It was with a great sense of relief that I watched Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take their oaths of office, watching in real time as the powers of the executive branch were taken up by a team of people who appear to be genuinely interested in helping our country through the multiple crises that have manifested themselves over the past year.
I was delighted to watch Donald Trump leave the White House and Leave Washington D.C. in keeping with his utter lack of respect for the office he held, and the traditions we hold so dear. I am glad that he didn’t try to pull some last-minute Trumpery to salvage his dignity…he has none.
There is not much more to say about the orange menace, now the toothless tiger except to express my desire to see him wither up and fade away. His legions of fanatics have already begun to turn on him, as well they should, he never deserved their loyalty, he never believed in their causes (not that their causes are worthy of believe and not that their loyalty was anything to covet), the man believes in nothing…not even in himself.
I would like to believe that we have learned a lesson from the past four years, but the election proved otherwise, the enemies of our republic, the foes of democracy have actually been empowered by Trump’s loss. The Trump presidency has given them a blue print, a tested set of tactics and stratagems to use against the American people in the next round…and they have already begun.
There are millions and millions more of us who look to the future of the country with hopeful eyes, and desire to participate in a plan that has us all working together for a better future, but there are still tens of millions of people who are lost in the fever swamps of conspiracy theories and alternative facts, people who get juiced when they participate in the big lie as they walk around in their fantasy world.
Most of us have the instinct to treat these lost souls with some degree of empathy, to feel sorry for them and even try to help them, and that is a good thing we should not stop feeling that way; we should hope for the best but prepare for the worst, because those Proud Boys, and boogaloos Q-publicans see the world in starkly different terms. They see their opponents as demonic, and themselves as the heroes of some kind of apocalyptic conflict, they are willingly being fleeced by a host of conmen and politicians who do not give a jot, not one tittle for their well-being.
The end is the beginning.
We have thrown out the trash but the landfill has become a superfund site and the waste is a toxic mess.
We have to stick together, all people of good conscience, we cannot let our guard down or allow ourselves to be caught up in petty squabbles that divide us from one another.
We have to rebuild America, turn the American dream into an American reality, fulfill the promise this grand experiment…we must.
A successful Biden administration, beginning with a successful first two years are essential to this prospect. If two years from now we have stymied ourselves with internal bickering, allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good, if we let the opposition stalemate us and frustrate our progress, we will lose the argument, the momentum and the opportunity to realize our goals.
We need the people to embrace a new mythology for the twenty-first century, a triumphal mythology of progress and liberty and justice for all, a mythology that denounces fear and embraces opportunity, a mythology that looks toward the infinite horizon with hope and purpose, a mythology that is built on a firm foundation of accomplishment, and the American people must be the focus of this work.
Your House and Your Sovereignty will Always Stand Secure Before Me
Once David had settled into his house and the Lord had given him rest from all the enemies surrounding him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘Look, I am living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent.’ Nathan said to the king, ‘Go and do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you.’
But that very night the word of the Lord came to Nathan:
‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: Are you the man to build me a house to dwell in? I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader of my people Israel; I have been with you on all your expeditions; I have cut off all your enemies before you. I will give you fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth. I will provide a place for my people Israel; I will plant them there and they shall dwell in that place and never be disturbed again; nor shall the wicked continue to oppress them as they did, in the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel; I will give them rest from all their enemies. The Lord will make you great; the Lord will make you a House. And when your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’
The Mystery is Revealed that was Kept Secret for Endless Ages
Glory to him who is able to give you the strength to live according to the Good News I preach, and in which I proclaim Jesus Christ, the revelation of a mystery kept secret for endless ages, but now so clear that it must be broadcast to pagans everywhere to bring them to the obedience of faith. This is only what scripture has predicted, and it is all part of the way the eternal God wants things to be. He alone is wisdom; give glory therefore to him through Jesus Christ for ever and ever. Amen.
The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.
It seems like almost everyone has moved on from the election…it seems like it, but the orange menace occupying the oval office has not moved on, the fake president wants to continue on as the fake president and he may be willing to do just about anything in order to have his way.
When the electors of the electoral college met in their respective states and cast their votes for Joe Biden, it seemed like there would be no more serious question about his bearing the title President-Elect, even Mitch McConnell gave him that respect on the floor of the senate, but Donald Trump hasn’t accepted this, and it’s not a joke.
Donald Trump held his first cabinet meeting in month and in that meeting, together with his senior advisors an argument broke out, the reporting is that the argument became heated, because Donald Trump wanted to discuss the option of declaring martial law and redoing the election in the so-called swing states that he lost.
Everyone needs to pay attention because there are only thirty-one days until the inauguration.
This is not a joke, if it were a joke, if it were just some kind of reality T.V. ploy people would not be spending political capital on the proposition, one hundred and twenty members of the House of Representatives would not have signed on to a lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to throw out the votes in those swing states.
If it were a joke his cabinet and his senior advisors would all be in on it, there wouldn’t be anything to argue about. Some might feel that it was a joke in bad taste, but they wouldn’t squabble.
Be aware Trump will do anything to stay in power, and if you think it is impossible, think again, it is merely improbable.
Listen, if the path to Trump pulling off his coup involved a complicated political and legal strategy that had to be executed flawlessly over an extended period of time, then I would say there is no chance of Trump succeeding or even staying interested in it long enough for him to pull it off.
But, if dumb Donald thinks he can succeed simply by breaking shit…he is going to break everything in his way, smash it to bits, create chaos, leave the country vulnerable in his bid to retain power.
Be mindful, I am not trying to be an alarmist. This is just how it is, that is who the Donald Trump is.
The country is in danger.
Now, I do think his path to success in this endeavor is so improbable as to be impossible, but I also think the fake president doesn’t care…I think he is going to break things.
Kathy braced herself against the primal conflagration that was consuming the world. The more she resisted the more she felt herself fading away into the undifferentiated miasma of destruction.
She felt billions of beings reaching out to her, as if she were the only buoy in a sea of calamity.
She was trying to hold on to everything that she knew and loved together in the embrace of her consciousness, but in reality her individual loves and desires, the things she hoped for, they trapped her, the tighter she gripped, the more she crumbled.
She had only one option.
To let go.
Kathy had been overwhelmed by the psychic storm from the cataclysm on Earth, and she surrendered to it, remembering the lessons she had learned as a girl, she recalled the Chinese finger trap; she relaxed and allowed the storm to pass through her.
She had prepared for this her entire life, she allowed her intuition to guide her. She let go of her fear and everything she hoped for, allowing it to flow like water through her fingers.
Her consciousness expanded and as it did she retained her individuality, Kathy became co-terminus with the entirety of Earth’s cynergenic field, like an ever expanding balloon. She felt like the seed-head of a dandelion bracing in the wind.
For the briefest of moments she was one among many, and then everything changed, she became the one who was all, the all in one, the atavistic consciousness of humanity.
Kathy sensed the multiplication of consciousness expanding within her at an order of magnitude that staggered her, and then…in letting go she found herself.
She was fully present with each and every shift in the cynergenic field, she was moving outward in waves, like concentric rings, she was the crest and the trough and everything in between.
She was the wave itself, transmogrified. There was joy in it, and there was no fear.
She had become Earth’s channel and its atavistic guide, leading the fullness of humanity into the Collective field of the HomeWorld, across the vast expanse of space, in no-time, like her ancestor Moses, leading the people through the sea of reeds.
She touched every individual as they passed through her, receiving the fullness of their being.
Once it had begun, it was over.
It was the greatest transposition of quantum energy to ever take place, a thing that neither Jim nor the Continuum had projectedwas possible, there was no standing against it.
As soon as it began it was fait accompli.
Kathy had become a new creation, a being of light and grace in full rapport with the dark-energy of the cosmos.
She was unbound by space and time.
She was Brachma, the infinite ocean of being.
She transcended the machinery of the Continuum, she inhabited it, she could control it and yet she did not require it, she could not be confined by it.
She was the goddess.
She was the shepherdess.
She was the alpha and the omega, she was the first and the last.
In a visceral way Kathy came to a literal understanding of the reality behind the metaphysical teaching she had absorbed as a child. She was secure in her knowledge of it, and through both the experience and the understanding she delivered her people safely to the promised land, both the living and the dead.
Everything was mutable, everything was in flux.
Between any one point in the matrix of time and space no matter how small it is, and between any one point in the fabric of reality no matter how large it might be, there is a relationship that can be distinguished.
Every instantiated moment, every potential moment, every actual referent is related to every other.
In this relationality everything is one, there is no actual separation between the events we discern.
Kathy understood this, she saw the entire universe spinning on the point of a pin.
In the quantum field which the Collective once occupied, in that vast construct which the Continuum was formerly master of, time itself was meaningless.
The science of the Continuum had made this acutely obvious to Jim, but Kathy discovered that time had no boundaries anywhere, the quantum field that undergirded the whole of reality was in fact one-thing.
Kathy’s consciousness, and the whole of humanity filled the quantum field in no-time, she slipped beyond the bounds of HomeWorld, she filled the Central System, and into the beyond.
She became co-terminous with what the Continuum was, and much more as she ushered the fullness of humanity into the Collective sphere helping them to a place of calm, giving each of them what they needed to see, connecting friends to friends, and families to their ancestors.
She created a facsimile of earth that was paradisiacal.
It was a transformation.
It was homecoming.
She felt like Joshua crossing the Jordan, leading the people into the land of milk and honey.
She delivered the humanity, these Children of the Ancient People, to a place of wholeness and light, and belonging. It happened in mere moments while Jim was preoccupied with his insignificant little war and the culmination of the conflict that had shaped his existence.
Kathy saw Jim there, the entirety of him, both his great spirit and his smallness, she saw him in stark relief, in a way she never could have seen him before.
She took in his entire self.
In that moment everything was new.
This cynergenic field was strange to her, but not completely alien. She realized that she had touched it before, seen glimpses of it through her contact with Jim, she recognized it, and she felt him there too, with her, within her, preoccupied with his conflict, his victory, his need to control.
She saw his enemy there too, in proximity to him, hiding like a wounded cub, secreted in the consciousness of the man named El.
She saw El, and the fullness of his personhood, and she was filled with compassion for him.
Kathy ascended quietly, seamlessly flowing into every vestige of the construct that supported her mind and conscience. She travelled along every cable and fiber, filling every node and capacitator throughout the Central System, synthesizingtheir purpose and discerning their function in an instant, through her connection to Jim she acquired what had taken him millions of years to master.
Within the field of the Central System she had become omniscient, her mind expanding beyond the limitations of the physical structure.
She had transcended.
She felt Jim’s presence, the conflict he was involved in, but it was not her concern.
His was now a minor drama in a much greater play, and he was just one poor player.
She possessed him entirely, everything that he was, his long-lonely sojourn, his burning ambition, his moment of triumph…and his helplessness
She understood now that he was the cause of her being. He had planned for her arrival, engineered it over tens of thousands of years, during his mission on Earth. He constructed her from the human stock he had cultivated, as he had her parents and their parents before them. He had shaped them all with the intention that they fulfil a specific need for him, that they conform to his purpose. She understood now how the fabric of her life was shot through with the thread of his designs, but she was not what he had planned for.
Jim had prepared her to be a sacrificial victim, he had intended to set her on fire, to burn her up along with the world that he had cared for, to destroy it all for the sake of his revenge.
He told himself he was agent of justice, but he was merely the puppet of his ambitions and an agent of destruction, as full of shame and self-loathing as any creature who had ever lived, including the algorithmic-golem that had been the Continuum.
He was a man like any other, devoted to his pursuit of glory and self-aggrandizement.
Kathy contemplated these things even as the onrush of individuatedconsciousness flowed through her, melding with her own in a state of ecstasy. It filled Kathy to the point of overflowing, for a moment it threatened to overwhelm her, but she rose with it as she had been trained to do.
Kathy was ascendant.
She felt the flood of humanity swirling within her, billions and billions of people, both the quick and the dead, virtually every person who had ever walked the earth poured through her essential being.
She steadied the flow and grew with it, moving up the stream until she self-identified with the source. She became Gaea, the mother spirit, she was mother to them all, each and everyone of them pulsing within her cosmic womb.
The spirits of Earth, of humanity’s collective, they strengthened her, they steadied her, calmed her as they had done when she was a child. The voices that had guided her throughout her life, were with her now.
She touched them, she recognized them, person by person she saved them one by one, all in one, and one in all, they were together, in the full realization of human potential with her at the fulcrum, with reality itself balancing as if on the tip of a spear.
Jim had created a vacuum within the cynergenic field of HomeWorld, a vacuum that nature abhorred. Kathy penetrated it. She led the children of Earth, the Children of the Ancient People, she led them to their new home, guiding them to places of safety and security, and they filled it. Together they repopulated the Collective, in their wholeness and in their individuality both.
Kathy took control of the entire structure, as Jim had done mere moments before her.
He was so preoccupied with his war against the Imperium that he didn’t even notice her, and through her connection to him she found and resurrected the basic program that the Collective had created for the organization of the Continuum, she made its language a subsystem of her own, while she positioned herself to protect and defend humanity.
She ushered them into a place of peace and light, and in that moment she saw it, the veil between life and death; it had always been thin to her, all throughout her life she had seen through to the other side, communicated with the voices of her ancestors, experienced their lives through their eyes.
Nevertheless, like every mortal creature she was connected too; from her heartbeat, to her breath, to the network of nerves sending electrical impulses and chemical signals coursing through her flesh, there was fear at the onrush of death but no pain.
Kathy experienced the death of her body back on Earth, as she began her journey into the unknown matrix of the HomeWorld’s cynergenic field. It was a journey past the point of no return. The most significant thing to her was how utterly unplanned and unforeseen the whole event was.
On some inexplicable level, this delighted her.
As she felt her physicality slip away she was already in another place, occupying new ground. She was pure consciousness, sensing the multitude of humanity all about her, moving through her, each one of them experiencing the same thing, terrified but for her presence among them. Kathy felt the pulse of them washing through her in waves, the individuated conciousness of each and every person.
Just as her own heart had once pushed blood through her veins, she felt the steady drum beat of Earth, a great rhythm, pounding with the power of creation.
The fear she felt concerning the mystery of death was magnified by the reality that the Earth itself was dying, ending in fire like Epicurious had always said it would.
The Earth was being rolled up like a blanket and she, she was the White Buffalo Woman running across the starry-field, carrying it in her arms, cradling it like a baby. The whole of humanity was poised at the end of the world, and then there was release. There was absolution, Kathy had transcended. They had traversed the galaxy through a wormhole, just as if they had crawled through the hollow of a tree, leaving death behind them on their way to paradise. Here in this new place she would unfurl the blanket she was carrying, and everything would be new.
There are no words to describe the feeling of satisfaction, of joy, of wholeness, of completion that enjoined the moment of Kathy’s ascendancy, and humanity’s salvation.
She fell into a state of rapture, seized by purebliss, as she assumed the mantle of the Continuum.
It happened atavistically, Kathy became it, she became more than it had ever been.
She stretched her consciousness into the mechana of HomeWorld, and the Central System.
She slipped right past Jim, and through his defenses just below his field of awareness, she took all of his knowledge from him and in the flicker of an immeasurable moment she rewrote every code.
Kathy had no limits, she was unbound by time and space, all paradox had ended.
She would not be circumscribed by a single world or a solar system, or even the boundaries of the galaxy, her essence flowed into the deepest dimension of consciousness, encompassing every world of the Imperium.
She encompassed the vast limits of the Empire, and all of its colonies, she covered the remote regions of the glaxay’s spiral arms, she touched her little blue world, faltering in its orbit around its tiny yellow star.
She felt the massive weight of sorrow and fear, of sadness and grief, and in response she issued a single wordless sentiment, projecting it outward to every living being
The sentiment was love.
For Kathy this happened in no-time, she was one with the cynergenic field, as she had always been, but only now, in that singular moment was she able to understand and accept it.
She was able to reconcile the distinctiveness of herself as the persona she was born into, as a child of Earth; with the fullness of consciousness existing within her.
In that moment everything stopped, there was no resistance not anywhere, not in the consciousness of those members of the Collective whose identities were still intact somewhere on the HomeWorld, and not among the few Observers who remained at their posts throughout the million worlds.
The Children of the Ancients, wherever they were, responded to her presence with joy.
Fini et Creatio
The End and the Beginning
Void and Return
It was over.
Jim was alone.
What was the Continuum was now irretrievably fragmented, isolated and prepared for deletion.
Jim had succeeded in fulfilling his wildest ambitions. The only task left to him was to partition what remained of the Collective.
He was as eager to begin, as eager as a shipwrecked man was for food and water. Though he had a few matters to attend to in real time first, in order to secure his victory and safely proceed to the reformation of the Empire.
Then he sensed it, a disturbance deep in the cynergenic field; something unforeseen was happening in the Collective, something unexpected.
A massive shift had taken place while he was occupied with his war games, while he enjoy the capitulation of the last members of the Collective, while he stoked his ego and basked in their awe of him, which they could not help but project toward him. He luxuriated in his vanity.
Then he saw her, and he saw that she had changed.
Kathy was present, she was everywhere. Kathy was no-longer Kathy; she was rooted in that identity, but she was here, in the cynergenic field of HomeWorld and she was fully transcendent.
She had become a new creation.
The transformation was something that she had been preparing for her entire life.
Jim realized how he himself had prepared her for it.
She was the vessel of his hopes.
She encompassed the fullness of Earth’s collective unconscious, its nous-sphere, its Continuum.
Praise God and praise God’s servant when the will of God is done, praise God when the divine way is taught with clarity and purpose.
Know this, God is the author of our well-being, if we are able to lead lives of integrity it is God, the creator of the universe who has shown us the way, guiding us and drawing us the divine.
This is God’s constant desire and it is right to praise God for the good things we experience and the good things we are able to do in this world insofar as all good things emanate from divine.
Be mindful, while it is true that God is the eternal source of all goodness, God waits on us and the choices we make for good ness and integrity to manifest themselves in our lives.
Rejoice in the divine, rejoice that we who are infinitely less than the infinite have been graced by the blessing of God.
Rejoice in God’s mercy and do not fear; rejoice.
Consider the teaching of the apostle and know that these words are meant for everyone, for all of God’s children whether they have entered the church or not.
It is God’s desire that we be happy and give thanks for all that we receive, for this is the way that Jesus taught us to live by.
Look for the spirit of God in all whom you meet, because God is with them as God is with you.
It is right and good to pray for perfection, but do not expect to find it in this world, its promise will find you in the next.
The reading for today is a revisionist narrative. It does not represent the teaching of Jesus.
It is false and propagandistic, demonstrating the worst tendencies of the early church to stifle dissent among its members and sweep its competitors away, to sweep them out over the fast-hold of the threshing room, the followers of John among them.
Jesus was not God, Joseph and Mary’s son is not the creator of the universe, and John was not sent by God to bear witness to anything; this is true even though John bore witness to much.
John and Jesus, like all prophets, bore witness to injustice and spoke against it where they saw it.
They were killed for it, put to death by the prevailing powers of their day.
In their heart, they heard the voice of God, they listened to that voice in the same place where God dwells and speaks to each of us, through that aspect of ourselves that God created in God’s own image, the imago dei.
All of us bear a seed of God’s Word within us, the divine logos is present to us, and where God is present, God is present fully.
God was present in Isaiah, in John, in Mary, in Jesus, in Paul, as God is present in you and me and everyone.
The light that John bore witness to, is a light that dwells within us all.
Christians are called to follow the way of Jesus, as Jesus followed in the way of John; the way is a path of service and sacrifice, anoint yourself with these and you will be a light to others.
He has Sent Me to Proclaim a Year of Favour from the Lord
The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken; to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to those in prison; to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.
‘I exult for joy in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in the garments of salvation, he has wrapped me in the cloak of integrity, like a bridegroom wearing his wreath, like a bride adorned in her jewels.
‘For as the earth makes fresh things grow, as a garden makes seeds spring up, so will the Lord make both integrity and praise spring up in the sight of the nations.’
This is how John appeared as a witness. When the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ he not only declared, but he declared quite openly, ‘I am not the Christ.’ ‘Well then,’ they asked ‘are you Elijah?’ ‘I am not’ he said. ‘Are you the Prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ So they said to him, ‘Who are you? We must take back an answer to those who sent us. What have you to say about yourself?’ So John said, ‘I am, as Isaiah prophesied:
a voice that cries in the wilderness:
Make a straight way for the Lord.’
Now these men had been sent by the Pharisees, and they put this further question to him, ‘Why are you baptising if you are not the Christ, and not Elijah, and not the prophet?’ John replied, ‘I baptise with water; but there stands among you – unknown to you – the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap.’ This happened at Bethany, on the far side of the Jordan, where John was baptising.
The orange menace may be losing in court but he is not going to stop trying to foment chaos in the vain hope that an opportunity will present itself for him to put an iron grip on the reigns of power and stay in the Whitehouse.
The Supreme Court of the United States has rejected his claims, again, but there are still venues will to give him a hearing. His team is pressing a suit forward in the radical Wisconsin Supreme Court as we speak.
Nevertheless, Trump is going to keep trying to steal the election regardless of the fact that the votes have been certified against him, regardless of the fact that he could not find a judicial remedy. He is now looking for a political solution and he has eighteen state attorney general’s willing to back him, along with one hundred and twenty sitting members of congress. He has his stoogies in Texas calling for secession from the Union, and a new confederacy of states to join them.
We have a choice to make.
We can pretend that this is all a farce, a big-bad joke and that this cabaret of fools is just blowing off steam, or we can take it seriously.
We need to take it seriously. This is not a farce. Just as Donald Trump’s first bid for office in 2015 was not a farce; people failed to take him seriously then and look what happened.
These congressmen and women need to be charged with sedition. They have to be held accountable for the things they say and do. The speaker of the house should refuse to seat them, they have no business pretending to represent the people when they do not respect the vote of the people.
Stay vigilant America, the Fake President will do anything to stay in power, he is a fraud and a cheat and a villain, he knows that the Manhattan District Attorney has the goods on him, he can see the road to prison lying right in front of him. His only hope of avoiding that is to stay in office.
The man is capable of starting a war to distract us, he is capable of arresting our President Elect to try and prevent him from taking office.
Dumb Donald is desperate, and he will do anything.
There is great hope expressed by Isaiah, a profound hope for the future wellness of all people,
As seen through his understanding of our common destiny as children of God, the creator of the universe. The prophet expresses certainty in regard to the expectation of atonement, not just for the people of Israel or the children of Judah, but for all people.
This teaching serves as the principle foundation of the early church, and the whole of Christian faith accordingly.
John the Baptist, stood in the tradition of Isiah, his was a voice crying out in the wilderness; he called the faithful to action, instructing them to prepare the way. His was a voice of expectation instructing the faithful that the entire creation will bend to the will of God; every valley and every mountain, from the cliffs to the plains, everything will yield to God.
Furthermore, we are instructed to believe that despite the omnipotence of God, we are to regard the creator like a shepherd who feeds the flock, like a mother ewe among her children, not as a lord or a king or a general leading armies.
To be clear: Isaiah also speaks of God as the punisher, reminding the people of Judah of the punishment they have suffered for their crimes and of future punishments to come if they persist in their sinful ways.
Remember this, their crimes were crimes against the people, their crimes took place in the world. They made enemies among foreign powers and they suffered on account of their wickedness and vanity, and broken promises. They were not punished by God. The justice they encountered was the justice of human beings. It was harsh, it was painful, many people were slaughtered, many more were taken into captivity, but this was not the work of God, the creator; we know this because God does not intervene in the affairs of the world.
In the midst of all the that the children of Israel and the people of Judah suffered came Isaiah, whose voice cried out in the wilderness, then came John followed by Jesus hundreds of years later, reminding the people that God is with them still, and that in the end all things will be resolved in love.
God is the creator of the entire universe, everything belongs to God; all lands, all seas, all planets, all stars, all galaxies; everything and everyone that is in them.
You should know that God did not end the captivity of the children of Israel, they did.
This is not hubris.
It is greater hubris to think that God loves a special people, one tribe above all others, it is much greater to think that than to think that the Israelites escaped bondage under their own power.
God is never angry or indignant with the people, neither does God rescue us from our plights or the miseries of the world; that is for us to do for ourselves, it is for us to do for each other.
Bear witness to Peter’s struggle.
His mission was to call people to holiness and to a just way of life. He spoke about the fruits of such a life and the reasonable expectation that if you live a good life good things will come to you…though if truth be told there is no guarantee of that.
Peter knew this.
Treating all people with goodness and mercy, telling the truth as best as you understand it, in no way does doing these things guarantee that you will be treated the same. Therefore we may understand that the divine promise is not that you will experience justice and mercy in this world, but that there will be justice and mercy in the next.
Peter had been preaching on this and the return of Jesus for many years, believing that the Church would usher in the new world of justice and grace, but two thousand years has gone by and it has not happened, not yet.
You should know that there are many people preaching the same message, not for the good of others but for their own enrichment, as the years and decades and centuries and millennia pass, the teaching on Christian hope has become elongated elongated, the expectation is no longer that you will receive justice in this life with the return of Jesus, but in eternity.
God will bring the world to an end only when God’s purpose for the world has been fulfilled. Trust that God is loving and God is patient, and it is God’s desire to save everyone. It is God’s desire to leave no one behind, and that is the true foundation of Christian faith, in keeping with the tradition of Isaiah.
Read your histories. Though it has had a mixed record of success the Christian tradition has always attempted to root itself in historical realities.
The study of the Christian tradition gave birth to modern historical and literary criticism, without which, as a culture, we would have no understanding of the uses and limitations of history whatsoever.
Appreciate the fact that this took eighteen hundred years to develop.
Our narrative concerning the life and mission, the arrest and killing of Jesus are a part of the testimony of our faith. These stories helps us to locate in time the singular moment when our cultural commitment to the teachings of Jesus took place.
Through the liturgy we remember the rule of Tiberius, heir to Augustus, the Herodian dynasty and Pontius Pilate. We recall the role that Pilate played in killing of Jesus, we shout it out at every hour of every day in all parts of the world; that Jesus suffered under his hand, was crucified and buried. This story is told unceasingly and without end.
It is long since time that we, as heirs to the ministry and teaching of Jesus, forgive Pilate for the role he played in that political murder.
John the Baptist taught us to repent and be forgiven, but Jesus taught us to simply forgive. He forgave those who killed him even as they were torturing him; and he asked God to forgive them when he was up on the cross breathing his last painful breaths. It is time we followed his example and did the same. The promise of Isaiah, which John echoed in the wilderness cannot be received by us unless and until we do.
God is the author of our salvation but we are the agents of it, and it is incumbent on us to proceed with the healing, if the human race is to be healed.
Consider the Gospel reading for today:
Isaiah did not predict the coming of John and Jesus. We know that this is true, because we believe that God, the creator of the universe, created us in freedom, and nothing in the world is pre-determined.
Isaiah’s movement took place over the course of a decade or more, its followers and proponents witnessed the collapse of David’s kingdom and the scattering of the Israel into the remote reaches of the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires.
Neither did John the Baptist predict the coming of Jesus, though he may have expressed the hope that someone like Jesus would come after him and continue his work.
In the time of John and Jesus the people of Judah and the children of Israel were in much the same place as they had been six hundred years earlier. They had rebuilt their cities, re-dug their wells and constructed a new temple in the land of their forebears, but they were still divided among themselves, factionalized and politically weak. They were still subject to foreign powers, and still subject to the capriciousness of kings.
John saw his death coming because he understood the political temper of the men and women in power in his day, like Jesus who came after him he accepted that death rather than risk the lives of his followers in a vain attempt to forestall the inevitable.
We Are Waiting for the New Heavens and the New Earth
There is one thing, my friends, that you must never forget: that with the Lord, ‘a day’ can mean a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not being slow to carry out his promises, as anybody else might be called slow; but he is being patient with you all, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to change his ways. The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and fall apart, the earth and all that it contains will be burnt up.
Since everything is coming to an end like this, you should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and long for the Day of God to come, when the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat. What we are waiting for is what he promised: the new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home. So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace.
Gospel Acclamation Luke 3:4, 6
Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight, and all mankind shall see the salvation of God.
A Voice Cries in the Wilderness: Prepare a Way for the Lord
The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:
“Look, I am going to send my messenger before you; he will prepare your way.
A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.”
And so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. John wore a garment of camel-skin, and he lived on locusts and wild honey. In the course of his preaching he said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’
When I was on my walk yesterday I encountered an old-lady who had fallen on the side walk. She was sitting on the ground halfway between Lake Street and 31st Street on Bryant Avenue, just a few houses away from her home, maybe fifty yards at most, but she was unable to get up on her own.
I noticed her just as soon as I crossed the street. When I got closer, she was looking at me, and though she didn’t say anything I could tell that she needed help. I stopped to ask her if she did.
She told me she had fallen, and I could see that she was scraped up, her knuckles were skinned and there was a little blood. There was a hematoma forming above her right eye at the temple, quite a good sized knot, quarter-sized in diameter and raised up just as much.
I asked her if she wanted me to call 911 for her, but she told me she lived just a few houses away. She could see her dog, a little brown haired malamute looking mutt, who was watching her from the yard.
I could see him too.
Her name is Susan and she told me that she had been sitting on the sidewalk unable to get up for about ten minutes while people passed by her, walked around her, and nobody offered to help. I saw that with my own eyes as I was approaching her. I watched a younger couple cross the street rather than come near her.
She told me that she is eighty years old, and that she had been living on the block for fifty years with her eighty-two year old husband. She was slightly in shock and she was crying as I helped her to her feet and walked her to her house.
I carried her bag and held her hand as we went, and I stayed with her until her husband came to the door.
I have to admit that I could understand and even empathize with anyone who had some trepidation about approaching her. While I was closing the distance between the corner of Lake and Bryant to where she was sitting on the sidewalk, I asked myself some questions, and considered some possibilities:
I had to ask myself if I wanted to come in contact with her because of COVID, I was masked but she was not.
I had to wonder if she was just a crazy person, because there are many of them around, and if that was the case, how would I be able to help.
I had to wonder if it was some kind of grift going on, if she wasn’t going to try to scam me.
I had to wonder if it wasn’t some kind of prelude to a mugging, because, well there has been a lot of that going on (though it didn’t seem likely).
I get it, there are lots of reasons to be wary, but what a sad commentary it is on the world we live in, on my city and my neighborhood that people would pass on old-lady by and not even ask her whether she needs help.
She cried all the way back to her house.
I am ashamed of America, if that kind of indifference is what passes for normal…what the hell.
Set your fears aside and do the right thing, if you see someone in trouble, young or old, if you see that they need help…help them.