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Author: Sandee Gertz

Street Corner Muse

Out of the blank dark she comes to give it all away.

A world full of nights living in her eyes

Cigarette between her pencil thin lips 

Pacing the chessboard floor 

Desperate, the siren call of her past

Bleeding upon the altar of dead men’s words.

Closing the door on all the rest 

A Re-creation Story

From Cumberland’s Retiring University Faculty Pastor, Dr. Mike Ripski

February 2, 2016

   An emergency summit of the family council of the Holy Communion was called. Of course, an emergency in eternity time refers more to the depth and breadth of love than to the passage of time. The family council was called because the earth experiment was in jeopardy. Never before had it been on the brink of self-destruction as it was now. 

     It weighed heavy on all their hearts. What did love demand they do? It was the question the Holy Communion family asked in their relations to one another. It was the question not being asked by the majority of those to whom the family had given the gift of creation. How a gift is received and used is a reflection of the receiver’s regard for both the gift and the Giver of the gift. Currently there was little regard. Humans viewed themselves as self-made women and self-made men. They believed they had no one to answer to but themselves. 

   All of those around the table had this on their mind and heart: How could the family of Holy Communion show mercy to the human family and influence its heart without interfering with the freedom of its will. To interfere with its freedom would interfere with its capacity for genuine love, for true love cannot be coerced or manipulated or threatened. Love like that within and among the Holy Communion family was freely given and freely received. 

   The members of the Holy Communion family began the contemplation of this earth crisis with contemplation. Some would call it prayer. Then, after what seemed like an eternity, a voice spoke.

   It was a Daughter, Sophia: ‘The humans are now reaping what they have sown. When they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they came to know that there is good and there is evil, but they did not gain the ability to use the knowledge wisely. They were prone to call good only what benefitted themselves or their group or their tribe or race or nation. They were prone to call good what was of benefit in the short-run. They couldn’t and, to be honest, didn’t want to see the long-range consequences of their scientific advances and technological inventions. 

   “The earth was once a nurturing and nourishing mother-like garden. Now it has become as a jilted lover. No longer maternal she turns her back on those who need it most. Mother nature’s nature has become vindictive. Chemicals, assumed to be good were used without discretion and self-control. They are causing irreversible damage to all that is live. Antibiotics, a source of healing but again used without discretion, are producing germs now drug-resistant and deadly. The earth is ripe for plagues that will put the future of human race in danger.”

   A Son’s voice added to the list of unforeseen consequences that were turning the earth into a toxic cesspool: “Fossil fuels made possible travel whenever and wherever. Humans went to the moon and landed a rover on Mars. They valued convenience over speed and turned greed into a virtue. Global conferences are held to plan ways of protecting a depleted ozone layer of the earth’s atmosphere. Of course, the many attendees fly in jets that produce by-products that deplete the ozone layer even more. Skin cancer is on the rise. The polar ice caps are melting . Sea levels are rising. Weather patterns are changing. The earth’s temperature last year was the warmest ever. Drought is making famine more common.”

   The Mother’s voce was now heard. It was tender yet determined as you’d expect a mother’s love to be. “My heart breaks for the children. Not just some, but all. Children dying of starvation and polluted water. Children forced to become soldiers to kill and be killed in senseless wars for despicable causes. Children born addicted due to their mothers’ addiction. Children turned into sex and factory slaves. Children with disabilities that make them viewed as burdens and liabilities. Children on the streets of the world’s cities, left to fend for themselves. Children forced to deal with experiences that leave them traumatized. Children locked in poverty, susceptible to perpetuating the violence their violent worlds teach them to believe is the only way life can be. Children who are easy prey for 

anyone who will show them attention. Children who will spend their lives dying a slow death because of what was done to them when they were defenseless.” 

   The Mother’s voice slowly turned into uncontrollable sobs.

   The Father’s voice now spoke: “It breaks my heart that those we made in our image — to love, show mercy, forgive, treat each other as you want to be treated, sacrifice for one another, be especially sensitive to the least, the last, and the lost, live by a power that is expressed not in being served but in serving, seeing the big picture that we can see rather than only what affects them and their little group, sharing what they have so no one lacks what is needed to flourish, walking with each other through the valley of the shadow of death with no fear or evil motive, graciously giving one anther the benefit of the doubt instead of judging and condemning , being able to admit when change is needed, trusting that forgiveness is our only for the planet, willing to risk one’s own welfare confidently trusting that everything that is is destined for resurrection, that acknowledging our own personal wounds will make it possible for all of our wounds to be healed, concern for the whole and not just a part, to live by mercy, which means seeking to divinize everyone rather than demonize them.”

   The Father paused and then observed, “This is who we are and who we created humans to be. We created them in our image, but they’ve created us in their image in order to justify their evil projects and plans and agenda. They turned us into warmongers, because they’re addicted to war. They’ve made their enemies our enemies, even though all are our children too. They’ve turned their religion into rationalization for doing what is the very contradiction of who we are and what we value. They’ve turned their scriptures into clubs to pummel each other with.”

   Grandfather’s voice was heard next: “What does love demand? I know what I feel — I feel anger on the verge of rage. I feel the way I felt when I once gave up on Creation, not long after the experiment began. I wiped the slate clean — except for Noah, his family, and the precious animals he saved on the ark. But when the flood waters subsided I grieved over the loss of what I’d destroyed. It broke my heart. The grief was deep. I learned a lot about myself through that experience. I decided it wasn’t who I AM. I won’t ever again allow humans to make me turn my back on them, even though they turn away from me. That’s why we’re here today. We care about them and want their best and the best for earth. Their stubbornness and wickedness will never override our love and compassion for them.

   “So how can we bring them to their senses and open their eyes to see what we can see? How can we, as it were, change their spirit and make it holy like ours, so they will desire the Holy Communion, the mutual love and respect that we enjoy? How can we re-create them from their inside out–not imposing our will on them but rather our will and theirs be in harmony?”

   “What are we to do?”

   Grandmother’s voice spoke next: “I see glimmers of hope in many of the humans. I’ve walked the earth with them as one of them. I’ve found young and old, people of all races and religions, rich and poor, who have compassionate hearts like ours. They are risking themselves, sacrificing their own welfare, for the vision that is our vision: family, holy communion

   “They are working tirelessly to change systems that enslave and demean and distort our divine image in them.

   They are resisting revenge over age-old animosities and prejudices. They are confessing the wrong they’ve done to each other, asking for forgiveness and granting it.

   They are crossing boundaries, tearing down walls of separation, and partnering to work together on issues that are too big to tackle alone.

   They are doing the hard work of converting enemies into friends.

   They are learning to view each other’s differences not just with tolerance but appreciation.

   They are drawing on their religions to inspire them for seeking the good of all the earth. They are letting themselves be captivated by a vision that is our vision. For many of them it’s like a dormant memory of a garden that once existed and can exist again.

   They’re know that religion can become an end in itself — used like a drug to make persons feel good rather than be good. They’re on guard against religion blessing attitudes and actions that curse.

   I see those whose hearts are beating with ours. They see the Big Picture as well as what is right in front of them. They see beneath the surface of life to what is real and true and eternal and precious.

   They simply need to be strengthened when they grow tired, cheered on whey they become discouraged, guided when they come to roadblocks and forks in the road and when they have to choose between options that appear equally good or equally bad, and encouraged when they doubt that what they are devoted to is worth it and will prevail in the end.”

   “How can we do that?

   The voice of the youngest member of the family raises his hand and offers this testimony: “I know I feel most loving when our family comes together like we are now and we focus our attention on how to love those who need love most. Maybe Grandmother is pointing us in the direction of how to love creation and its creatures. Let us whisper words of affirmation in the ears to the hearts of those who are already loving as we do, who are already inspired by the vision of holy communion, who are already caring for the least, the last, and the lost as we do. Let us breathe the breath of holy energy in them. Let us open doors that they can’t yet see that will open up possibilities they have yet to imagine.

   “We can do this. 

   “Can’t we?”