1. Two Wait for Lent

This coming Wednesday my sister from out West will have ashes placed on her forehead and then she will go to her job looking humble and lovely. I am so happy for her. In two weeks we plan to meet-up and then for a while we will climb the holy mountain together! I know it won’t be easy and we will have to take turns giving each other lifts over big fallen tree trunks but when we get there we will be radiant and beautiful like brides.

Today I am sitting and waiting on a big rock that looks like the little toe of the mountain’s foot. When I look up I can’t even see the top for all the trees. There aren’t too many people here yet. This is where all of the aspiring immortals will meet leaving behind the billions of mortals who don’t like to climb or who don’t believe that there is anything special at the top. I am here early, not because I want to be at the beginning of the line, that would never happen since my sister will go first, but just because I feel so sluggish and dirty and I know that this is where I must go to get better.

While I’m sitting here waiting I wonder why Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 whole starving days after He was baptized. I wonder if it had anything to do with the 40 days that Noah and his family had to deal with the devastating rains, or the 40 days that Moses spent with God when he received the Ten Commandments from Him. I wonder if Jesus, when He was in the desert for 40 days, thought about how His ancestors ate manna for 40 years after they left Pharaoh's grip in Egypt or about how they wandered through the desert for another 40 years of punishment because when they went to spy out the promised land (for 40 days) everyone but Joshua and Caleb didn't trust God that it could be theirs and if all this has anything to do with the fact that Jesus, after the resurrection walked around the earth for 40 days, eating and drinking, and visiting with His friends before He went to stay in God.

I read that God kept the Israelites wandering for 40 years to reach the Promised Land to humble and to test them, to know what was in their heart, whether or not they would keep His commands. Maybe forty years is a time of real testing and forty days is the tenth tithe part of that, the triumphant cream on top for people like Noah and Moses and Jesus who God already knows and simply wants to talk with or to protect. As for me during the forty day climb, I wonder if I should pretend that I’m in the ark hiding from all the deadliness around me or that every day of Lent is like a year of eating manna and being guided by a cloud to the Promised Land.

While I’m sitting here and waiting for everyone to show up and for the march to begin I also wonder why the difference between the word immortal and the word immoral is just one little ‘t’ in the middle and if that has anything to do with the big wooden T that tried to kill Christ forever. The + separates the immorals from the immortals. Hey, I like that!

2. Powerful Blood

“Asa, pass me that brick. Listen to me. Yesterday, this man went over to Pharaoh and demanded that he let all of us Jews go off to worship our God.”

“Who vus this kind of man, a crazy Levite?”

“I don’t know Asa, but let me tell you I saw he had a long rod and he was pointing it up to da sky ven all of a sudden he put it on da ground and it turned into a serpent. Vut to do you tink of that!”

“Okay now I know you’re meshugana. Have you been getting too much sun Ben?

“I was afraid to tell you, but now I have nothing to lose. Zipporah told me that she saw him walk on water Sabbath last , and if that vusn’t enough, the man spit on mud and blind Uri could suddenly see. Hev you heard him lately? All Uri vuntz to do is sing. That Levite, the miracles, he must be sent from the Lord. Who else can do these things?”

Asa’s interest blossomed. “Vut else do you know about dis guy? Whose son?”

“From father, I do not know. I heard he vus adopted, but his mother must be a saint. A more trusting woman the world has never known. Her name may be Mary, I dunno. I heard his brother is that guy Aaron who lives by the north pasture.”

“So vut did Pharaoh say; are we leaving? Let me know now, I vill pack my bags and never come back. Vut I would give to have a day off and worship God in peace. In 350 years I haven’t been able to call one day my own. You know Ben, dat’s not the verst thing. ”

“So vut is verst den dat?”

“Heving an Egyptian vith a vip tell me vut to do morning noon and night, dat’s a bad thing, I can hate him. But Ben, how do I get away from the corruption inside my own flesh? I vunt peace in there and all I get is vurry and anger. Vun minute I vunt to steal because I am greedy, the next minute I vunt to spread rumors. Vut am I a slave to myself, a slave to sin? Could I ever be free from this inner devil?”

“ Vut can ve do, Asa. Those thoughts, they are natural; it humanity talking to you.”

“No, Ben. I don’t believe that. I vunt to be free from such thoughts more than I vunt to be free from Pharaoh’s little Arab whipping boy. God help me.”

Just as the two were diving deeper into their conversation Pallu, Reuben’s son, rushes towards Asa and Ben with sweat percolating from his temples and armpits, streaming in rivulets down his back spitting on the cats below. Pallu as if he was angel of the Lord rising over the dusty street’s horizon whispers as a shout, “Brothers, the lamb of God will die for us tonight. Be prepared for freedom, be prepared to live. Tonight.” Passing Ben and Asa, Pallu sent forth his miraculous message until he was swallowed by dust and distance.

There was a time when every household took its unblemished lamb or goat and then the whole assembled congregation of Israel slaughtered the innocent animals at twilight, together for the remission of sinfulness. Someone had to pay. God forbid that it should be the human who would die for his own crimes against God’s ways. Justice is unbearable. But that was not this night. On this night only one lamb was slaughtered and the congregation of Israel passed that lamb’s blood from household to household and dashed bloody paint over the two doorposts and the lintel of each house of Israel, God’s chosen people. As one family, together they ate the body of the lamb. This blood annihilated death.

For that night, death swept through Egypt and every first born both animal and human died, but not one child of God died, on whose doorpost was painted the blood of the lamb, not one died. Powerful blood, life blood, miraculous blood.

On that night Pharaoh, whose dead son pierced his heart, surrendered to the demands of the Levite. On that night the demons shrunk and the holy children of God were set free to march to a new country. On that night death swallowed itself and Asa’s wish came true. The shackles that bound gods to Pharaoh and sin were miraculously unlocked and the path to the Holy Land, the Promised Land that flows with milk and honey became the quest of each and every Child of God. There was just the small matter of traveling there.

This year, Great Lent begins with Passover and the Crucifixion. 

3. Exodus II

Anyone who has read the Bible cover-to-cover will probably have noted the number of times the Exodus Story was retold. Over and over again God reminds His people that they were miraculously freed from bondage. “Never forget; tell your children; do this every year as a reminder of how the Lord your God freed you from the bondage of Pharaoh’s Egypt.” This emphasis was applied neither to the miraculous creation story, nor to the great story of Abraham and his sons, and not even to the shocking story of the purging of mankind on earth except for Noah and his zoo-ark. All of these events and many more are at least as significant as the one about the brave man, Moses, with a magic stick releasing a few thousand slaves from their master’s stronghold. And yet, it is the Exodus alone that is commemorated annually in Passover fasts and over and over again in the Bible. Why is this?

I suspect that it is because God wants humankind to renew the psychological/spiritual journey away from bondage and to be grateful for His power.

The parallel is striking between the Exodus story of Moses leading the Jews away from Egypt and the story of Christ leading mankind away from sin and death. One group goes to the Promise Land, the other to the land of immortality. The relationship between the bondage of slavery and the bondage of sin is an old concept; however by overlaying the Exodus story onto the Christ story, the parallels are not only remarkable, they help us to see more clearly our plight as Christians. The physical Exodus is not so very different than the spiritual journey children of God must take to reach the promise of a land where we will live absolutely free from war, illness, poverty, and want. The Promise Land is still being held out for us and we still must move from one place to another to be there.

This physical/spiritual Exodus is best reconstructed during Great Lent when each day can represent one year of travel. And yet this journey does not end with the crucifixion, it begins with it and ends with the Resurrection where we can find ourselves right smack in the middle of the Promise Land of immortality. Forty years in forty days about forty hours. Never forget that God set you free and that you have somewhere to go. I hope you will continue to be with me on this journey. We have surprises in store for you. 

4. Children of God

If you are reading this blog for the first time during Lent, you should be aware that you have entered a story that overlays the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt to the Promise Land with the Journey of Aspiring Immortals to the Kingdom of God that is on the new immortal Earth. The parallels are striking. The Exodus can teach us Christians some very important lessons about attitude and relationship. For more about this comparison go to Exodus II explained. The series began with Two Wait for Lent.

“Hey Ben, do you feel different?”

“I think so, but what do you mean Asa?”

“I know this sounds strange, don’t laugh, but ever since yesterday when we walked through the sea I feel as though I swallowed that cloud that we were following. The Spirit of God that guided us lives inside of me now, inside my heart. It’s as if I was baptized by the sea and now I am, uh...we are like new people. I hope we’re still Jewish! And you’re not going to believe this but last night while we were setting up camp I saw little tongues of fire over everyone’s head instead of the big pillar of fire that we were following before. Was I hallucinating? I was so exhausted that I couldn’t even talk about it until now.”

“No Asa, I saw it too, we all did. Who can talk with all this walking? It’s not like this is a highway, you know. Who else, except the wild camels maybe, hev travelled from Egypt to the Promise Land? This is not a wilderness it’s an obstacle course. Asa, my brother, let me confess; sometimes all I can think about is my old comfy bed. I even vunt to slip on those familiar chains. When I worked for Pharaoh I had a little gelt, a routine, fresh water and food! This hunger, don’t get me started. Sometimes these days I think lamb chops, I think about Bubba’s wife...I want to hate all of these stinkin shlemeels around me. Sometimes Asa, not always. God forgive me. I don’t know if this trek is more physical or more mental. We have to concentrate so much on putting one step in front of the other to reach that land of milk and honey. Honey mmm. How can we focus on our feet and on not gossiping too?”

“Ben stop it. You would be better off not letting yourself think at all then to have such thoughts. Remember Lot’s wife. It’s a wonder you haven’t turned into a pillar of salt and crumbled in front of my eyes. You will NEVER see the Promise Land with such an inner battle going on. Who can win if you are fighting yourself and God too? Love yourself by loving God enough to believe that He knows what’s best for you. Right now, it’s to walk and not to complain. Tomorrow it will be something else. Put your stomach in your back pocket for a while and think only goodness, think about the sun and how reliable it is and how warm and giving it is. Think about our God and His promise to Abraham. Look around at all of Abe’s children. Not bad so far! 100 years old and a pregnant wife. Imagine and laugh. Speaking of God, has anyone seen the man of God lately? He was all over town while we were still in Egypt, but now where is he? Maybe we swallowed him too! ”

“You’re right! I haven’t seen him in weeks! Hey Zeporah, come over here. Where have you been? I haven’t seen you lately either. Do you have anything left to eat, I’m starving! Asa, slow down. Shhh. Quiet. I think we’re stopping.”

The whole congregation of new Israelites, the multitudinous children of the promise to Abraham, this moving nation came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai on the fifteen day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. The whole congregation came to a halt as they crossed the field of Elohim and stopped to worship their God who brought them out of the land where they had been slaves and Who had washed their souls of corruption in the sea. The water never touched them but the miracle of walking through the sea of tears killed every ounce of doubt that their God is stronger than death, more powerful than animal-life, that this God of theirs would protect them from all harm on this journey. And that indeed someday, when the marching stopped they would rest with a mighty God in a new incorruptible world. And this thought carried them over the risky rocky road. The God who guided them from within gave them rest. And without a leader in sight, they lifted their hands and they lifted their hearts and they sang a new song. One person after another sang songs of thanksgiving and worship.

Zeporah’s voice as of an angel in soprano-chant pierced the air, “Oh mighty God, creator of every bird that sings and every caterpillar that crawls. What a mighty God you are to have crushed the stronghold that was around our necks and ankles. Oh mighty God my love for you knows no bounds. Gladly I would walk over broken glass and hot sand if only to reach your loving arms.”

And Harry followed Zeporah with,

“Oh Lord, grant us to greet this coming day in Peace.

Help us in all things to rely upon Thy Holy Will.

In every hour of the day, reveal Thy will to us.

Bless our dealings with all who surround us.

Teach us to treat all that comes to us throughout the day with peace of soul.

And with the firm conviction that Thy Will governs all.

In unforeseen events let us not forget that all are sent by Thee.

In all our deeds and words, guide our thoughts and feelings.

Teach us to act firmly and wisely without embittering and embarrassing others.

Give us the strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring.

Direct our will.

Teach us to Pray.

Pray Thou Thyself in us.”

And the shofar bellowed and the sun set and the whole congregation of new Israelites like a choir of angels in unison from the infinite depths of their souls shot forth Hallelujahs and Amen.

And Ben was no longer hungry, but filled with love and life, he like the thousands of pilgrims with him quietly made their beds and fell into a deep, sound, and restful sleep.

5. Our Daily Manna

If you are reading this blog for the first time during Lent, you should be aware that you have entered a story that overlays the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt to the Promise Land with the Journey of Aspiring Immortals to the Kingdom of God that is on the new immortal Earth. The parallels are striking. The Exodus can teach us Christians some very important lessons about attitude and relationship. For more about this comparison go to Exodus II explained. The series began with Two Wait for Lent.

“Asa, wake up! Wake up from the dead. The sun is shining, it’s time to live.”

With squinting eyes to sip the light, Asa reluctantly left his dream-world where he had been enjoying a happy reunion with his aunts Marietta, Despina and Phillippa who one by one had left him for the afterlife when he was a young impoverished boy. During the joyous reunion, hugs and coos, long missed familiar smiles, sparkling eyes of jolly rotund women, the aunties assured Asa that God was alive and that they too breathed angelic air. To leave such festivities for the wilderness of Shur where they hadn’t even sipped water in days a man must be deranged. Try as he did, Asa could not return to the happy reunion. Aunties were engulfed by the quicksand of wakefulness without even a good by or so long, and with so many more questions left unanswered.

“Good morning Ben, what do you want from me now.”

“I am hungry Asa. I have been asking around; the crumbs are going to the women and children. Have you a morsel to share with a brother who loves you?”

“Ben, do you remember what the man of God told us to ask of the Lord? Don’t bruise your mind, I’ll tell you. Pray by saying, ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ Why starve when all we need to do is pray. Let us congregate and ask. Will God say no? ”

So like sheepdogs Ben and Asa herded their fellow pilgrims into a bald patch of land forming a large plate of hungry humanity upon the earth’s table, a nest of wide mouth infant birdies. From a makeshift perch Asa bellowed to be heard by God as well as by the pilgrims before him, “Our Father, Who Art in Heaven, hallowed is Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” As a response to a tap by an invisible conductor the whole orchestra of Israel in unison turned their heads to the right looking toward the wilderness there, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in a luminous cloud. At once all heads bowed and thousands of eyelids shut out the blinding light while hearts trembled with fear and awe. The Lord spoke to each man, woman, and child in their own hearts,

“Your spirits live in tyrannical bodies. I will give you each day your daily bread but know this, if Adam and Eve could not remain in Paradise without controlling their appetites how will you enter the Promise Land without the fast I lay before you?”

“My children,” spoke the Lord God in every heart that could hear “do not allow your stomachs to call you back into your former bondage to sin. For you travel not by foot and muscle but by spirit and mind. I have delicacies for you unimaginable if only you will subdue your flesh.”

“I will give to you my beloved pilgrims your daily bread, this is my pleasure. Yet, you must know what your Egyptian neighbors did not know. Sin resulted from surrendering spirit to body. On this journey learn how to surrender your body that your spirit may grow stronger. You are to become a new nation worthy to reside in the Promise Land as immortals. With your cooperation My image and likeness can be restored to each of you so that you will never know sickness, disease or death again. But during this journey you are not to eat from blood or of blood.

1 For the life is in the blood, and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life which it represents. Only the blood of the Savior may you eat that you may have immortal life. This is the atonement you need. The blood of animals is mortal blood. This blood you may not eat. 2 There is a place on this road called Kilboth-hattaavah [the place of sensuous desire] because there they buried the people whose physical appetite caused them to sin.

On this journey to the Promise Land you will eat My Son’s immortal Blood for atonement and for strength. Do not mix precious Blood with the blood of mortal animals. Anything that has no blood you may eat, even shellfish with no blood you may eat. Kill the spinach, kill the wheat, kill the orange, pluck the bean from mother earth, murder the clam, but of chickens you may not eat. For their blood, even their egg’s blood will diminish the life of your spirit. If you can do this you will reach the Promise Land. On the road ahead dangers lurk, you need the strength that abstinence offers. “

And if those words had been lightening they could not have moved more surely and swiftly from God’s heart to theirs. So pierced was this holy congregation so that each man, woman, and child believed that he had just feasted from a richly laden table in the desert. Asa’s heart was so full that that his hollow stomach gladly collapsed to make room for that prince of organs.

3 And when the cloud had gone, behold on the face of the wilderness there lay a fine, round flake and flake-like thing, as fine as hoarfrost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they called it Manna which means what is it for they did not know what it was. And Asa said to them, This is the bread which the Lord gives us to eat. Let every man gather of it as much as he will need, an cup for each person, according to the number of your persons; take it, every man for those in his tent. The people did so and gathered some more and some less. He who gathered much had nothing left over and he who gathered little had no lack. And every day of the journey until they reached the Promise Land, Israel was given its daily bread and hungered nevermore.

•1. Lev 17.11

•2. Num 11:34

•3. Exodus 16:15-17

Soul Food:

In the very act of satisfying his natural appetite, a man forfeits his spiritual understanding. -Ezekial

Help me o Lord not to be like the first Adam who succumbed to temptation-broke the fast and died, but to be like the second Adam (Jesus Christ) who overcame temptation and destroyed death to return us to Paradise.

Let hunger til the garden of your soul.

God humbled you and allowed you to hunger and fed you manna, so you would personally recognize that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

A change of diet represents a change of life.

My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to do His work

6. The Mighty If

If you are reading this blog for the first time during Lent, you should be aware that you have entered a story that overlays the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt to the Promise Land with the Journey of Aspiring Immortals to the Kingdom of God that is on the new immortal Earth. The parallels are striking. The Exodus can teach us Christians some very important lessons about attitude and relationship. For more about this comparison go to Exodus II explained. The series began with Two Wait for Lent.

In Egypt this holy band of pilgrims had been known as the explosion of Joseph’s family, nothing more than the reproductive success of his father Jacob also known as Israel. It was during the exodus and long monotonous walk to the Promise Land that the pilgrims became acquainted with the God of their forefathers.

It was not because the Promise Land was so far away or because they had no wheels to mobilize them that it took forty years to get there; it was that the children of Israel were to become the children of God and there was so much to learn.

A man, even a woman, is born with certain traits that determine appearances and intellectual and psychological capacity. The human bio-machine can spend a lifetime responding to every pitch that comes its way with programmed accuracy. That is fine for Egyptians, Philistines, and Samarians but the future residents of the Promise Land were to be holy. Holiness means different in a sacred way.

The God of Israel fathered them. He offered them protection from enemies, abundance, health, wealth and happiness for the small price of “if”.

(Ex.15:26)” If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, and will do what is right in His sight, and will listen and obey His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I brought upon the Egyptians for I am the Lord Who heals.”

If you do as He said by your own free will – no slavery, no genetic imperative – by your own self rule and with His help then you will inherit the Promise Land.

‘If’ was the tiny invitation into a university of being.

Besides the Ten Commandments there are hundreds and hundreds of ifs. There are ifs about how to relate to God and ifs for how to relate to each other. To pilgrims who wanted to become holy, assistance is given for strengthening and repair. For strengthening there is the exercise of what not to eat, there are divine interventions (you know: miracles) and for repair there is the blood of atonement.

“Asa, Asa there are so many rules to follow I can’t even remember them all, I am doomed. How will I ever reach the Promise Land in one piece?”

“Ben, tell me, do you love God?”

“Asa, how can you ask such a question?”

“Who do you love more, God or yourself?”

“Okay Asa, I’ll play along. You tell me who I love more.”

“Last night you were telling me about how Barak offended you. You said that he stole your money and used it to help your sister abort her baby, your nephew. You are still angry about these things and they happened so long ago.”

“True, God I love but this man I will never forgive. Such a man should not be allowed to walk healthy in this world. Such a man should never enter the Promise Land. If I see him there I’ll leave. I’ll go somewhere else!”

“Ben, listen to me. If God tells you to invite Barak to your tent and feed him can you do that?

“Asa what does this all have to do with my love for God? God, I love. He is good. He has always helped me. He can protect me, and heal me and give me things. I like that! God I love. Barak, I despise – He takes from me without asking, he is a bully with a nice smile.”

“What if God tells you to love Barak? Do you love God enough to obey?

“Asa, I’ll tell you a secret. I never do what I don’t want to do. I think God loves me the way I am and whatever I think, do, or say is okay with Him. Oh, every once in a while I take the blood treatment in case I am wrong.”

“Ben, my friend what a gambler you turned out to be!”

“”What gambler? I love God and love covers a multitude of sins. I’m covered.”

“’If’ is such a mighty word Ben, you should take it more seriously. Did you know what the man of God said, ‘The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who REALLY loves Me, and whoever really loves Me will be loved by God.’ Ben, love is not as wide and tall as you make it out to be. Love requires sacrifice, sometimes a ton of sacrifice. Didn’t the man of God prove that to you? Do you think he wanted to be crucified?

“Pay attention to that little word ‘if.’ If you obey God’s commands and the man of God’s commands, then and only then you are not fooling anyone even yourself into thinking you love God and He loves you.

In a whisper with neck stretched out to reach Ben’s ear Asa breathed the following words, “Let me tell you a secret. I myself even overheard the man of God say, 'Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way to destruction and many are those who are entering it. But the gate is narrow and straight that leads to life, and few are they who find it.'” And then as if Asa could hold back no longer the sound of his voice surged, “FEW!!! (Matt 7: 13,14). Do you see this highway of people?! Most of us will not make it into the Promise Land. Was the man of God lying to scare me? All this walking and starving, and then when I get there, maybe I don’t enter. Are you right to think that because you love yourself so much God feels that way too and He doesn’t mind that you don’t obey Him?

“Ben, maybe you subdue your stomach a little more then will you be strong enough to subdue your mind and heart into obedience. This is a difficult road we walk. Have you noticed as the years go by, fewer and fewer people are with us? Never mind; the Promise Land will not be crowded, that is good.”

7. Road Warriors

If you are reading this blog for the first time during Lent, you should be aware that you have entered a story that overlays the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt to the Promise Land with the Journey of Aspiring Immortals to the Kingdom of God that is on the new immortal Earth. The parallels are striking. The Exodus can teach us Christians some very important lessons about attitude and relationship. For more about this comparison go to Exodus II explained. The series began with Two Wait for Lent.

Ben and Asa could usually be found walking side by side, chatting enough to become oblivious to their sore feet and hunger. Each morning as they set out, most of the pilgrims positioned themselves in the same quadrant of the moving mass of humanity that traveled to a dirge-like rhythm in gender segregated groups of families and tribes. Infants and toddlers swaddled in cotton cocoons dangling from strong female shoulders. God’s swarm of speaking bees intuitively knew when it was time for quiet so they could listen for approaching enemies.

But that wasn’t now. Few clusters were talking about anything besides their thirst, some complaining, some squinting into the distance for a river or even a pond in Olympian competition to be the bearer of the good news. It had been three full days since the last drop of water cooled a parched tongue.


“Yes, David, my child what is it?” answered Zeporah with refreshed amazement at every new word that emanated from the miniature lips of her three year old baby.

“Why doesn’t anyone ask God to make water come out of these rocks for us?”

“Yes David, rocks we have, water we want. How clever you are! Don’t we always ask God to give us the exact opposite of what we have? If we have sickness we ask for health. If we have doubt, we ask for faith. If we have worry, we ask for trust. If we have war, we ask for peace. We have rocks, now let’s ask for water. My pure one, how could the God of our fathers deny you? You be the one to ask.”

“Mama, will you ask Him with me?” Spotting a nested boulder David ran over to it and climbed on top to wait for his mother to join him. Letting the others pass, the woman and the child set out to relieve their fellow voyagers.

“Okay David, I will begin. O’ Lord, who is teaching us with this journey to trust you, to depend on you for every life sustaining element, hear our prayer. I thirst.” Zeporah then nudged David with her piercing green eyes to follow her lead.

“Lord, you made us to need water,” David hesitated searching for the right words to say from his limited vocabulary “and you are pushing us to the good land. Why do you wait for me to ask? Is it because you want to show me that you are the God who hears? Hear me. I thirst.”

Zeporah and David bowed their heads, small tender pink hand clutching her big rough hand. Suddenly David let go and ran over to pick up a straight stick that he spotted in the brush. In less time than it would take to sneeze, David was back on top of the rock. He looked up into the heavens, then straight to the passing chattering throng, then behind him to the oncoming masses. Meanwhile, Zeporah slid off the rock. David lifted his little hand as high as he could and with all his might he struck the granite boulder. Once.

A geyser of the sweet, clear life-giving drink, shot up a good seventy feet from a crevice that David’s unlikely tap made, into the air and returned raining on the giggling boy with the cool refreshment of answered prayer.

Ben and Asa, who were just approaching the scene were among the first to rush over. After looking up with mouths wide open to receive the life- renewing water, and after a few hefty gulps, they quickly became self appointed crowd control officials.

“Oh Lord who provides! How patient you are watching us suffer all this time, deliver us from our own impatience and self reliance.” whispered Zeporah carrying her little savior-child away from the dense epicenter to make room for their thirsty brethren.

8. Holy Intruders

Hydrated and ready for the next fifty miles, our cheerful band of pilgrims were chirping away fantasizing about what a land of milk and honey would actually look like, and about different ways of preparing manna. The shining sun met no obstacles on its way to brighten their path so the whole world was clear and crisp. Several men pulled flutes out of their packages to delight the air and ears and to give a little rhythm to their steps on this merry day.

No one knew that they were marching straight into the territory of the Amalek, a particularly unfriendly and brutal family. Until now, the Children of God had been so thoughtful of battling internal dilemmas: hunger, worry, illness and then one level up, societal issues: helping the aged, infirm and children keep up, water management, and tent set up and break-down, that it hadn’t occurred to them that there would be a third level of conflict and turmoil to deal with, that is the small matter of enemies.

They had never thought of themselves as intruders before. But so they were for between Egypt and God’s Green Acre the People of God now had to pass through many strange and mysterious cultures. How they would maintain their unique purpose and identity, not to mention their lives was clearly going to be a joint effort between the people and their God. Each man, woman, and child knew in his and her heart that enemy territory would define him or her and their corporate mission. Like ballerinas on a high wire this band of holy pilgrims would need muscle and focus to get across the room of battle.

When the congregation of Israel quieted itself as it did in intervals to listen for enemies the beasts of Amalek were heard.

“Asa, did you hear what I heard?”

“I’m afraid so Ben. This isn’t going to be easy, how would you like it if 600,000 people, not including women, children, the elderly and the tribe of Levi walked across your back yard?”

“We won’t eat much.” joked Ben, more nervous than he sounded.

“The way I see it Ben, we have three choices. If these earth-bound landowners don’t accommodate us people of God we can: 1. Kill them, loot their towns and keep on going, 2. Tell them about who we are and see if they want to join us, which would mean that they would have to forsake their gods, maybe families too, or 3. We can settle down and join them and forsake our God.”

“Asa, it is amazing how you made killing and looting sound like such a good option. You know how impossible it is to convince anyone who wasn’t given the Spirit and the Blood to receive guidance; besides how impossible it is to choose someone God hasn’t chosen for Himself to be as crazy-different as we are, and worse, you know what would happen if we joined them. We would surely die. No Promise Land, no immortality, just oats and hay until we dust-up like animals. Nope, that’s not the life for me Asa.”

“So, Ben, it looks like we have no choice. We must accept our differences and plow through the threatening obstacles no matter how strong or how alluring they are. God is with us. We are in this world but we are not of this world. Our job is to cling to the Lord, and not to surrender to foreigners that would corrupt. No compromise. Can we do that my friend?”

“Let’s see here, Asa. Our choice is life or death. I’ll choose life! Where is my hatchet?


(What does it mean to kill them? Separate yourself, don’t accept the compromises they force on you to adopt their priorities: lust of power, lust of the flesh and pride of life.)

9. Judging Gods

“Ben you’re all bloody, let me clean you off, does it hurt?” Zeporah was a good mother to her friends as well as to her own children.

“Zeporah, I didn’t think I would see the light of day again. It was odd, those men were beating me like they really hated me, what did I do to deserve this? I was screaming for God’s help and they just kept hammering on me. I hurt! Ugh-” Ben was so exhausted that he was a little surprised to hear that he had the energy to speak.

“Ben, do you remember your Father, God rest his soul?”

“Of course I remember my father Zep. So what? Ouch, don’t do that!”

“Did your father give you crutches when you were learning to walk?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, of course not.”

“How to do expect our God to teach us to be strong and faithful if He always rushes to our rescue? Do you think that He wants a nation full of weak puppets for neighbors when we get to our new homeland? Better He should live in a world of puppy-dogs not men. Besides, you’re still alive aren’t you? What happened to the enemy? Don’t tell me. ” Zeporah finished up the bandage and was packing her first aid kit when Ben grabbed her arm.

“Don’t go. I want to tell you about Asa. He accused me of taking the rug he wanted from Uncle Abe’s tent after he died last week. We both were permitted to enter the tent and carry out mementos. I let Asa go first, then I went in after he came out. He waited for me and when he saw me carry out the rug he insisted that I had no right to take it since he was Abe’s oldest nephew. He claimed that I hid it before he entered. Now he says that I am not showing him respect since I won’t let him have it! Respect, how can I respect such a lying fool?”

“Don’t argue with Asa. Ben you two love each other too much for that. Let us go to the Holy Man, Moshua’s, tent of judgment. I will tell Asa to meet us there. Moshua knows God’s will. Will you accept his judgment?”

Ben’s gaze told Zeporah that he had travelled eons away in that moment. Suddenly, a powerful arctic shudder scurried through his body. A quick double shake of his head returned Ben to Zeporah in the present, “You know when we lived in Egypt the court system was so corrupt. The person who found favor with the judge or the lawyers won. No one could even guess the outcome of a case because decisions were always political or subjective. There were no laws, only opinions! Such a court is impossible. Zeporah, I have eaten bitter greens and sour lemons, but no food is as bitter as Egyptian injustice. I will walk over hot coals for a year to flee from such a country.”

“Well, Ben, calm down, that was before. We know that from time to time one person’s will or point of view will conflict with another’s. That is natural. We don’t know instinctively what is right, maybe someday, but not yet. We are still too Egyptian. Two people conflict because each has self centered motives. They need a holy man to unite them.

But Ben, tell me the truth do you think you can you accept God’s judgment if it is different from what you want?”

Instead of answering Zeporah Ben spoke to the wind, “Asa you are a schmuck! You had just as much of a chance for the rug as I.”

Zeporah walked away, leaving Ben alone with his anger. She went to Asa’s tent and found him rubbing his feet. “L’hiam Zeporah, my dear. What brings your lovely face to my humble dwelling?”

“Asa I heard about your troubles with Ben, I have come to tell you what I told him. Do not let the sun go down on your anger; you have a conflict, you also have a just judge. Go to meet Ben at Moshua’s tent at sunset and let the Holy One settle this once and for all. Is peace worth more to you than wool?”

“I will be there, tell that rat to bring my rug. Did Ben tell you that my grandmother, Ashal after whom I was named, wove the rug?”

This evening there was a longer line than usual at Moshua’s tent praying in low voices, Barukh Adonai elohim melekh haolam. God’s will, not mine be done.

These were the preparatory prayers that were required before entering the tent of judgment. Each person was allowed to bring one companion who was familiar with the circumstances and might be able to testify that the truth and only the truth was being spoken.

When it was their turn, Zeporah entered the tent with Ben and Asa. By removing their sandals all three acknowledged that the tent of judgment was holy ground.

Moshua asked each man if he wanted God’s will to be done. Each replied that he did. Then Moshua asked each man if He loved his brother. Asa was quick to reply that he used to.

“Oh,” said Moshua. “Does love tell time that you used to?”

“No.” Asa replied. “Love doesn’t know time Holy One but it knows circumstances. When Ben showed that he cared more about the rug than about me, he lost my love.”

“Where did your love go Asa that Ben should lose it?”

“I suppose it came back to me Holy One. Someday I’ll give it to another more respectful person worthy of my love.”

“Exactly!” exclaimed Moshua. “It went right back to you. You took the love you had for Ben and you gave it to yourself.”

“Now Ben, do you love Asa?”

“Holy One, I took the love I felt for Asa since I was a young child and I gave it to the rug.”

“Yes! Yes! Now, the rug has Ben’s love and Asa loves himself! What a predicament this is!”

“Tell me gentlemen, what kind of world are you creating where love is like a pebble being tossed around?”

“You know Asa that love when turned back upon one’s self become moldier than day old manna. Love by definition is like an arrow that the heart shoots outward. And Ben you must know that love is only meant for humanity, you may not bestow it on inanimate objects or even animals. So you have both broken the laws of love.

“Since love is the fundamental law of God that you must honor, then tell me how this case must be resolved. Ben, you speak first. If what you do with your love is important to God, hence to you, then what must happen with the rug?”

“Holy one, the rug must be given to Asa; that is clear.”

“And Asa, you know the law of love forbids you to keep your love. If manna cannot be kept overnight, I tell you that love kept cannot last for even an hour. What must you do with your love before it poisons you and sends you back to the slavery of Egypt?”

Sheepishly, Asa replied, “Can I give my love to Zeporah? God forbid I should give it to that rug thief.”

“Zeporah, will you accept Asa’s love?”

“No, I will not!” retorted Zeporah. “What he is trying to give me is not true love; it is a false imitation of love because it is egotistical love. Such love is good for nothing at all.”

“Why do you say that?” Moshua asked with a little smirk on his lips and a glisten in his eyes.

“He only gives it to me because his pride will not let him give it to Ben. That is not love, it is pride; it is still self love. What Asa wants to give me is to hide the fact that he is still keeping his self-love. I only get the shadow, a mirage that is not real. I will not entertain that shadow. ”

Smirk and glisten vanished as Moshua now spoke with ominous sternness. “Asa and Ben before you entered this tent, what was your prayer?”

“Holy One, I prayed that God’s will be done.” answered Asa.

“I as well.“ said Ben without being asked.

“Did you mean that or were they empty words, as dead as that rug of yours?”

Asa was quick to say, “I did not want them to be empty words Holy One.”

Ben took his turn. “Nor me, Holy One.”

“Then you both know what you must do. Ben speak.”

“Holy One, love commands me to do God’s will.”


“Love commands me to do God’s will.”

“Pray tell, what is God’s will my sons?”

This time Ben was first to reply. “God wills that I love Asa more than the rug.”

“Asa what does God’s will command you to do?”

“Love commands me to let Ben keep the rug as a symbol, a sacrificial piece of my heart being torn from my own flesh and handed to him.”

“Ben, what does love command of you?”

“Love commands me to give the rug to Zeporah for the sake of my brother’s soul. I loved the rug, but mostly because I wanted to hurt my brother for hurting me. Asa forgive me.”

“Only if you will forgive me, Ben.”

Moshua, took the men’s right hands between his own. The heat that radiated from Moshua’s hands seared their skin. No one flinched. Moshua looked up into the heavens and prayed, “Lord, these men are worthy to enter your holy land. Let them proceed in peace.”

Zeporah was beaming. Gentlemen have you tasted my poached manna burgers, they are out of this world. Come let’s celebrate the triumph of love. Thank you Moshua. The three pilgrims walked backwards to the door lest they turn their backs on the Holy One.

10. To Look Like God

“Asa, I wonder why Moshua climbed up the Holy Mountain to get the Ten Commandments, after he had been judge for so long. Isn’t that what you call putting the court before the laws? (tee-hee-hee shrug shrug.)

And if there are supposed to be only Ten Commandments, then why does Moshua go on and on about what to do and what not to do? What to wear, what to eat! It seems like there are ten thousand commandments to me.

And did you hear the latest? Love your enemy! If someone steals from you, let them have it! If he takes your shirt give him your coat too! And get this...if you want to be king you must be a servant to all. Do you think Moshua is getting too much sun Asa?

I don’t want to scare you but Zephora told me that she overheard Moshua tell some people that the Promise Land is in the heart. Now I am really confused. Are we going somewhere or not?!”

Ben grabbed Asa’s arm forcing him to stop walking and looked into his eyes to search for the truth. He trusted in Asa as if God lived inside of him with all of His wisdom and knowledge.

“Ben, how did you know that Jacob was your father?”

“Asa, why are you changing the subject? I am thinking that maybe we should get off this merry-go-round to nowhere. Come with me.”

“Your father Ben, stay with me.”

“Asa, there was no doubt that Jake was my bubby. We had the exact same nose, curly black hair, we laughed at the same stupid jokes. My mother, God rest her soul used to tell people that if she didn’t know any better she would think that Jakala spit me out. I know who my father was.”

“Did you love your father Ben?”

“Love? Asa, I worshipped the ground he walked on. I would follow him around like a baby chick because I wanted to hear what he had to say to me. I used to fight with my brothers over the front seat of the cart when he would take us for a ride. I loved my father. Now will you answer my question Asa? Do you think we should jump ship? ”

“Ben, my friend, my brother, you did nothing to become Jacob’s son. A physical world is a world where death is inevitable. But if we want to go to a world where there is no death, where milk and honey flow endlessly, and where there is no war, then we must become sons and daughters of the immortal God. With His commandments, commands, advise and laws, He is telling us what He is like so we can make ourselves look like Him, act like Him, think like Him and be part of Him.”

“Think about it this way, the commands are like saying curly hair, green eyes, bushy brows. If we want to look like our new Father, then we go for the look so He can ID us as His own. Make sense Benny?”



“Are we going somewhere or not?”

“Yes, Ben, we are going to the place where all of our desires meet all of our efforts. It is the most real place in the cosmos. But if it isn’t in your heart, then it isn’t anywhere. Will you keep walking with me Ben?”

11. The Good Poison

“Asa I’m never going to make it. No matter how hard I try to look like God as you say, to obey those commands, I fail. I think maybe He doesn’t want me anyway.”

“Ben, if it was easy the new land will be overcrowded with jerks like this place is. Have you sacrificed a lamb lately?”

“Yes! The lambs are getting to know me. They run whenever I come within ten feet of them! Every time I break a commandment, I put my hands on an unblemished lamb and watch his head being chopped off and then I have to eat it!

Can I tell you how often I’ve had to do that just this week alone? I feel like the butcher of Beirut! Maybe I could get rich selling the meat of all the animals I have to sacrifice. This isn’t working I am not any closer to being like God then I was a month ago. I’m so discouraged, and so sick of killing.”

“Quitters never win!” sung Asa glibly. “At least you’re still trying.”

“Be serious Asa.” begged desperate Ben.

“Let me tell you Ben, maybe you wouldn’t have to kill so much if you really identified with the animal. God wants us to see that in our physical world it is not just age and disease that destroy us, but it is our thoughts that lead to cruelty, selfishness, intolerance. If we can’t love each other, then how can God believe we love Him? Certainly we won’t always agree with Him either. We must be willing to let go of own opinions, for the sake of the greater good, like dying to the self.” explained Asa.

And then Asa added, “It is important that we see with our own eyes the effect of our flaws. On the day that we stop killing those animals we stop realizing how serious is breaking of the commandments.”

“Asa, I am so sorry that these animals have to die for my stubborn self will. I feel miserable about it.”

“Good, so you should. Listen Ben, it is not just the lamb that dies because of the way you behave sometimes; in a way you are also killing your friends, your family. People you hurt don’t want to be near you. When they leave, they may as well be dead to you. You are contributing to this deadly world.”

“Asa, remind me to come to you every time I want some cheering up.”

“Until you learn to kill yourself, the Ben who looks too much like Jake and not enough like, say Moshua. Until you can die to yourself, deny yourself, then you will be a murderer of animals and people and you don’t deserve to enter the Promise Land.

BUT! There is a good poison that can help you die to yourself and look like God. It is called the holy Thank You. If you receive the holy Thank You because you truly want to look like God, you take the place of the lamb-inside yourself.”

“No more killing! This sounds too good to be true!” exclaimed Ben, beginning to cheer up. “Where do I get it?”

“The priests of God prepare the Good Poison in the Temple. But I warn you, like a lethal pill-do not take it unless you are truly sorry for your behaviors and want to look like God. This is not maple syrup; it is God’s-Blood. If you lie about wanting to die to self, you don’t enter the Promise Land. ”

Ben wandered away from Asa without even saying good-bye. So deeply was he immersed in his thoughts.

12. The Dead Son

My son, my son, why did you die? Where have you gone that I may follow and bring you back here to gaze upon you and adore you? How I longed to send you into the world to awaken the ignorant with your morning light. Around the world I traveled calling your name. No one could reunite us, with sympathy one after the other bid me farewell.

Why didn’t I memorize your every feature? How could I walk away to leave you to die alone? Forgive me; I did not know that the next hour would be so cruel.

Pharaoh was inconsolable. He didn’t know what to do with himself to escape the agony. Little did it matter to him that mothers and fathers throughout his nation shared this grief.

Instead he demanded to know how it was that those pitiful slaves escaped the demon death. “I can’t bear to see their bright faces, pathetic ignorance. Send them far away from my mournful heart!” shrieked Pharaoh to his body guards and then ran to the balcony threw open the doors and shouted to anyone who would hear,

“GO! Leave this place and me to wail without being heard by laughing eyes!”

The roots of the Passover celebration lie in deep worm-riddled darkness; the dead seed awaits its wheatness.

Drained from the inner explosion, Pharaoh flung himself on his couch wondering if the price of slaves had been worth these sobbing hearts and tear-vomiting eyes? Would that Egypt never knew Joseph, the ancestral dream reader, he thought to himself. Would that Egypt never offered refuge to Jacob’s family.

Rejoice that your work here is through o Israel, but rejoice even more that your final trek is to the bosom of Abraham and to his God. Yes, the Hebrew women rejoiced that the angel of death had passed by their doors last night. Mother after mother clutched her boy lest the demon Death return. Tears of joy and relief fell like spring rain on parched prison soil. Sons squirmed to be released from mother-hugs and run outside to help the men prepare for the Exodus. One by one mothers emerged from their tidy dwellings chirping and doing, packing pots and matzohs. They were united in mixed emotions. No one had left those dusty streets before. Where would they sleep; what would they eat, where were they going…and why?

Zeporah was the first to notice her neighbor’s tears.

“Mary! What is the matter? Come, let’s get ready to leave before Pharaoh changes his mind. Why are you crying Maria?”

“Oh, Zeporah, my Son is dead! My precious Son! What did He do to deserve this murder? We came to Egypt for refuge and we found Hades.” Mary eeked out these words between sobs. Her Son had been torn from the very core of her being; the pain was unbearable for her maternal sensibilities.

Yes, every Hebrew woman but one was glad on the morning following the Passover for when the angel of death swept through the city, Mary’s Son chased after him. Into the depths of Hades they wrestled until death, exhausted surrendered to Jesus, and relinquished his keys to the gates of Hades prison. Mary’s Son grabbed them quickly and unlocked the gate to release his brother Adam and his father Abraham and all of their children and also the innocent Egyptian sons.

“Where o where is my precious Son? You were my king and my master. How can I live another minute without You? Where did you go my Child that I may follow you there and bring you back to gaze upon you and to adore You? Who can I call to find Him for me?”

“Mother, it is I." whispered Jesus in her heart as loudly and clearly as if He had been standing behind the weeping woman. "I have arrived at My home and yours. Make your journey to this land that our God promised us. I will prepare a mansion for you here ma mere, bring my brothers and sisters with you. Fare the well.”

13. On The Wings of Glory


“Ben, wake up! It’s alright you are dreaming. Come, wake up!”

“Huh? Asa what are you doing here?”

“I was walking by your tent and I heard you crying so I came in and found you sleeping. You were saying something about your dead son. I didn’t even know you were married!”

“Oy vey smeer! Where was I, let me think.”  Ben was pensive, trying hard to go back rather than further into the reality of the moment. “I was back in Egypt on Passover night. Do you remember that night Asa? I felt the agony of those mothers and even Pharaoh when all the first-born sons of Egypt died. It was horrible Asa, a real nightmare, the death of innocent sons, even the son of Pharaoh, set us free.”

Giving up his effort to return to his dream Ben asked, “Asa, why did those innocent children have to die before Pharaoh let us go? Why did He harden Pharaoh’s heart? Wouldn’t it have been easier and nicer to soften Pharaoh’s heart so he would want to release us?”

“Ben, let’s think about it. For God to send us on our way to the Promise Land, of milk and honey and freedom, and even eternal life He had to work on two fronts: them and us! If it hadn’t been for the genocide of the sons would we all have been willing to so radically change our cushy lives and shlep for so long? After all, even a life of sin and slavery can get comfortably routine. But who could stay and face those Egyptian mothers? [And who can pass-up the offer of an indwelling Holy Spirit of God, peace, love, and immortality.] We were set up. No turning back for the wise. Who really wants slavery and sin if there is an alternative? We were shaken out of our old mindsets. I heard Moshua say that if you love God the kind of death that the sons experienced is only temporary. Temporary death is not the really scary kind anyway.”

“We have a mysterious God, don’t we Asa?”

Simultaneously sensing that God was listening to them Ben and Asa addressed the Lord with these words:

“Mighty God, we see your brilliance and stand amazed. You hold life in the palm of your hands and sprinkled it over the earth. You are a good father, sometimes stern and demanding, but merciful, and tolerant, and patient. Thank you.

There is no battle that we can lose when you reach out your muscular arm to help us. Our enemies are as ants before you. And yet when it appears that we are losing, it is only that a greater good will come to those who serve and worship You, our magnificent Lord.”

We see that You have set before us life and death. If life is nearness to you and death is separation then Ben and I [Asa and I] choose life! Receive us; please caste us not away from Your presence o Lord, take not your Holy Spirit from us, that we may follow You and serve You all the days of our lives, and into eternity to be kept in Your safety and peace.”

The soul-brothers closed their eyes. A warm sensation like a sacred hug came over them. More than ever, Ben and Asa looked forward to reaching the Promise Land where it was said that they would see the face of God, hear His voice and receive the physical arm clenching God-hug that both Ben and Asa longed for. With renewed vigor and unity they readied themselves for the day’s march. 

14. Black Silver

Holy Week in Eastern Christendom is not Lent. Time makes another somersault and lands feet down. During Lent a day could be forty years or four hours. The Holy Now where God lives without the regiment of sun-time could turn the Red Sea into the Jordan River, Pharaoh’s son and Moses into the Christ, and manna into fasting-food. The Holy Now could even make the leap from the sacrificial lamb to the crucifixion. This week is truly holy, truly different for the pilgrim and its God. It is no longer enough to be a Jew heading to the Promise Land somewhere in Israel. The journey of this week is towards the complete annihilation of death and a whole new science of life. As with other watershed moments in real time it is marked by betrayal.

Sensing that the end was near, most of the pilgrims picked up the tempo. Ben and Asa continued to pass the time amusing each other with their conversation. “Ben, let’s imagine a big yellow ball of light on which someone comes along and pours ink. I’ll bet that is what God saw when He watched beloved Joseph being sold by his brothers for twenty pieces of silver.”

“Asa, is that your convoluted way of imagining betrayal, a ball of inked-up light? Betrayal is torturous, it’s more like a dozen stabbing arrows piercing one’s back until love gives way to death.” Ben thrived on drama.

“Call it what you will Ben, but when you think of it, our journey began ages before the Passover night.”

“Twenty pieces of silver; imagine that! All that slavery and all this walking!” Ben’s mind quickly traversed thousands of years.

“Yes, I’m sure Ben, my friend, that you are worth at least thirty pieces of silver! I wonder who I can get to pay me that for you! Actually, that is all Judas got for betraying the Christ. Do know with inflation the brothers made out much better, but then again they had to divide the money.”

“No jokes now Asa, please.” Ben took a mental dive and then came up with: “I think we all felt a little betrayed by God when He let the goyim in. Have you noticed how much we’ve changed since they showed up? So many people couldn’t stand the idea and are still walking with their own tribes.” The thought that so many foreigners were praying to His God still stung Ben a little bit too.

Asa responded, “I don’t know who is taking whom where. Yes, the goyim joined the Jews but I think we are going much farther than we ever expected.

“Joseph was betrayed and we ended up as slaves to the Egyptians, and then Jesus was betrayed and we ended up in Rome and Greece, Constantinople, and the New India! Has it occurred to you that the betrayal of Joseph led to captivity and the betrayal of Jesus lead to dispersion?”

Ben was not really listening to Asa. Instead he kept talking hoping that Asa would listen to him. “Do you think the brothers may have been right to rid themselves of Joseph? After all how fair was it that Jacob favored him? And even more, wasn’t it right that Jesus was betrayed, after all He claimed to be the Son of God, the King of Israel. That broke a commandment or two!”

“Ben, my friend, do you suggest that jealousy should be pandered to? Let all the jealous of the world prevail!” Asa looked to the left and right. “What a horrid place this is. Yikes! Get me out of here!” Now Asa was mocking Ben but then became more serious. “Yes, Joseph was favored and Jesus was truly the Son of God. I suppose Truth bothers those who don’t like Truth. I hope that in the Promise Land everyone will love Truth, even when it stings!”

Ben was tired of thinking so hard, “Asa, let’s just mind our own business and watch the road so we make it. I have a sinking feeling that there are rough travels ahead.”

Asa wasn’t quite ready to let go of his strong position. “Ben, the pain of Truth only lasts for a moment. The betrayer is much worse off than the betrayed. Better we should make sure that we are not jealous of anyone, and let God have favorites, eh?” Now Asa was ready to move on.

“Deal!” agreed Ben, “By the way Asa did you get enough oil for your lamp at that last stop?”

15. Crucigedden

The congregation of Israel walked carefully through the valley of the shadow of death. Thick clouds suspended over the world darkened it as dusk. Neither manna nor water had passed through pilgrim lips for three days. Their strength came from the Lord who prepared them for the battle ahead.

Zeporah and Mary walked hand in hand. Little David followed close behind them. Only the sounds of their footsteps were heard by stray dogs they encountered on the way. Even Ben and Asa stopped chattering so they could listen for instruction from the Lord. They feared no evil.

Shame and humility walked with them. Those on the edges of this great mass of holiness were spat upon and mocked.” You fools!” shouted a stray man, “You think your God has prepared a home for you. Watch yourselves fall off the cliff ahead. Be gone and be damned!”

The pleasure of criticism spread and the band turned into a battering ram, entertainment for the arrogant. “Crown yourselves with thorns you kings of nowhere and no one!” Prostitutes passed out pornographic flyers to entice the men with their juicy services. A dapper suited man with a bullhorn broadcast to pilgrim and townspeople alike, “Hate and power for sale, it will make you feel good. Hate, hate the enemy! Hate your family; hate your neighbors; hate the rulers! Only two cents. Everyone can afford what I offer. Buy my wares. Feel good, feel strong. Hatred for sale!”

The earth had become a dwelling place of demons that tormented the people of the Way. Man, woman, and child were their own gods. They mimicked truth and love when it served them best, and repaid kindness with the same but they did not hesitate to use slander as a mighty sword to separate themselves from each other.

A tribunal of government officials blocked the travelers on their way. Their spokesperson shouted, “You must turn back immediately. We will not allow you to proceed any farther. Disperse and depart by royal command!” Armed soldiers flanked the officials. When the people refused to obey, they raised their swords.

“I demand to know our crime!” Moshua quickly moved to the front to face down the resistance. “You have no authority over us; step aside so we may reach our destination by nightfall. A skirmish ensued in which the armed soldiers and the strongest of the band wrestled each other to the ground. The officials moved out of the way. Their soldiers were killed with mighty hands. Out-numbered and overpowered the governors cried that they would return with a larger army and slithered away.

The somber road-warn travelers arrived atop the mountain Golgotha before sunset and fell to the ground for rest, heads nested into laps or on the cool earth. Sitting in groups nostalgic pilgrim-eyes surveyed the lands below from whence they came.

With only a teaspoonful of rest to lean on one by one the congregation of Israel stood to observe the Lord’s battle. Those who were given vision saw the angels, others saw the effects. A loud voice from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher told seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God. His patience and tolerance, His long suffering has come to an end.”

So the first angel went and poured out a bowl of foul and painful sores that fell upon anyone who was not on Golgotha which had become a place of refuge for the people of God. Then together the second and third angels poured their bowls into the seas and rivers and springs of water turning them to blood just as in the days when Moses first pried the congregation of Israel away from Pharaoh’s grasp. Then, the fourth angel flung up his bowl which made the sun scorch the earth with fire and the people in the valleys could be heard cursing the name of God and they did not repent and give Him glory.

The congregation of Israel atop Golgotha banded tightly together, small and tall stood hand in hand face to back, should to shoulder forming a union of life, a spit of peace in darkness. When the fifth angel poured his bowl on the throne of the beast, immediately the sun was darkened and the moon did not give its light; the stars fell from heaven, and the powers of heaven were shaken. The kingdoms of man below Golgotha were plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony, and cursed the God of heaven and each other because of their pains and sores, and still they did not repent and give Him glory.

The sixth angel poured his bowl into the river Euphrates that at one time nourished flowers and trees in Adam’s garden. And its water was dried up like the parted Red Sea. The days of baptism ceased. A great thirst came over the pilgrims and they drank not.

Blessed were the pilgrims on Golgotha, because they stayed awake and were clothed and were not exposed to shame. Each person stood in swirling flames of angel-wrath but remained untouched.

The seventh angel poured his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher saying, “It is finished.” And there came flashings of lightening, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a violent earthquake, such as had not occurred since people were upon the earth, so violent was that earthquake. Death feasted richly on human flesh.

Ben and Asa, Zeporah, David and Mary looked and saw the fury of God’s wrath upon the cities and nations below as far as eye could see. They trembled and clutched hands tighter than before. Hailstones, larger than those that fell on Pharaoh’s Egypt, hundred-pound heavy hailstones dropped from heaven on the people below holy Golgotha. The victims cursed God for the plague of the hail, so fearful was that plague.

Then those who had ears to hear heard the voice from heaven saying,

“Come out of her, my people so that you do not take part in her sins, and you do not share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven and God has remembered her iniquities.”

Alas, alas the great city clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels and with pearls! Alas, precious electricity empowering minds and eyes, separating food from time, and mobilizing man, precious electricity stopped flowing around the earth. For in one hour all this wealth had been laid waste, the day of the Lord came like a thief in the night. The journey had trained our athletes for this moment. Ben and Asa, Zeporah, David, and Mary were ready. 

16. The Last Resurrection

David yanked at his mother Zeporah’s skirt. “Mama, mama look!”

Ben, Asa, and Mary joined Zeporah in following the path of David’s little finger to the sky. Lo and behold there was the sign of the cross emblazoned in the heavens. A cresting wave of eyes all faced the skies; thousands of receptors receiving the message that finally this was the awesome day of the Lord. From His bright white cumulous cloud the Son of Man swooped through the stratosphere with power and great glory just as He said He would. Suddenly, the great sound of a trumpet saturated the air above Golgotha. Troops of angels were dispatched to gather the elect from the four corners of the universe.

Around the earth and seas, transparent people, I suppose they were souls, were emerging and ascending above the earth. They were all cheerful and chattering away acting as natural as can be. This catastrophic situation did not seem to faze them as much as it did some of the solid pilgrims.

“Asa, have you gotten taller or are we ascending?” Ben was giddy with joy over escaping the venomous planet earth.

“Ben, it looks like gravity disappeared, poof! Look at us floating up!” It was true; the congregation of Israel, which once crossed the baptizing river Jordan to enter Jericho, was now crossing misty skies to reach the New Jerusalem.

There was not a one now who was blind to the angels that had come for them. Group after group were swept into the lifeboat clouds until Crucifixion Mountain stood bare.

Ben and Asa were together as usual. “Asa, you know I’ve thought about this moment almost every day of my life, but I never thought it would be like this. I thought I would be afraid when this happened, but I’m not Asa. This seems as natural as can be. Do you suppose that to make it easier on us God purposely made sure that earthly humans would be accustomed to air transportation when He returned?”

“Of course. He spent millennia planning this event. I’m sure He has it down to a T; we have nothing to worry about. Nevertheless, will you hold my hand?”

Ben and Asa joined hands with the woman folk too, Zeporah and Mary. This kind of excitement called for an even distribution of sizzle through many bodies. Asa was quite honored to be in Mary’s lifeboat-cloud. In fact he had no idea how they came to rate this. As if she read Asa’s mind, Mary looked at him with her sea blue eyes and said, “Many who are first will be last and the last first. Behold the Lord God makes all things new. We may as well get used to this now. Were you at that wedding at Cana?”

“Which one, there were plenty of weddings at Cana?” replied Asa.

“The one where my Son Jesus turned water into wine; it was famous.

Remember when I was looking for Him and I asked a friend to get Him for me? He actually said, ‘Who is my mother?’ Can you believe that?! Then He said , ‘Whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.’ Well, let me tell you, He meant it! I have been busy all these years on the path, but I am ready for a new world order just like everyone else.”

As they were talking Zeporah could feel her body changing. When she looked over at a nearby lifeboat-cloud that had been filled with transparent people, she observed that they weren’t transparent any longer. They were solid just like she was, but she was changed as well. She felt solid, but so very light. She could feel muscles in her body, and no fat. Zeporah hadn’t felt this good since she was fifteen. It suddenly occurred to her that it would have been impossible for her to see the people in the other cloud before this moment. Even her eyesight was transformed. After that realization the Johnny Nash song popped into her head, 'I can see clearly now the clouds have gone...'. The tune played over and over again in her mind. It was a little annoying. Zeporah certainly did not want the clouds to be gone, not until they landed at least.

To Ben it felt as if a thousand years passed since they had left Golgotha and ten thousand since the Exodus from Egypt. Ben was so very grateful that God sent His Son Jesus to make this trip possible. He felt very sad for all of the people he knew who refused to believe in Jesus; His missions to show humans what God was like and how to be like Him, and how He freed humankind from the grip of sin and death when He died on the Cross. Well, this trip proved to Ben once and for all that Jesus certainly destroyed death.

“Ben, look! Isn’t that a new planet ahead! It looks so much like earth. We’re getting closer. Do I see water? Oh this is going to be COOL! What is that long line?” Asa sounded like a teenager, new and inquisitive.

Mary was the first to answer this time, “My friends remember when Jesus said that the gate is narrow and that few will be able to squeeze through. Well, that just may be because the gate is the judgment seat, only one person passes through at a time. And they have to squeeze through because they have to defend themselves at their trials. Fortunately, some of us go through a different judgment-free entrance. See you on the other side boys.”

Mary jumped off the cloud that had by then landed on the new earth and was immediately whisked away by two large angels.

“What was that she said about the new world order?” Ben mumbled. “Come on, let’s get in line.”

“Who cares, I’m just so glad to be here! Imagine this Ben, NO MORE DEATH! Or jerks, or hypocrites! Oh I am really going to like this place. I think I’ll call my mansion, ‘Pascha Rising’. Wow what a long line, how do we find the end?”

The Congregation of Israel: Jews, Gentiles, Orientals, Asians, Negroes and everyone else who had been walking on that arduous path to the Promise Land lived happily ever after, at least a few of them did.

17.After Glow

I am sad to leave Ben, Asa and Zeporah on the new planet...without me. I don’t want to start eating all kinds of animal products that will make me feel less light and spry. I miss the daily chanting, gold and beautiful holy faces of our home. What to do? Let’s read Chapter 21 together.

---Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold I make all things new.” And He said to me “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.

“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son [or daughter—I hope.]

“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues [see Crucigeddon-Good Friday entry] came to me and talked with me saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, as clear as crystal.

Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.

Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

[Description of city omitted for brevity.]

But I saw no temple in it for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.

And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.

Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there).

And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.

But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”---

MMMMmmmm! I feel better now. For you see, the Resurrection did not merely bring a good friend back from the dead; it opened the door to the New Jerusalem as described above. Even though time forced us out of the holy weeks, purity can remain. Oh aspiring immortal friend, let’s keep our paths sure and straight and let’s glow together!

Hear iT

This whole journey of exploration to the inner kingdom of God started after Eastertime when my Boss had given me the assignment to liken Lent to the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt to the Promise Land. Only the chosen people would be aspiring immortals traveling from the Crucifixion to the new earth as described in Revelations, the place we will go to when Jesus returns for us where even our bodies will be new and immortal.

Even though it seemed pretty backwards to start Lent with the Crucifixion, I was settled by two good reasons. The first one was that it made so much sense since the death of the son of Pharaoh was the big dismissal bell that rang so the Jews could leave slavery just as the death of the Son of God was the dismissal bell that rang for aspiring immortals to leave sin and death. And secondly, I was relieved that so many saintly immortals made the same comparison which my Boss kindly showed me in The Great Lent by aspiring immortal, Alexander Schmemman.

So, I started Lent with the Crucifixion and through my beloved characters Ben, Asa, and Zeporah I made my way to the new earth! Landing on the new earth after that long and sometimes grueling journey was such a thrill that I hated being forced to return to this old earth with its old conflicts and all the blind and deaf people who are not even aspiring immortals acting so arrogant and the obstacle course that keeps throwing most of us back so many miles in our real Exodus journey to the new earth.

Then, I read in Gospler Luke’s booklet that Jesus said the kingdom of God is within! Of course I had known that for as long as I can remember but this biting yearning to be there seemed relieved by the possibility that I could be there now! Right now, right here and now! So I wrote a couple of fanciful pieces where I was going there to the kingdom of God inside. They were fun, especially the piece about meeting my mother which I wrote on Mother’s Day to honor her.

My Boss would not let me stay on that path because it wasn’t totally truthful (no fairies). He insists on Truth and I agree with Him. Our deal is that I can be creative but I must always be truthful. Since I am always afraid of getting fired, I had to find my way back without embarrassing myself too much. I was lucky to be sent to Scotland where I could be given a real live glimpse of a land where light is abundant and people few just as in the real kingdom of God. I deeply appreciated this dose of reality, especially at this time when I am truly looking for the real live kingdom of God within that is not a figment of my imagination.

I know the kingdom of God within is real and True because my Boss lives there and He talks to me, and He does me terrific favors that often involve amazing timing or coincidences. One such event was when we had arrived at the Edinburgh airport and took our sweet time getting the luggage because we were so fascinated by all the different whiskies and cookies along the way. A little voice told me to speed it up and when I reached the baggage claim a man was putting my luggage on his cart to take back to his office! If I had been a minute later I would have had to wander around the face of the airport wasting precious Scottish time.

Because this is just a blog, and not another book I must stop writing now. I leave you with the promise that we will explore the kingdom of God within aspiring immortals like you and me but that it will be all true...even if it is presented in a fanciful way. I know that because I hear it with my heart which is very real.




Exodus II Explained

Anyone who has read the Bible cover-to-cover will probably have noted the number of times the Exodus Story was retold. Over and over again God reminds His people that they were miraculously freed from bondage. “Never forget; tell your children; do this every year as a reminder of how the Lord your God freed you from the bondage of Pharaoh’s Egypt.” This emphasis was applied neither to the miraculous creation story, nor to the great story of Abraham and his sons, and not even to the shocking story of the purging of mankind on earth except for Noah and his zoo-ark. All of these events and many more are at least as significant as the one about the brave man, Moses, with a magic stick releasing a few thousand slaves from their master’s stronghold. And yet, it is the Exodus alone that is commemorated annually in Passover fasts and over and over again in the Bible. Why is this?

I suspect that it is because God wants humankind to renew the psychological/spiritual journey away from bondage and to be grateful for His power.

The parallel is striking between the Exodus story of Moses leading the Jews away from Egypt and the story of Christ leading mankind away from sin and death. One group goes to the Promise Land, the other to the land of immortality. The relationship between the bondage of slavery and the bondage of sin is an old concept; however by overlaying the Exodus story onto the Christ story, the parallels are not only remarkable, they help us to see more clearly our plight as Christians. The physical Exodus is not so very different than the spiritual journey children of God must take to reach the promise of a land where we will live absolutely free from war, illness, poverty, and want. The Promise Land is still being held out for us and we still must move from one place to another to be there.

This physical/spiritual Exodus is best reconstructed during Great Lent when each day can represent one year of travel. And yet this journey does not end with the crucifixion, it begins with it and ends with the Resurrection where we can find ourselves right smack in the middle of the Promise Land of immortality. Forty years in forty days about forty hours. Never forget that God set you free and that you have somewhere to go. I hope you will continue to be with me on this journey. We have surprises in store for you. 

Exodus II

We have been walking away from Egypt for days now. It is hard to believe that we are finally free. I don’t suppose we really know what that means yet; someday we will. At least I hope I will. Ben, Asa, and Zeporah have formed a marching cluster along with Linda, Richard, and their children. Like most of us, I am in a daze walking quietly and thinking about what just happened.

God has appeared as a spirit cloud, a pillar of holy fire leading us to His Kingdom, His Promise Land of immortality. We are told that it is a land that flows with milk and honey, a land of peace. To be honest such a land, I can’t imagine. So I walk and I think about the days of miracles before the son, the son of Pharaoh died and we were released from bondage.

It all began when the man of God showed that he had power over the serpent. He had a rod that turned into a snake when he placed it on the ground. But when he picked it up it was a rod again! And even when the serpent tried to lure him by offering to turn stones to bread, or offer him all the kingdoms of the world the man of God simply grabbed that serpent by the tail and turned it into a tool. That is what I call power over evil.

The next thing that happened, if I can remember correctly is that water turned to blood, or was it water turned to wine. I don’t remember which, but it was the first real miracle. The villagers chattered about it for days. That man of God he knew how to get attention, he did.

After that, he healed people right and left from all that could hurt them even biting ants and blood sucking gadflies. People were hurt, people were healed.

Then he, that miracle-making man of God turned to what matters to most of us, our stomachs! First, he did something that killed all the livestock then he fed thousands on bread and fish. That wasn’t the end of it. He proved that through God he even had power over nature. First, he stretched out his hand and hail fell from the heavens on humans and animals and on the whole land of Egypt and then such thunder as man has never heard. I thought I would go deaf. Thunder and hail, and fire came down on the earth. It rained hail with fire flashing continually in the midst of it. I truly thought I would die. But with as much authority over nature he calmed the sea and even walked on it!

As if that wasn’t frightening enough we lived through three days of darkness and then the son died. Now poof! Here we are walking away from the only world we ever knew. We can leave that world with our feet, but can we leave it with our minds and with our hearts? I don’t know; that will take a true transformation. Maybe that’s why this journey must take so long. This army, this people of God, need time to become the kind of people who can live free in the Promise Land.

Oh! Where are we now? We stopped. Ah looks like we are camping by this sea tonight. I am ready to stop walking. My legs are sore. What is this I hear? The Egyptian army is coming after us! What will we do now? Be calm, God is with us. Let me run up to the front to see what is happening so I can tell you. There he is, the man of God. I see him lift up his hands. You will never believe this but the sea is parting! It is time to march again. Here we go. The cloud is leading us through the sea but on dry land. I hear a sound from heaven, a mighty wind. The pillar of fire has dispersed and there is a tongue of fire on each one of us as we walk. All around me I see us pilgrims with tongues of fire over our heads marching through a corridor of water. Solemnly we trudge through mud: man, woman and child hearts absorbing a new and Holy Spirit.

Whew! We are on the other side now. Is everyone here? Yes. Look! The sea has closed up and swallowed our enemy, Saul. There is no turning back now. Onward compatriots, to the new world!