(Prequel posts: part 1 of series; Shore of My Mind #1 & #2)
As the little vessel began to dip slowly forward, I became aware of a small trap-door at my feet. I glanced quizzically at Purpose who sat beside me, then up at Reason who stood near the bow.
“Below is the hold.” Said Purpose, anticipating my question.
“What’s in the hold?” I asked. At which question, Purpose, and Reason exchanged glances, as if deciding whether, or what to tell me. After a brief awkward pause, Reason shrugged, and declared:
“Its the engine room. Its where the will is made, and where Purpose and I get our energy.”
“Such as it is.” Said Purpose quietly.
“I shall down.” I said. Reason shrugged again, and turned to look out to sea.
Purpose nodded, and leaned down with great difficulty to lift the hatch, saying: “It may strengthen me if you can see yourself.”
“Or finish him off.” Reason said, looking back to me with a wry grin.
I assisted Purpose in lifting the hatch; all I could see below was darkness. “Be careful not to fall; in many places, the hold is deeper than the ocean’s floor.”
‘How can that be?’ I wondered, but before response could be made, I found myself falling headlong into the blackness below. I reached to grab for something, anything to stop my fall; thankfully, my hand found a rough bristled rope, which I gripped tightly; my body snapped downward, wrenching the joints in my arm from their sockets in swift concession: shoulder, elbow, wrist. And, still I slid several feet, the rope flaying the palm of my hand until I finally I slowed to a stop with searing pain coursing through my arm and a shrill burn in my hand.
Yet now, dangling in the darkness of myself, a faint glow began to shimmer from the wound in my hand. Looking up to it I saw that though the rough thread I had caught felt, and functioned here as a rope, it was actually a wooden beam. Nor was it a rope burn that seared my palm, but a nail that had been driven fully through my hand and into the beam, holding me fast to it. Falling into the depths of darkness, I reached out for security, and found it, for this was the place in which my hand touched eternity. Not only was the wound in my hand glowing with a dim blue light, but my entire arm lit up where my bones had been rent from their sockets: wrist, elbow, shoulder. Oh, the pain was immense! But the savor of the pain in my body became a wellspring of illumination that lightened my darkness.
Repent, I say: REPENT! For the kingdom is at hand!
Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be…
And here I am, hanging from the wooden beam with my Master.
The blue glow which was emanating from my arm at the four points of great pain did slowly glow brighter and brighter, and I beheld that I was now on the surface-level of my being. That outer husk of the corn of wheat, which must perish first.
My feet felt the ground and in relief my arm let go the rope, falling limp to my side. Now I was standing in a small adobe hut. The little house was poorly lit; the only source of light was a small shrine which hung at about the center of the little hut. The shrine was organic; within the hut it appeared to be a vital organ, like the heart, the lungs, the brain… or some peculiar combination thereof. Veins from the shrine stretched out through the little hut, and were rooted in its mud walls… which were also alive, like some manner of plant though made of Adobe. This shrine, and the hut were in full symbiosis; the life of both would perish should they be separated from one another. Yet neither the hut nor the shrine, were the central life force, but within the shrine was the Seed I had received from Truth. The Seed was shining bright enough that I could see it through the sealed walls of the shrine, but not so bright that its light filled the whole of the hut, which was dim about throughout, and fully dark round the corners.
Gritting my teeth through the pain, I lofted my arm to illuminate the hut. I saw that there were cracks in the walls, and vines growing throughout – weeds were springing up from the muddy walls, and I heard the scampering of little rodents or reptiles as the light of my arm illuminated certain areas. I heard a cheetering above me, and lifting my arm high, I beheld little bats clinging to crevices in the ceiling. This is my body, the living space of my soul. And yet in the absence of my full occupation of it, yet as a living space will it be inhabited by somewhat, and whatsoever things I allow to enter my abode will make it their home presently. And as the Seed grows, and the soul begins to dominate the body, the process of sanctification worketh in the members; for inside the shrine are all men dead until the Seed be planted, and in the state of spiritual death, the cravings of the body are pre-eminent, and the soul becomes enslaved to the lusts of the flesh. Yet, when the spirit is re-born, the flesh is put back into its lawful place as the slave of the soul – this process is called repentance – and the animal cravings of the body are kept in check by Purpose and Reason… who remain in the boat somewhere above me; or in the shrine before me.
Yes, the soul must be the master of the flesh, and because I had let my emotional pain set my soul to slumber, come these carnal habits creeping in as the Jebusites who were not utterly driven out of Jerusalem. And so be patient with your weaker brethren, for that He said:
I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.
So let each man inherit the land he is given… but, Oh what a mess was this place! Yet, it is my house… the place where I live.
“Hmph!” A low voice growled from across the room, suddenly shaking my last sense of security. I beheld as a dark creature who was previously hidden fully by the darkness arose, revealing an ominously large dark figure. “This is my house.” The creature’s low growl declared as it moved toward me. I thrust my brightened arm toward what appeared to be the creature’s head to get a better look at its face. The beast recoiled slightly, lofting its hands to protect its eyes from the light. Visibly held back by the light, the creature yet maintained its bravado: “I live here; it’s MY house.”
“This is my body. I have the Seed – you can’t live here.” I said to the beast.
At that statement a low gurgling sound began to emanate from its throat, it took me a moment to realize the thing was laughing. “Yes!” He scoffed, pointing his dark finger at the shrine in the middle of the hut, “Go and warm yourself by the fire of Christ’s affliction!” At which it rolled its head back and laughed a great belly laugh at my expense.
Yet I stood, confused… what did it mean? I looked at the shrine where the Seed did glow, not so brightly enough to illumine my whole house… Yet I gave the seed no passing glance, but stared into it and in my eyes as I beheld the seed I heard the verse:
And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.
I gasped at the revelation… so, too did the beast, for as I began to meditate on this Word – given in due season by the Master – the Seed did grow brighter, and the creature, realizing its error to bring Truth to my mind did slink back more fully into the shadows as though the light did him harm.
And like the unfolding of a three-dimensional puzzle, the verse did open up in the light before me: ‘And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.’
This was the path of the denier of Christ – he followed Him… but AFAR OFF; he came, indeed, to the place of Christ’s judgment… but would he go with Christ through the valley of death, as he’d promised he would? No! He sat with the servants (for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth), and warmed himself at the fire of Christ’s affliction.
Take heed ye follow not afar off, for Peter’s promise – and that which is required – is to go with Him, even unto death. But the denier sleeps through the garden temptation, that time when men ought to be in prayer (the time when kings go out to war) – he only follows Christ afar off, sitting with the servants, and warming himself with the consolation of Gospel Truths yet without entering into them: and so it is with every lukewarm believer.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
And so I perceived that this demon had the power to make men complacent, and lukewarm. Taking greater determination, I strode toward the beast, as it had toward me; lofting the illumination of the pain of my crucifixion with Christ as I went. The creature shrank back to the far wall, where it crouched itself in a little corner. “Who are you?” I demanded of it once I had it pinned down by the light.
Turning its head from the light, the thing responded: “You both know me, and you know whence I am.” Interesting… he seeks to sound like Christ when he speaks. I looked down at the things’ feet, and beheld a small Arab-style lamp. This thing was like the Genie from the Arabian Nights: housed in a lamp – an object which should present illumination. But this is a lamp I had always known – it had always had a place in my home… I had grown in a Christian home, and we always had this lamp. This lamp can be found in nearly every home in my county… surely, this demon could not be gaining power to work in my body because of the presence of this common lamp?
Now the thing looked up at me, grinning wickedly, “Yes, this lamp is a great totem of my entry; through the ages, I have never had entry into homes, and the minds of families as I have now that this lamp exists.” He leered viciously at me, “I don’t even mind telling you because my lamp is so common, you’ll never get rid of it. No one ever does.”
“I could keep it without letting you in.” I said defensively.
The creature laughed. “Sure you can… no doubt you can tame a wild animal, and let it play with your children, having all confidence that no harm will come to your family.” Replied the creature, unable to control its laughter at my naivety. “You can’t control what light comes through my lamp, you fool! I have more power than your people conceive of. I have the power to deceive you, but that’s not all.” It said.
I knew that it was boasting the Truth of its power over me. Surely it knew I would not easily be rid of its lamp.
“I plant weeds of the doctrines of men in your soul, and you do not perceive what tares I scatter on your soil… but that’s not all. I also have the power to fill you with the fear of man above the fear of God… but that’s not all.” The thing continued.
Yet how could I remove its lamp from my house? Even if I were willing, I would despised… considered a religious fanatic even by (no, most especially by) my Christian brethren. “I have the power to fill you with sexual lust and concupiscence… but that’s not all. I also have the power to make you complacent… I have the power put you to sleep… forever. But that’s not all; nations and peoples submit themselves to me, and I sway the thoughts and beliefs of your entire culture to my own ends; I have the power to make immorality popular – even to the murder of children. Your culture follows me, and I have taught them to tolerate all that’s base and vile… and despise those who do not love me.” He smiled broadly, “And any who do not follow me with the whole heart, are no opposition to me, all I need is the smallest piece of their heart, and with it I make those who tolerate me complacent, castrating their effectiveness to oppose whatever I teach the world, or your precious church. All I need is a place in your house, for I need only to get you to heed me, by degrees, more than you heed the Seed.” He pointed to the shrine whose light was, again, diminishing. “I can even point all of this out to you, and it doesn’t matter. You won’t expel my lamp. No one does.”
I looked down at the lamp, and I realized: this was its very work not only in me, but in the whole Church; whoever was snared by it was in danger to be lost forever – just as Peter followed Christ zealously during his life, but only afar off in His crucifixion.
So, I would not be silent of this wretched snare, which is trapping countless saints, and playing the pied piper to Western culture. “Yes, I know you!” I said to the creature. “Your name is Entertainment; you are but ancient idolatry with a new garment. The flesh of those who let you gain equal place with Christ will be your bread, and the bones of them that put you above Him will be crushed between your teeth.” And I collected the creature’s lamp – called Television, and cast it from the window of my home, never to be welcomed again. So call me a religious fanatic, and look down on me as religious ye saints of God – for though you will if you choose, I will not mastered by anything.
what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
The body is the last part of your being to receive illumination, and in it jackals, and even dragons may lurk though the Seed is there within the shrine. Know ye not, know ye not, Ye are His temple, and when the cloud of God overshadows the mercy seat, then doth His glory illumine the whole house, but when there is place given to the gentiles, they will tread the outer courts.
Looking, again at the shrine in the center of the room, I saw a great flange of skin around it – and this was the abiding mastery of the flesh over my soul, who must rather be master of the body. So extracting a blade from my side I did circumcise the foreskin of my heart.