Chronicles in Ordinary Time 43:

valley of the shadow
A friend of mine was describing the images that came to mind as he read the 23rd Psalm–“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all of the days of my life…” He described angels watching over him. This is the image that came to my mind, as he described his image.

I have always been partial to “fear not and behold!” angels as opposed to the Hallmark kind. If one reads the descriptions in the older parts of Scripture, one doesn’t find Clarence Oddbody nor the cute little angels found at Christmastime. I’ve always figured that angels must be fearsome to behold, since fear seems to be the first reaction the angels have to deal with.

For much of the 40 years that I have been following the Creator I’ve heard this continual subtext–that good things will happen to the Believer who is following the Creator closely; that trouble will stay away. This hasn’t necessarily been the overt text, but it has been the subtext, and I’ve always found it confusing. 1] it isn’t Scriptural–if nothing else, Scripture assures the Believer that there will be trouble; 2] I’ve been battling chronic pain for half of my life–something like 30 of my 60+ years.

I’ve never been very religious; just can’t force myself into that mold.  Part of me has found this notion to blame; but then I read the Book of Job–the oldest part of the Bible, which basically says that being religious has nothing to do with a life that pleases the Creator [it seems that serious acknowledgement is central to a faith that pleases the Creator]. “shit happens” seems to be the best explanation as to why bad things happen to good, and not-so-g00d people. It’s a part of Life.

I’ve also come to believe that there is a part of Life that is much harder to figure out. The Apostle Paul writes that we are like players on a stage, performing for an unseen audience. Physicists postulate that there are 11 dimensions, rather than the four we know about [length, width, height and time]; I have come to the conclusion that if there are 11 dimensions, then one of these dimensions is a dimension of the Spirit; or that the correct number is at least 12.

There has been so much of my life that has pointed me to the Creator; events that have happened to me, or to my family, that have been so personal that I can’ t prove them to anyone. There is no proof; and at the same time, there is little room for doubt.  Mostly in the context of a middle-class [and sliding], non-adventurous life. Not much drama; nothing from which to make an interesting movie. Crises, an ample number of them; from which we mostly survived fairly well, although not cheaply.

Through all of my life I have felt that I was in the presence of unseen Presences; formidable angels seem to qualify. Amidst the crises, there is much that happens on filmed stories that have never happened to us. Burglaries with minimal damage; car wrecks without death; accidents without death; deadly illness that hasn’t. There are unseen wolves that have been held back by Guardians we cannot see. Perhaps.

pilgrim col

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