ALIVE: Chapter 14 Collapsed and Powerful

For Shem the raindrops beating on the ark were the tears of God almighty, crying with him over the death of Lazaria. Shem struggled to accept that she would never hug him again or sing to him. He still slept beside her tightly wrapped body. Sha-me and Aurelia made up a bed for him in a separate place and begged him to start sleeping there on it. He refused. Surprisingly, her body did not smell bad as other dead bodies that reeked after time, so there was no reason to leave her alone during those long dark nights in the ark. If anything, he thought he smelled a faint fragrance of lilies-of-the-valley whenever he first entered the room. How he loved it when she nested her lovely blonde head in the cleft of his shoulder and held his chest with her soft arm as they slept. Now it was his turn to cover her with his strong muscular arm. Touch.

God looked down upon His earth covered with water and thought about the second day of creation when He made the sky and separated the waters below the sky from the waters above it. God had not known such a watery scene since then which was before He made the mountains and deserts, and before He made the sun and moon, and before He made creatures and humankind. On that second day, as on this day, there was only light and water, water and light everywhere.

On this day, the Neanderthals were dead and gone, the dinosaurs were gone too because they were too big and dangerous to come into the ark, and there were no more sea monsters either because the turbulent waters overwhelmed them at God's request. Never again would the sons and daughters of God marry the sons and daughters of men. There would forevermore be one kind of human. On this thirty-seventh day of the ark when God gazed upon the watery earth and sky He could no longer see the great and regal trees, nor the majestic mountaintops, nor any moving form of life, for everything God made that moved on the earth, birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all human beings, everything on dry land in whose nostrils was breath had died.

The fortieth day was drawing near. God was ready to close the fountains of the deep and restrain the windows of the heavens. He was ready to send a mighty wind to blow over the earth to cause the waters to subside.

Before the rains began God wanted to annihilate all life except Noah and his arkful, but now that it was accomplished He was not content. God had witnessed death and destruction on a scale that repulsed Him. He was the God of birth and creativity. Surprisingly His repulsion over the parasite of evil had been diminished by His repulsion over this holocaust. God could not endure the scene and drifted away from time to time. But that is not why He didn't answer Noah's prayer for the life of Lazaria. He heard it.

So stunned and grieved were Noah and his family that it skewed their sense of who God was and their worship of Him. They were accustomed to being the favored children on which the spotlight of His care and protection rested. They expected God to enthusiastically grant their every wish, like a servant or even like a slave. He needed them to know Him in a different way, as a Father, not as a magician.

On the fourth morning after the death of Lazaria, at the prayer gathering the angel of the Lord filled Noah's soul again. This time in the presence of his family.

"Oh dear family, in my grief I have neglected to tell you what an angel of the Lord conveyed to me before Lazaria died. However, now I am not sure what to think of the message."

"Father, tell us." cried Shem who was desperate for any words of wisdom that could dull the pain of his grief.

Noah cleared his throat and tried to compose his message.

"Before Lazaria died....and even now, because I sense that though her body is lifeless, her spirit is very much alive, we were not eight living persons in this ark. Our God made us in His image and likeness, our intelligence, our language skills, our creativity, our emotions all reflect His Being. Therefore we are nine living persons and only nine persons alive in all of the heavens and earth. To be nine is significant. To be nine means to be able to multiply ourselves in others so that they too are gods. We nine are recreating humanity born and comprised of divinity. This nine-ness of us shall forevermore describe to humanity, to those who want to know, what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God, what it means to be baptized and born anew, to rise above the filth of a fallen world as the waters have elevated our souls as well as our bodies."

All curious and confused eyes were focused on Noah.

He continued, "God is sending us to a new world of our making. We are to multiply ourselves, not just by having children, as I hope you will, but to procreate our reborn godly image throughout the world. To be one of nine, as each of us is, including God, means that we have a very special characteristic. We nine can multiply any other number and maintain our identity as nine when that number is collapsed. We can be both ourselves, as the number multiplied, and godly - the nine-ness of us as together and individually."

Noah went on to demonstrate this axiom by multiplying nine by various numbers, and succeeded in fascinating his family who slowly came to understand the meaning of his words. The message was simply that not only was God with them, but He was in them as they were in each other.

Sha-me exclaimed, "That is wonderful Noah, truly wonderful."

"Father Noah," said Shem, "Show us God the Father."

Noah paused to think, and then sensed that he would be given the response without thinking. He replied, "Because we nine are united as we are, "I am in our Father and God, and the Father is in me. The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does His works." Even Noah was astonished to hear himself say that, but continued,

"Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Truly I tell you, the one who believes this will also do the works that we ask of God and in fact, will do greater works than you can imagine because God is in you and in me as we nine are in each other reflecting God's image and likeness. The Nine of us shall forevermore be a divine number to mean the unity of Creator and human."

Aurelia added, "If God is in us, then shouldn't we have the power to answer our own prayers?"

Coochie instantly picked up where Aurelia was going and added, "So, when we begged God to heal Lazaria, perhaps He didn't want to be treated as an outsider, as another Person severed and apart from each of us, as if we are all severed and apart from each other."

What a startling revelation that was. Everyone gasped. Wide eyed.

Shem burst forth, "Is it possible that we had the ability, with God in us, to heal Lazaria, and God wants us to realize that? If God is our life giver, and He resides in us, as we reside in each other making up the nine together, then perhaps we could also raise Lazaria from the dead!"

Suddenly their grief was turned to hope, and faith welled up in each heart in a crescendo of joy and power.

"Come, let us go to Lazaria now and wake her up to life!" said Coochie.

En masse the family scurried over to Lazaria's space where she lay still in her cocoon of furry animal skins.

When all had arrive, they circled Lazaria's still body.

Noah spoke.

"Father I thank you for having heard me, I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the others standing here, so they may believe that you are in me and in them, and that you have multiplied yourself in us." When Noah said this he cried in a loud voice, "Lazaria come out!" The dead woman moved. They watched stunned as the tightly wrapped form wiggled. Yet under the layer of skins her hands and feet were also bound in strips and her face wrapped in a cloth.

Shem said to them "Quick! Let's us unbind her, and let her go." Shem leaped over to her and began to unwrap the skins and bandages.

Japheth and Ham also jumped in to help Shem unwrap Lazaria. Everyone else looked on in awe. God looked on in joy.

When she was free Lazaria never looked so lovely and pristine. She raised her blue eyes up and said, "God is the resurrection and the life, those who believe in God, even though they die will live, and everyone who lives and believes in God will never die."

Sha-me approached her daughter and was the first to hug her with a great motherhug, while tears of joy streamed down her eyes. Lazaria too was crying, as were Coochie and Aurelia and Shem as they all clustered together for a group hug full of exhilaration.

Noah was stunned to see the powerful effect of what he assumed to be a mind game, a benign number theory.

God smiled, happy to be vindicated for His unresponsiveness, and happy to see Lazaria's cheeks grow pink again.

Coochie was anxious to ask Lazaria what it felt like to be dead, but didn't want to cut into the bliss of the moment.

"Do you hear that?!" blurted Ham not wanting to deviate from the miracle they just witnessed, but unable to contain his own fabulous revelation.

"No Ham," replied Noah. "I hear nothing, what is it?"

Ham responded, "That's exactly it! We hear nothing! It has stopped raining! Hallelujah!" The forty days of rain are over. It is finished and the new world awaits us. We are ready." Even the animals were hushed by the sudden ceasing of the pounding rain.

Moments of silence for confirmation was followed by cheers. This moment with the miracle of Lazaria's resurrection being followed by the end of the rain was too powerful even for a round of Lazaria's alleluia-chant. The family stood in silence with their heads bowed in awe. Some of them holding hands, others just touching the body of brother or sister.

Indeed each man and woman felt as if he or she was a new creation, all vestiges of the evil and wicked world were gone from their memories, washed away by the deadly waters of the baptism. They had been given a second birth, the birth as children of God in the womb of a large wooden ark.