6- Commander Lightfoot

Part 6 in the series God The Love Story-Autumn

Alone together the commander looked at me with his sparkling blue eyes and a grin that took over his face.  In a warm baritone voice he opened with, “Shall we begin? Would you rather walk or sit?”

“Um, do you mind if we keep walking,” I replied, “I don’t want to be late for Christmas?”

“Neither do I.” he agreed.  With a little skip in his step to keep up with my longer legs, the commander went on to say that I had placed him in an interesting predicament since most of the commands are from Jesus who will be born on Christmas Day which waits for us at the end of the road.

“I am not worried about that,” I said, “because God always comes to us from the future. For just this once, you and I can go to the infant Jesus already knowing what He will tell us when he matures!”

 “Good thinking! I’m going to like you! Now let’s begin.” Then his tone changed dramatically. He started to speak slowly and with much conviction, “Pay close attention. Just as every tree if it is to endure must have strong roots that reach deep into the earth to withstand the winds and earth’s heaving movements, even violent earthquakes, likewise, the aspiring immortal must be rooted in obedience to the commands for the soul to endure the tumult of the first life and the transition to the new earth.”

Before I could speak, the commander grabbed the space of his own pause and added, “To become united to The Immortal God, you must first know what He is like, which you can by knowing what He likes…which He clearly tells you by His commands!”

When I was sure it was my turn to speak, I asked whether my conscience instinctively knows these commands, which would explain why I should listen for my conscience?”

“No.” he replied, “Like a new laptop, the conscience comes with certain basics but you must install the commands.” I was surprised that this archaic little man knew what a laptop was. At this point I figured that I was ready to challenge him.

“My sister said that faith, and mercy, and grace all override the need to obey the commands.”

“Absurd!” I could tell that I struck a bad chord when his face turned angry red. ” Daily, millions of people pray ‘Thy Will be done’, and within an hour they violate God’s will. They are either grossly ignorant of the commands or… the commander paused to regain his composure. Under his breath I heard him say to himself, ‘Make and maintain peace’.

I quietly gave him all the time he needed. Finally, he spoke to me again. “Or like your sister,  they believe that God’s mercy is permission. If your sister thinks that Jesus gave you license to neglect his commands, why would He say, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.’ Too many people want to walk on the highway to Christmas who won’t accept the suicide of self discipline that Christmas ultimately calls us to.”

My feet started to hurt but I tried not to let it show. The problem was that I couldn’t think about what he was saying and praise God to keep from feeling the pain all at the same time.

“Can we sit for a minute?” I asked and collapsed without waiting for his reply. The commander collapsed with me. Once we settled in comfortable positions, I asked him whether God loved me enough to let me be myself.

I was surprised how calmly the commander took this question, he merely lowered his head and 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 My Father. And I will love him and will reveal Myself to him.” I sensed that the commander was starting to get impatient with me when he got up and walked on alone leaving me sitting on the hard lumpy pebbles.

The Truth About Mercy -14

This is the 14th entry in a series entitled God, the Love Story Autumn  

This journey of mine to Christmas began when the leaves were blazing reds and yellow, but it has been many weeks since I could comfortably call this the Love Story Autumn. The world around me now is quite white and quite cold. So much of the living has fallen into frozen hibernation. The best part is that snow has compacted onto and between the pebbles at my feet so the road that tortured me so on warms days is now smooth and quite flat. I can ignore the cold because of the fire that blazes in my heart to reach the infant Christ.

As much as I long to cradle the Son of God and the Son of Man in my arms, I long to understand mercy.  I am pretty sure that King David will soon appear and he will tell me all I want to know. If anyone understands mercy it must be David who was so awful but who wrote all of those exquisite psalms.  

It has been several days and nights since I have met soul or fairy. All of the hustling and bustling to decorate and bake and buy, wrap and send gifts and cards, sing songs and partake in parties has kept most mortals and aspiring immortals alike blinded to this path.

“We’ve been here!” chimed the littlest fairy that appeared in front of my eyes. “You have simply been too engaged in your own thoughts to see or hear us!”

“I don’t believe you! It’s impossible. I haven’t seen any of you fairies in weeks.” I said challenging the fairy to be completely honest with me.

Stopping the argument at its inception, she said, “I know someone who knows about mercy even more than David, you should learn from her.” And then the little fairy landed on a bare branch next to a bright red cardinal.

Astounded, I stopped dead in my tracks in front of the cardinal and fairy and asked, “Who can that be?”

The fairy leaped onto the back of the cardinal in shear merriment and together they circled me like a merry-go-round. “Stop that! I need to know about mercy!”

“It is our Mother, silly!  Who else?” the little fairy chirped.

“Well then where is she?”

“You can’t see our Mother, but you can obey her. She is the Bride of Christ. She is in your heart and in the halls of scholars and in cathedrals and chapels. Our Mother knows.”

Now you are being evasive. My time grows dangerously short. At this point I fear that I will never witness the birth and you are telling me to leave this path to seek our invisible Mother. Impossible!”

“I beg your pardon!” The littlest angel sounded genuinely angry with me. “Our Mother is not invisible by any means. She is concrete and wood and flesh, She is stained glass and volumes, She is blood and sweat and tears.” And calming down a notch she added, “Don’t worry, Annabelle here can tell you what She teaches on mercy.” Then my little fairy friend alighted from the cardinal as Annabelle appeared.

“We must keep moving, but listen carefully.” Annabelle said. “Everything that I say is true; don’t doubt a word, obey mercy and you will be closer to immortality than you have ever been before.”

“Mercy is both spiritual and corporal. Spiritual acts of mercy are (1) to admonish sinners because in fact you do not want them to suffer as a result and hope that others will admonish you when you veer from the path (2) to instruct the ignorant because the darkness of ignorance makes life so much more difficult and dangerous than it needs to be. Yes, instruct the ignorant and seek instruction. (3) counsel the doubtful. Doubt is quicksand, such mercy can save a soul from destruction. (4) comfort the sorrowful and watch mercy turn despair into humility and dust into gold. (5) suffer wrongs patiently, your pride will burn like candle wax to light the path to immortality. (6) forgive injuries that you may be forgiven. As you see pilgrim, mercy is so much more than forgiveness though. Finally, (7) pray for others, both living and dead who may not be able to beseech God to grant their wishes.”

Mercy sounded like more commands to me.  

Reading my mind Annabelle said, “Becoming immortal is active. No one is making you aspire to immortality.”

“Please continue. Of course I will do whatever is needed and I am happy to.”

Annabelle went on, “Corporal acts of mercy are more practical, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, ransom captives, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and bury the dead. The more you give, the wealthier you become. Do these things and you won’t have to go around seeking and begging for mercy; mercy will come to you. Got it?”

At this Annabelle smiled such a big glowing smile that I swear she grew.  Suddenly I looked up to see that I was approaching a regal figure.  

“King David, is that you?” and without another thought I fell at his feet.

“Yes, he said, extending his hand to lift me. I took his hand, kissed it in gratitude for the psalms and slowly arose. Once up I became mesmerized by David’s green eyes. He looked at me and said, “Let me join you in these last days. Together we will greet my Son and my Lord.”