Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oh That Christmas Were Real

Angels in the House

There are nine orders of angels, to wit, angels, archangels, virtues, powers, principalities, dominations, thrones, cherubim, seraphim.
Billy Graham

Christians must separate the world of imagination from the imaginal world. There are things that are indeed imaginary. However, to know the world at all we must imagine. It is this function of the soul that brings to life the imaginal world that I am referring to in this blog. It is through the lens of our imaginal faculties that we experience the divine. In fact, it is through the imaginal muscles of consciousness that we even regard our experience as real and present.

In a conversation about angels one might ask up front if I think angels are real. This means that asking questions about whether something is real means asking what one means when they use the world “real.” The word real is used generally to imply tangibility both in a literal sense and in a scientific sense. Anyone should be able to experience something that is real for it exists outside the mind. It is concretely observable and always static in its nature and experiential engagement. If one cannot expereince it through the senses in an objective manner, it is "not real."

To believers real is what our faith animates and empowers as handed down through the great story called Scripture and Church history. It is clear that our brothers and sisters have known of and experienced angels for some time. Through the eyes of faith the grand story of Scripture jumps off the page and into our hearts. It is through this capacity to have a felt knowing and seeing that this blog on angels appeared. However, so as not to distance myself from the supernatural nature of their appearing, let me say that I do not separate the natural and super natural worlds from one another. There is only one world. By God’s grace, the story of my brothers and sisters who have come before, and their sense that indeed angels are in our midst, allows me to talk with such seeming abandon and a possible air of wackiness. But..For those who know me…there you go.

I am convinced that there are indeed angels. They are unseen for good reasons. Only faith senses their presence. They are God's emissaries to the weak, to those who greatly anticipate the ushering in of the Kingdom. These winged creatures do indeed guard us but not merely from the fallen powers of this world. We as believers get sick, get hit by cars, suffer at the hands of dictators and tyrants and fall prey to the fallen world. What angels do is protect our hearts from becoming part of the cynical world of greed and avarice. Remember the Scriptures about "gaining the whole world and losing your soul," or "It is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." We gloss over these but Jesus was serious for He knew the power of desire. He knew we were initially created to desire more than this world could ever offer. Thus, we want what we can't have. Everything!

To experience angelic presences is only possible to those who become profoundly innocent. This does not mean sinless or perfect. It means totally dependent upon the intervention of God to sustain one rather than our own acumen, cleverness, and calculation. Most of us cannot remain in this state of innocence very long for it is too costly emotionally to encounter the forces just outside this place of the heart. This place is the last gate before death and life. There is a whirlwind of doubt, fear, and despair directly at the entry point of divine innocence. All dross of the soul flows to our heart and we are overwhelmed by our seeming distance from God.

Just before the angels appear, the abyss opens up and two voices begin to speak. One is shrill and life draining. This voice mocks our desire to know and enter the Kingdom and drowns out our ability to be present, much like a large airplane sound. However, now all the other senses are in a heightened state. If we sit long enough in the presence of this overwhelming siren sound, it begins to fade and we begin to hear another sound. In fact, this other sound is orchestral in its substance. It takes us up and out into a seemingly different realm and allows for us to have a felt knowing. In this felt knowing we now see these winged creatures. We are not seeing them with our eyes, however. This is all seen only through the lens of faith. These angels are not anything like words or metaphors have described them for language is an inadequate container and pitiful cipher for transcendence.

Although not God, these creatures do His bidding and have been sent to show us His heart, give us direction, and reveal His glory. Gabriel is a messenger angel remember so his entanglement in warfare ( getting through the barriers of doubt and fear) causes God to seem absent. There is great warfare going on in this world right now. But....they are moving amongst us.

Here are poems that honor this presence.

From the movie The Mission

Gabriel’s Oboe & the Musical Warrior Angels
Te Deum Guarani

The Father’s opus is faintly heard
On this side of the veil
For it is being played by covert operatives
Warrior-like minstrel angels on an unseen mission
Out of sight & sound to those
Who might attempt to coop these graces

These guardian emissaries
Using only beauty as their bow
Openly bestow these rapturous sounds
Daily on those about to enter the coming Kingdom
This is the national anthem of paradise
This composition accompanies
Each new long lost member of this new family
As they run to the Father’s ultimate embrace

These angels
Are the only one’s willing to go into
The dark brothels of New Delhi
The prisons of Guantanamo
The sex slaves transfers in Darfur
The mosques and churches
Of charlatans and cyanide paranoids
The shadowy back room dealings of corporate America
The filthy convalescent homes
Profiting from the final days of our elders
The suburban sprawl of resignation and desire
To busy to pause for love’s concerto

So these angels play for scale
No residuals
No ownership
All is public domain here

This masterpiece
Performed by seasoned winged creatures
Plays round the clock
Heard by those who stand just outside this emerging age
And greatly await this dispensation of an all encompassing grace
For this in their only portion
Their solitary delight
Their final threshold
Their wonderfully anticipated moment of divine welcoming

Oh that Christmas Were Real!

In its absence
I came upon a room
A room full of angels
Sitting bored and unnecessary
Smoking Pall Malls
Playing cards
Waiting on the cynic

All these grand creatures
Feathers of trust and truth
Were folded and put away
Because of undue holiday nostalgia
Standing at the door
I felt compelled to weep aloud
In hopes the winged creatures
Would see their awful estate
But I am mute
For this room is my heart
My protectors have been grounded due to my fear
The fear these messengers have no word for me
So this absence is my dismissal
Still uncomfortably drawn into their presence
I reluctantly enter the room
Nearly choking on the smoke
I walk amidst the angels as though invisible
Just a few steps into the space
Nearly inaudible
I hear this chanting
This is no trance
Cast upon these beings
They see me clearly
They are merely waiting
Waiting for my return
I stop and look down at one herald
His gaze transfixes mine
His very countenance alive with awakening
Startles me into this beautiful surprise
So I am Christmas
I did not know
And now the absence begins to speak
Be not afraid
I bring you tidings of great joy
You have been missed
Now go and tell others
I so hungered for this blessing!

The Color of Soul Making

Blue fire
Slipped into my room last night
Sighed heavily
Illuminated my labored breathing
And the shallow rise and fall of sorrow’s chest
As if both color and flame could speak
Their words came forth
“We are your indigo angels.
In this place most call a desert
Your sister the white Iris blooms
In this dryness the soul flowers
Reverie fills the darkened cobalt horizon
Lovers held in suspension
Melt into each other
And weep with longing
Here imagination burns a cerulean glow
Melancholy marries Kandinsky
And all this pondering rekindles
A thousand years of exile
In the unreflective underworld of black and white.”

Gabriel’s All Girl Choir

I could scream
I could cry
I could run a naked mile till exhausted
Running headlong into my empty estate
Now, emptied
Not one weighty needless worry
Still remains on my back
Now with grass and stones still stuck to my forehead
I role over
With arms outstretched I sing
Sing into the universe
Sing until I’m hoarse
And she is listening
I hear this hum hum humming
This love love loving
I don’t care whose name she offers up to me
I am still amazed that in this cage of life

I can still hear her singing me home
Calling me home
Loving me home
So if this space between us
Is a random toss at best
Between the earth and the galaxies I cannot count
Much more an oddity to me than a prison of my making
Is this song that fashions my darkness into this melody of hope
And it is sufficient to sing away the nothingness
That mocks the mystery
And denies the irresistible longing for the song
So let the chorus begin…..

How to Paint a Miracle

First you take the vapor like membrane between realms
And ever so slowly
Pull it away from the soul
Hold it up to the sun
Make sure it is a day
Clear and warm with light
To the left of the entire sky
Outside the world’s frame
St. Francis is singing
You will not hear the melody
But its colors will resonate
With your outstretched soul
Move your hands away from your sides
And prepare to be stigmatized
From the wounds
Azure blue will pour
Retain this sound
For it is both tragic and glorious
Only the red finch
Was made aware of this revealing
He is so delighted and will
Trumpet your ecstasy
As you arise from this enlargement
Pay close attention to the sounds
Of trees and stones directly in your purview
Tears will flow freely
At first this may feel disquieting
Do not be afraid
Angels are withholding nothing
From this unveiling
As you see now you know
It is good
These witnesses are sacraments
And along with azure blue offer themselves up
The veil is now removed……….Your miracle may now be painted

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