Saturday, February 04, 2006

When the Earth is Young (tidbits 1)

“You have heard the stories,” the stranger said, “but listen again to the ancient tales.”

A melody, steeped in forgotten memories, began as he spoke and his voice resonated with the antiquity of his words. The stranger’s thoughts enveloped his voice, and living images of the story sprang to life in Matthew’s mind. Matthew reeled at first, but then gave himself to the wonder, and was swept away into the stranger’s thoughts.

“Behold! On a throne - A king and his queen! Fashioned by the hand of Yahweh, breathed upon by his Spirit, and born into the very image of the Christ. Exalted in perfection, firstborn of God’s creation, rulers of the earth, and wisdom untainted. Given sovereignty and dominion, they beheld in their faces the very image of the divine. Who was their equal? To whom did they bow but to Him alone who made all things? But the blood that ran through their veins was mortal, and even in their perfection they fell short of the unlimited glory of the divine. Destined to fall from the moment they began, for freedom was their curse, a gift too great.

Behold! In the garden - A tree! Life eternal, infinite delight, and bound to the fate of the world. Holding the promise of endless joy, immortal light and a knowledge that brings peace. Appointed alone as the sustainer of mortal life, it was to be a source of blessing. What was its equal? What in all the earth could bring life but that which bore the fruit of immortality? And the life that coursed through its limbs was endless, but even in its perfection it could not sustain the race of man. Destined to fail from the moment it began, for freedom was their curse, a gift too great.

Behold! In the garden - Another tree! Deeper than mortal reason, both darkness and light, and bound to the fate of the world. Holding the keys to life and death, knowledge too deep for flesh and blood, and a wisdom that kills. Appointed alone as the only forbidden, it would become the source of cursing. What was it equal? Who could endure its fruit except Him alone after whose glory the image had been made? And the life that coursed through its limbs was perfect, but it was a perfection too strong for the race of man. Destined to kill from the moment it began, for freedom was their curse, a gift too great.

Behold! In the garden - A serpent! More cunning than the beasts, more subtle than the fowl, and deeper than the mysteries of the sea. Exalted in perfection, beauty beyond measure, and wisdom untainted. Appointed alone as a guardian of the garden of God, he beheld the glory of the exalted ones. Who was his equal? To whom did he bow but to those alone to whom dominion belonged? But the life that coursed through his soul was mortal, and even in his perfection he fell short of the unlimited glory of the divine. Destined to fall from the moment he began, for freedom was his curse, a gift too great.

Behold! In the garden - A fall! A mighty struggle for dominion, bringing sorrow untold and a curse upon the earth. Lying lips and subtle tongue, a cautious assault upon the world’s throne, and the fate of the earth was forever changed. In Adam alone could the race stand, in Adam alone it would fall. What was its equal? What has rivaled that fall but the fall of the Second Adam whom the Serpent would also throw down? And the fall of man was great, for even in his perfection he could not hold back the abyss. Destined to fall from the moment he began, for freedom was his curse, a gift too great.

Behold! Hung in the heavens - A ruined earth! Fallow in its ground, barren in its seas and the heavens were shaken. Sunken in misery, spoiled in beauty, and the bonds of brotherhood torn asunder. Broken and bare, it lay beneath the shadow. What was its equal? What in all creation was lamented like that which fell from the highest glory? But the fallen beauty that it still refracted was not utterly forsaken, and even in its ruin it was set apart as a royal prize. Destined to be redeemed from the moment it began, for freedom was its end, a gift so great.

Behold! Throughout the earth - A wary eye! Casting about, never at rest, and full of endless hate. Determined in resistance, focused in its will, and a mind bent only towards the possession of its fallen prize. Ever fearful of the prophecies, it looked for him alone who would come to cast him down. But who was his equal? Before whom did he bow but himself alone? And in his pride he would not doubt the strength of his dominion, for none among the fallen line of Adam could withstand him. Destined to fall from the moment he began, for freedom was his curse, a gift too great.

Behold! In a manger - An only Son! Perfected in wisdom, God of God and trusting none but He of whom he was begotten. Determined in resistance, focused in his will, and a mind bent only towards the redemption of his fallen world. Ever mindful of the prophecies, he hid himself in flesh and blood. Who was his equal? Yet he was made a little lower than the angels and humbled in his frame. But his coming was not unobserved, and from the darkness there rose a hideous power to meet him. Destined for war from the moment he was born, for redemption was his curse, a price so great.

Behold! In a wilderness - Two combatants! Warring alone, fierce beneath a pale moon and entrenched in the shadows. Deep in lore, utter in earnestness and each confronting at last his mortal foe. Deciding the fate of the world, there clashed the power of immortal minds. Who were their equals? Who could withstand the fury of their wisdom and the depth of their knowledge but He alone by whom the one was made and the other begotten? But the Second Adam would not fall, and even in his weakness, the Serpent could not cast him down. Destined to fall from the moment he rebelled, for this One was his curse, a man too great.

Behold! On a cross - A ruined Son! Forsaken, spread out upon the second tree and tasting also the forbidden fruit. Deep in mystery, utter in despair, and the darkness rejoiced in victory. Lifted up above the earth, his death was doom for dragons and men. What was its equal? What moment has ever been more grievous than that hour? Behold, there is none. But the Serpent’s dominion would not endure, and even in the might of his darkness he could not hold back the glory. Destined to fall from the moment he rebelled, for this One was his curse, a man too great.

Behold! In a tomb - A risen Son! Undiminished victory, holding in his hand the first tree and offering its blessed fruit. Deep in mystery, utter in rejoicing, and Man reborn in victory. Exalted in freedom, the strength of his divinity could not be mastered. Who was his equal? Who could raise again the ancient songs, but he who composed them in the deeps of time? And the fire of his eyes cannot be quenched, for even in the frailty of his incarnation the darkness could not withstand him. Destined to endure for he never began, freedom was his right, a gift he alone could wield.

Behold! Coming down from heaven - A union! Fufilled prophecy, binding heaven and earth, and perfecting the perfection of the world. Now exalted in power, confirmed in love, and the rulers of heaven bow. Bringing the divine blood to mortal veins, the rivers of the earth flow with life. What is its equal? What is like that union of heaven and earth, but the marriage of the Lamb in which bride and bridegroom are one? And this union is eternal, for the life which flows throughout the world is divine. The earth of men, destined for glory from the moment it began, for the nature of the One became their strength, and freedom a gift no longer too great.”

The vision faded and the echo of the words died away, but faint whispers of the melody still moved softly throughout the clearing. Matthew sat entranced, his mind stunned by the wonder of the tale. Slowly the night noises began to sift their way into his consciousness and his thoughts, bit by bit, returned to the present. Like awakening from a dream, he saw once again the stranger before him, his eyes alive with holy fire. He was standing now, his arms outstretched, his face lifted towards the heavens. The stranger looked down.

“Is it as you have heard?” he asked.

2 comments:

Canadian Calvinist said...

Gerald,
Insightful and moving words:

"Behold! On a cross - A ruined Son! Forsaken, spread out upon the second tree and tasting also the forbidden fruit."

And:

"Behold! In a tomb - A risen Son! Undiminished victory, holding in his hand the first tree and offering its blessed fruit."

Darrin

Gerald said...

Thanks Darrin!