Sunday, September 1, 2013

Overheard on the Far Side of the Sea of Tiberius

“After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.”
Part of an ancient biography, aka Mark 6:46

Son: Hey, Dad, how’re you doing?

Father: Same as all eternity.

Son: Sorry.  Stupid question.  You get living among humans enough, you pick up their idiotic habits.

Father: Idiotic?

Son: Sorry again.  You’re right.  The habits aren’t idiotic at all.  Like asking the question, “How are you?”  It is just a way to show that you are interested in the other person, that you care, that you love.  Of course, every habit of love becomes just a rote symbol, without any kind of love whatsoever, but the idea of it is nice.

Father: So you are appreciating the humans more?

Son: Sometimes.  (He smiles.)  Did you just see the apostles, there?  Five thousand people and I told them to feed them and they just stared at me as if I was full of shit but they didn’t want to say anything because I am the “Rabbi”.17  That was so funny!  It was all I could do not to laugh out loud at them! 

Father: I could see the humor in the situation…

Son: (Laughing) It was hilarious!  Andrew trying to suck up to me by giving me this kid with some bread and fish, but all the time he’s thinking, “Like that’ll do any good!”  It’s a blast, really. 

Father: So you are enjoying your work?

Son: I love it!  It is the best, demonstrating your power to every person I meet.  I look at those folks who are sure that they are rejected by You because of their sin, because of their sickness, because of their handicap.  I have never seen a people more dejected, more spiritually oppressed.  And with a simple word, I can give them forgiveness, assurance, hope.  They know, really know, that You’ve forgiven them.  They are ready to be a part of your love again.  It’s wonderful, really.18

Father: Is it always that wonderful?

Son: Well, it’s hard work. I’m tired a lot.  I wish I had more time with You.  And, of course, there are those who reject the forgiveness I offer… 19

Father: I know it was hard for you in Nazareth.20

Son: (Suddenly enraged) Those people knew me for thirty years!  I fixed their homes and their carts, played with their children, read the Scriptures to them.  And when I give them a hint—simply a hint—of who I really am, they reject me!  They despise me!

Father: Of course, they’re just “stupid humans.”

Son: They are my family!  We cared for each other, watched out for each other…. I don’t expect you to understand.  It’s a human thing, family.

Father: Really, Son—I do understand.  I really do.  Family is not just something I created, it’s something I experience.  Have you been human so long you don’t remember what it was like before?

Son: (Thinks for a moment.) When you’re human, thirty years is… like eternity.  Eternity in a microscopic organism.  And to have them say spew such hatred at me—it is a rejection of that eternity.  Of all who I am, as a human.

Father: And more.

Son: They never really understood me.

Father: Humans never really understand each other—and you are the most different of all humans. 

Son: I suppose.  But it still hurts.

Father: I know.

Son: But how could you know?  I’ve never felt anything like this.  Every emotion is so damn overwhelming!  Every slight—I can’t stop thinking about it! 

Father: And yet you still think of the humans as idiotic?

Son: I suppose they aren’t stupid—they just have so much to focus on.  How do they get anything done?

Father: They get them done because they are overwhelmed by emotion.  They are driven.

Son: And you made them like this?  How different are they than animals, being led by instinct?

Father: Oh, very different.  They can make choices like the gods.  They can create like the gods.

Son: But every choice is so difficult…

Father: And in that way, they are greater than the gods.  The powers easily make choices and they are easy to fulfill.  Every human is they story of a struggle.  A struggle to survive, to be made known, to assist others…

Son: So few assist others…

Father: How many mothers die for their children?

Son: Of course, they only want children to assist themselves…

Father: Is that really true?  Is that why they want children?

Son: To carry on their name, to be their replacement, to assist them when they are old…

Father: When it is so often that the mother dies in childbirth?  Every child she carries is a potential death sentence.  Every mother knows this.  Knows that this child may be their last.  Yet they are willing to sacrifice themselves for even a potential child.

Son: Don’t some animals do this as well?

Father: Certainly.  But how many gods would surrender their eternity for the sake of others?  How many gods would give up all they have for the sake of others receiving an eternity?

Son: That’s a point.

Father: Do you see why I gave humans the rulership over creation?  Only humans, being animal but also god-like, can understand the necessity of self-sacrifice.  Only they can appreciate the fourth law of justice.

Son: Humph.  Couldn’t tell by how they appreciate my teaching.

Father: What do you mean?

Son: I’ve taught the fourth law of justice in many ways and forms.  But they still don’t get it.  No one is willing to give up of themselves now in order to obtain more from you in the long run.

Father: What about your disciples?  They have surrendered their jobs, their families, their possessions….

Son: True.  But they only have done this because they think that their salvation—the kingdom—is right around the corner.  If they weren’t led by the misguided opinion that all of their sacrifice is in the past, then they might turn around right now. 

Father: I think you expect too much of them…

Son: And why shouldn’t I?  They have seen your power, haven’t they?  They know what you are capable of—right now, anytime!  They are offered freedom, and instead they hold onto their old assumptions, their old limitations.

Father: You know what I’ve told you.  It isn’t enough for them to hear a teaching.  They need a story.

Son: Stories!  I’ve told them plenty of stories!  That just confuses them more!  This is why I’ve decided that stories are a judgment, not a blessing.  I tell them stories as a test of faith.  If they come back and ask me what it means, that is a true disciple.  If they make up their own meanings to my stories, then they must remain in their confusion and their distance from you.

Father: I have told you before.  It is not enough to tell a story.  You must live it.  They must see it, or they will never believe.

Son: So you want me to arrange a showing of the prodigal son?  Or the pearl of great price?  I suppose that could be done, but…21

Father: No.  I want you to live out the fourth law of justice. 

Son: Live it out?  I don’t understand…

Father: I want you to show them that the third and fourth laws really work.  And I’m not talking about the weak fourth law.  I mean the fourth law that includes death.  That it just some cockamamie idea of yours.  That it is practical. 

Son: (A little nervous) But I thought the sacrifice law was just a last resort, a last chance…

Father: That’s what most of the gods think.  A chance for an appeal.  And Satan believes that this law will never be utilized, because there has never been an innocent man.

Son: I thought you showed him differently in the Job case…22

Father: No.  Because I wouldn’t let him kill Job, thus it was only the lesser fourth law that was proven. Again. Yes, he was humbled, but not completely sacrificed.  Besides, the story is old, and not really believed.  I need you to fulfill it. Fully.  To live it out.  To make believers of your people.

Son: But… how?  I mean, Satan isn’t going to kill me himself.  He knows better than that.  The Pharisees might try, but they don’t have the authority.  How can the fourth law be enacted?

Father: Jerusalem.23

Son: Jerusalem?  But why would they come to Galilee to attack…

Father: You must go to them.  You must reveal yourself to them.

Son: Even so, why would they want to kill me?

Father: Simple.  First of all, strut into their city on a colt.24

Son: (Stunned) That would be an open declaration of my rule over Jerusalem

Father: Yep.

Son: That would stir them up alright. 

Father: And then, go to the temple and point out how the High Priest is mishandling the cult there.25

Son: Is he?

Father: Of course he is.  Honestly, it’s completely corrupt.

Son: What should I do?

Father: Make it up as you go along, but make it dramatic.  Something that will get headlines.  That will declare that you’re taking over the organization of the temple.

Son: And that would be enough?

Father: Plenty.  You don’t know those people.  They are corrupt clingers of power.  I haven’t spoken to the high priest in a hundred years.  They are pleasers of Rome, not of me.  And the heart of their power is the cult.  If you threaten the temple, the priesthood, they will do it.  Threaten their power—they will kill you.

Son: And this is what you want?

Father: I want you to be the focus of the fourth law.  I want there to be no question as to your worthiness to rule the kingdom—to rule the earth.  The third and fourth laws will support you in your rule, and no one could gainsay my decision.

Son: But you want me to go through this?

Father: It is your choice.

Son: No, no, it’s not, really.  I am here to do your will.  You know that.  Do you want me to suffer at the hands of these evil men?

Father: Of course I don’t.  I understand what you will have to suffer.  You are giving up an eternity—a human eternity—for the sake of a god’s eternity. 

Son: I’ve already given up a god’s eternity for a human one.

Father: Yes, I know.  But will you do it again?   Give up your human eternity to obtain even greater benefits?  As ruler of the earth, you could establish all four laws as the rule of the earth, instead of just the first, as it stands now.  You can create true justice, and not the shambles of justice that exists now.  You will be able to create a humanity that is worthy of rule over creation.  But also, look at your people.  Those who follow you.  And all those who repented under John.  You are giving them a chance—a real chance—at a new life.  They screwed their lives up.  But you are giving them another chance, a real chance.  You aren’t doing it for yourself—there just isn’t enough benefit for yourself.  You are doing it for them.

Son: (Silent for a while) I see. Yeah… yeah, it’s worth it.  Well, all we can do is try, then.

Father: Trust me, it will work.

Son: I guess.

Father: I hate to cut our time short, but it looks like your people are afraid again.26

Son: The sea?

Father: Yeah.  (Chuckles)  Thalasse27 is really giving them a hard time.

Son: Irritating, is what it is.  Why don’t they just tell her to shut up?

Father:  Too freaked out, I guess.

Son: Well, I guess that’s it for my break. 

Father: Go get ‘em, kid.

Son:  I will.  Talk to you later.

17.          John 6:4-13
18.          Mark 2:1-12; Mark 6:34; Luke 13:10-16.
19.          Mark 1:33-37; Mark 4:38.
20.          Mark 6:1-6; Luke 4:16-30.
21.          The prodigal son is found in Luke 15:11-32; The pearl of great price is found in Matthew 13:45-46.
22.          Job 1-2.
23.          Mark 10:34-35; Luke 13:33-35.
24.          Matthew 21:1-11.
25.          Mark 11:11, 15-18.
26.          Mark 6:46-52; John 6:15-21.
27.          The Greek word for “sea”.  The sea is seen in the ancient world, not just as a body of water, but also as having a personality behind it, which is destructive to humanity.

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