complicated than even we can imagine, much more independent than we imagine, yet also much more connected and intertwined than we imagine. No action happens in a vacuum. Every move you or I make, every activity in the human world, and every exploding and birthing star, planet, galaxy and multiverse is connected with everything else, from the leaf on a tree in the garden, to the single cells that combine to form complicated, living creatures. It’s the idea of separation that really keeps the humans in trouble, and that isn’t an idea any of us put into their minds, Gabriel.” She turned away from the window, took my hand and led me to a doorway I hadn’t noticed before. “You want to think the Supreme Consciousness is in control, or that Gabe is in control. But what if controlling something actually means letting it go?” She asked, as she pushed me through the doorway and I began falling upward, spiraling out of control towards what looked like the thick, black sludge of space. Banished, I thought. They’ve banished me to the vast nothingness.
Hannah sat on her couch and poured the rest of Gabe’s tea into her glass, then finished the drink in one gulp. She put the glass down, folded her hands in her lap, and looked out her window, which now showed a vast, dark emptiness, and Gabriel, gently spinning away.
To be continued…
Prayer: I beg to hear Your voice calling to me, Mind that is all mind, Soul that is all souls. Please wake me up—wake us all up, to the beauty, power, and awe of everything that surrounds us. And in our awakening, may we find humility enough to stop putting ourselves at the center of the multiverse, and instead recognize the glorious love that powers everything. Amen.
Thought for the Day: Someone was poking me in the side. “Sara! Would you please stop doing that!” I yelped as I returned to the needle. “Not this time, generic sweetie!” Hannah said buoyantly. Her big, beaming smile made me laugh. “Hello, Hannah,” I said as she helped me off the floor. I had to admit, I wasn’t that upset to see her. Hannah was a lovely being. There was no vengeance in her, just loyalty and a desire to do her job well. She had been our teacher, mother, and friend. Her methods were brilliant in their subtlety, and softened by her round, buoyant face, icy blue eyes that pierced through our souls, and that mess of curly, mostly blonde hair mopping across her forehead and hanging down the length of her curiously long torso. That hair seemed ready to explode into complete pandemonium any second. She taught us everything Lou wanted us to know, and everything the Boss wanted us to know, but somehow, by the time she was done with us, we all ended up working for Lou.
“I’m somewhat surprised to see you back here, sweetie,” Hannah quipped with a wink.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked.
“Well,” she responded, “it’s just that if anyone was going to make it out of Lou’s grasp, my faith was on you. You were gone a long time. A lot has changed in five years.”
“Really?” I asked. “It doesn’t look like anything has changed. Lou’s still plotting to take over the universe, and that’s still the most insane thing I’ve ever heard. He’s still manipulating the humans and using them as his personal army of unconscious, unwittingly willing counterparts, and that’s still the most abusive thing I’ve ever heard. What’s changed?”
“I’ve changed, sweetie. Two years ago one of them found their way here. I don’t know how, but I suspect our real boss had something to do with it. Subtlety, you know? That’s always been Her/His way.” Hannah paused and closed her eyes for a second, then she took my hand and the next thing I knew, without walking any stairs or taking an elevator, we were at the point of the needle in her office. “I wish you’d teach me how you do that,” I said. She smiled gently and looked out the panoramic windows across the entire garden and valley, silent and contemplative. I’d never seen Hannah like that before.
I’d always been fascinated with Hannah’s ability to sort of “poof” from one place to another. Some of the others could do that as well—contort space and time to appear wherever (and whenever) they wanted. That was not one of my gifts. If I wanted to travel, I had to do it just like the humans, by physically moving from point A to point B. Fortunately, people like Hannah could take others with them on their journeys, so many of my kind had careers as couriers, sort of transports for beings instead of packages. The problem was that Lou often used these gifted beings to move the humans around without their knowledge, which had caused the humans to create all sorts of wild stories about flying saucers and aliens. Of course, in a way, I suppose we were the aliens. We were certainly alien to the human race any longer, although there was a time they had forgotten when we all lived, worked, and even worshipped together.
But those days were long in the past, and forever in the future.
To be continued…
Prayer: Lead me home, Lord, to a world of imagination and creativity, where we spend our time exploring and learning, rather than killing and fighting. Help us realize there is more to life than meets the eye, and please God, help us wake up and stand against the very human forces that abuse and control us every day. Amen.
Scripture: Matthew 3:10
The ax is already at the root of the trees, remedy and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
Thought for the Day: As we stood outside the needle I noticed how much it’s shiny reflectiveness made it seem like a tear in the fabric of space-time, as if a lightning bolt thrown by the hand of mighty Zeus ripped it’s way across space and time, and finally landed in the garden. Our garden was certainly ripped apart.
Inside Hannah’s needle there was another universe, an entirely different realm. Entering the needle wasn’t simply like walking in the front door of an interstate gas station. That’s a different atmosphere. In the gas station, the soul-sucking fluorescent lights and the amalgamation of odors (all of them offensive), was almost always jarring after hours on the road. Entering the needle was nothing like that, but it was even more disquieting. It was absolutely silent in the needle. No ambient noise, no chirping crickets, just you and your noisy thoughts.
There were no benches in the anteroom, and no decorations—just a sleek, metallic, gently upwardly curving nothingness, lit by a small sliver high up the cone. I couldn’t tell whether the light was natural or unnatural. Sara looked at me, took both my hands in hers, and quietly said, “I have to go. I’m sorry, but I hope Hannah brings you back to us. I love you, Gabe. Get better.” She was so sincere. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I am better. You’re the one who’s sick. So instead I said nothing, gave her a hug full of brotherly love, and watched as the door slid closed behind her.
I sat down on the polished steel floor, leaned against the wall, and waited. This was Hannah’s first step, making you sit in solitary until she thought you were worn down enough to be trained. I had been hoping we could skip this, because even when I was a kid I could wait in here forever. Hannah always had to come get me. I could imagine another reality and truly believe I was there (and perhaps I was), until I either chose to return, or someone in my main timeline shook me out of it. So I could spend hours in Hannah’s waiting room. I liked to wait. Every time I went to see Hannah, she had to shake me back into the needle. She hated my ability, because it meant I didn’t brainwash as easily. Knowing the fabric of reality is as thin as a hair makes taking any single timeline seriously difficult. Even while I was with the humans, I couldn’t really know if it was “real” or “other real.”
I often wondered what was happening on my alternate timelines while I wasn’t there. Were my other selves getting into trouble, or behaving better than I had ever behaved? And if there were an infinite number of me, doing an infinite number of both right and wrong things, would that mean that ultimately, everything was okay, no matter what I did, because somewhere else I would be doing the opposite? Do my selves cancel each other out? Or are those infinite copies of me, in an infinite number of other realities, suspended in action while I’m conscious somewhere else? Maybe Sara was right. Maybe I am broken. Because all I can think is, what is reality other than what we pretend it to be?
To be continued…
Prayer: Guide us to another reality, God of all realities. Use us and create a reality of love, peace, mercy, and compassion. Most Holy Reformer, form us a world where fighter jets don’t exist and people care for each other out of the deep, true love given gracefully from You, through us, to everyone. Amen.
Scripture: Psalm 24:3
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
Thought for the Day: The sight of Hannah’s tower in the distance broke me out of my somewhat wistful reminiscence. Sara’s hand trembled in mine as we walked out of the garden, pilule through the hangar, buy and across the plain toward the monolith Hannah called home, health office, church, school. Her lair was no medieval stone tower, like the kind attached to a castle. Hers was timeless and sleek, like a giant, shiny steel sewing needle plunged into the ground at an impossible angle, so reflective it nearly disappeared into the environment. It was as cold and unmoving—unmovable in fact, as Hannah.
“Thanks for coming with me, sis. Also, thanks for bringing me back to this mess. It’s just, you know, fantastic to be back here, about to be brainwashed into compliance” I said with all the sarcasm I could muster. Sara looked down at the ground, and I thought for a moment she was crying. Then she said, “You know Gabe, you brought this on yourself. What did you think you were doing? Rallying the humans? Leaving your job? I think maybe you got a little full of yourself and decided to take matters into your own hands. That’s not our job. Our job is just to follow orders!” She was clutching my hand harder, and it felt like the talons of a Falcon ripping into my skin. An angry Sara was not a good thing.
“I think you’ve forgotten who we swore an oath to. It wasn’t Lou,” I remarked. “Our job, as you call it, used to be to inspire—to whisper beauty gently into the ears of other creatures so they would dare to dream in unimagined colors. So they would dare to create the impossible, so they would see beyond the four dimensions that keep them imprisoned in a sliver of reality. So they would wake up and take their rightful place in the multiverse, co-creators, not cattle.”
“You sound like Josh,” Sara said, letting go of my hand. “And like him you put too much faith in the lower creatures. They ignored him, why would they pay attention to you?”
“They’re not lower creatures, Sara!” I could barely maintain my calm. “They were created from the same place as you and I, in the nurseries of the stars. They have a divine claim, just like us. They’ve just been kept from pursuing theirs. Yeah, some of it is their own fault—they can be greedy, vicious, untrustworthy. But you and I both know their current situation is as much our fault as theirs. They’re in Lou’s grasp, and they don’t even know it. It’s hard to fight back against something you don’t even realize is controlling you.”
Before Sara could reply we heard the loud, shrieking scream of Vultures circling overhead. We looked up and realized we were at the needle, at Hannah’s, and the door was open. Hesitantly, I took a deep breath and we walked inside.
To be continued…
Prayer: I pledge my life to You, Holy and loving God. Lead me through the trials of everyday, granting me patience, mercy, and wisdom, as a reflection of your righteous nature which flows through every one of us. Amen.
Scripture: Isaiah 9:2
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
Thought for the Day: I remember years ago in the garden. Josh sat cross-legged, stuff hands in his lap, levitating over the ground—just a few inches, but enough to impress the other kids. He was the image of serenity, and he could connect just like that, without so much as thinking about it. Sit down, close his eyes, and click he was completely tuned in. We all crossed our legs, put our hands together, and closed our eyes too. Soon, I was enveloped in what I can only describe as love. An almost unbearable love—complete, non-judgmental, a love that is as happy to let go as it is to hold on, a love that compelled me to just sit and be, a love that was active with or without my cooperation. In those moments I more than understood. In those moments, I simply was, and it was glorious. That ability has saved my sanity more than once over the eons. That ability ultimately saved Josh from a torture I still find unbelievable in its cruelty.
Back when we were children I couldn’t sustain the connect for very long, though. None of us could then. I remember coming back to this consciousness, to this reality point, to find only Josh and Lou were still deep in levitating meditation. The rest of us would sit silently and wait as they both returned to this plane, smiles on their faces, their bodies all glowy and their minds quiescent. Josh took Lou’s hand and stood up. We all joined hands in a circle and started to sing as we finished the days meditations and prepared for studies, the Light of the Universe shining throughout the sanctuary, a literal enlightenment in song and prayer.
Those were the real times of magic, when anything we imagined was possible, when we were working together as a single unit with a single purpose. Those were the times before now, long before now. I couldn’t believe how much the Sanctuary had changed. At least the garden was the same. Not that it was possible to affect the garden. The One made sure that could never be destroyed. Not that Lou hadn’t tried. That first rebellion was worse than the worst nightmare. We weren’t prepared, because nobody had ever imagined it possible. For as long as time had existed, we had been trained in the garden and sent into various universes as guides, mentors, sometimes protectors, never meddlers. But a takeover—a coup against reality was beyond our imagination. Why would you try? For what purpose? Simply because you wanted to run things? That sort of thought showed a complete lack of understanding about existence—we never run things. Nothing is being “run,” everything simply is! Goodness knows, that was one of our very first lessons in the garden! I never understood what got into Lou. After The Eternal One had beaten his revolutionaries and banished him form the garden, I asked Lou why he had done it, and the only reply I received was, “Because I had to.”
What the hell (no pun intended) was that supposed to mean, especially to a child? It made no sense to me, and it still doesn’t make sense. But even though The Eternal One won the battle, s/he lost the war. Lou was, for all intents and purposes, Emperor of a very large realm of reality, and everyone in that realm was at his command, whether they realized it or not. For the last many years I had been trying to make every creature in this realm aware of the evil that had taken root in them and their reality. I was leading my own rebellion, and my army was every sentient being in Lou’s sphere of influence. But it’s hard to wake someone up when they don’t know they’re sleeping.
To be continued…
Prayer: Lead us out of the darkness, awaken us from our sleep, Holy God of light. Amen.