Day Nine Hundred Ninety Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Jezer and Tomas passed through again this morning to refill the tanker truck. They reported that Reuben was working himself to the bone in service to the injured. So Elijah thought it best to select some of his ‘pupils’ and send them on ahead to lend a hand.

When he had assembled them, they all volunteered. Elijah picked twelve and sent them out.

The rest he dismissed asking them to return later and to each bring a friend to replenish their numbers.

I sought out the Purser and together we came up with a list of ideas to take to Malawi and his advance team. We sent a messenger with this list aboard the tanker truck upon its way through.

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Day Nine Hundred Ninety Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

It had been a late night for everyone. A lot of time was wasted sorting the needs of such a large number of people. I do not fault the advance group. They performed in a stellar fashion. I am sure they learned a lot and will do better with the next village.

In fact we sent Malawi off with another advance team this morning. I proposed, however, that we hold off a couple days before our next move.

Jezer and Tomas delivered some water to us on their way through to Reuben’s city. I told them to be on the lookout for Malawi.

The Purser, having observed Elijah and the young men yesterday prevailed upon him to give more instruction.

Day Nine Hundred Ninety Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Malawi returned to us on foot to report that all was in readiness to receive his father’s group.

Elijah and I set out with the first section. The Purser and his family stayed behind to round up the stragglers before taking up the march.

On the way we passed the tanker truck that was returning to refill at the desert crossroads. Only Jezer and Tomas were aboard, Reuben had remained to aid his stricken townspeople.

A coterie of young men orbited Elijah asking him endless questions. My friend answered them all with patience and penetrating insight. One of the more curious reached out to touch Elijah’s staff and was shocked off his feet.

The youngster stood up with renewed respect.

Day Nine Hundred Ninety Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

What Reuben and Jezer shared about the road between here and the devastated city was helpful and made our decisions easier. The two towns below Reuben’s city lie deserted, their people having fled, fearing they were next for annihilation. They think that we can move by stages and take advantage of their shelter.

Though the Purser voiced some concerns, Reuben had a solution for each, and the rest of us, including Elijah, approved the plan.

So, Tomas was dispatched with the duo and a contingent led by Malawi which they would leave in the first village to prepare for the first stage.

Reuben with Jezer and Tomas would continue to his hometown and there lend aid to its few survivors.

Day Nine Hundred Ninety One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

As we neared the desert crossroads we pushed ahead of the others with Jezer and Tomas. There Reuben patiently awaited our arrival.

He had just returned from a mission of mercy, for which he was seeking our approval, after the fact. And especially that of Jezer.

Jezer was aware of the particulars-Reuben was from the city along the road devastated by the explosion, and could understand why he would want to help.

When we assured him of our acceptance, he asked if he should refill the truck or not.

Elijah asked him to hold off. We would have to revisit our initial plans in light of the present circumstances.

I feel that everything will work out for the best.

I Learn Another Sword

I Learn Another Sword

Picking up from my last Memories post, we had one more thing to check off of our checklist to complete our move from Renton down to Vancouver.

I had a new job – check

We had found a new home – check, check

And a new home for my fencing – check, check, check

And now we were looking for a new church.

We limited our scope to one of the Lutheran flavors, specifically we would only consider one belonging to the Missouri Synod. We sampled one in the vicinity of our home, but nothing struck us. We widened the circle and finally landed at one on the opposite side of town.

Everything about the church seemed right to us. But especially the pastor. We had not met the like before. There was something about him that was, for the lack of a better word, ‘charismatic.’ As it turns out that was exactly the right word. He taught from the Bible, not from another book, such as any currently invogue self help psychology piece (a la transactional analysis). The style is called expositional teaching, which is done by going through the Bible text, line by line, and expounding upon its meaning, giving historical and cultural context to better understand the people written about and God’s dealings with them.

And there was teaching we had never heard before. We were taught about the Holy Spirit – something always catechized but seldom introduced into any sermon from the Word (i.e. The Bible).  A whole new understanding and deepening was opened to us. Not something brought out of a man’s imagination – for what he taught was right there in front of us on the pages of our Bible. We now had a place to call our church home.

But with it came a significant reckoning for me.

I attended one of the small group meetings at the church. We were encouraged to get to know one another better as individuals before the meeting got underway. I sat with a man of about my own age by the name of Randy. I went first. He listened to my introduction of myself as being new to the area, working for a cinema circuit across the river in Portland. And very into fencing.

He said a few words about himself, and what he did. But what he added next stopped my mind in its tracks. He stated simply that he was a follower of Jesus Christ. But more than the simple words were stated, I knew by its emphasis that it was of supreme importance in his life – taking precedence over everything else he had mentioned – indeed the governing direction for his life choices. There was not a hint of pride, spiritual or otherwise in the declaration.

It was something that challenged my life, who I was and where I was going. The unexamined life is a treadmill from one milepost to the other, and can become numbing, when one is completely focused on the self. Randy’s words had sent me into what is classically called a dark night of the soul.

I will not bore you with a litany of confessions I made before God in the privacy of my room. More importantly, at issue, was, who was the Lord of my life? Was I the measure of what is right and wrong? Or was there something or Someone outside of myself who knew better?

Not without reason is the Bible, God’s Word, likened unto a sword.

Hebrews 4:12 –

‘For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.’

In my case, the Word was a scalpel (and a mirror – another appropriate and biblical comparison) that revealled the gulf between myself and a Holy God. It illuminated my need for the gift the Gospels offer – forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. His execution for my crimes.

As this work of the sword was all inward, (and I must say, continues to do so), from then on there was another emphasis to be added, a sword directed outward, in another manual of arms so to speak. In the training of another Master.

I was no longer lord of my life, but Jesus was.

No going back. No going back.

[Other posts that cover my spiritual journey:]

Three Kings Went Forth

I Can See Clearly

My Brother vs the UU Church

Moony and the Baptists

My Brother’s Accident

Day Nine Hundred Ninety #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We expect to reach the desert crossroads tomorrow. Jezer looks forward to linking up with his friend Reuben, as are we. He remained there with a tanker truck while Jezer had accompanied Malawi and the other water couriers.

Tomas was gone from us all day, off on the advance with Malawi, and has chosen this place for tonight’s encampment. We had asked him to be on the lookout for any outliers. He reports none.

Elijah holds the opinion that the angels have intervened in that matter.

In our evening conference we discussed ways and means of transporting from the crossroads to the hiding place. The Purser is none too keen on riding inside an emptied tanker truck.

Nor are we.

Day Nine Hundred Eighty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Another late night despite our best efforts to have everyone turn in early. At least we were ready to leave at first light for we kept busy all the while we talked.

As we moved out the Purser took a head count. The six I had identified were missing. And stranger still Jezer later told me he had recognized someone last night, but now they were nowhere to be seen.

Jezer had had other important news to share. And Elijah and I were overjoyed when we heard it. Sy, acting upon our request had gone in search of the Purser’s group but found instead the one led by Jordan. They are now safely with him  in the mountains above Galilee.

Day Nine Hundred Eighty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A hush hung over us all morning. Not a breeze was stirring anywhere atop the table plateau. All our conversations had the same quality, carried on in undertones. In fact even my thoughts seemed muffled to me.

The anticipated return of the water couriers was no doubt responsible.

I discussed my suspicions with Elijah about who among us may be the tares. Surprisingly of the half dozen I have identified (and the Purser concurs) only one is in uniform.

We thought it wise to have Tomas descend to the camel pen to keep a lookout- for them, and for the return of the water couriers.

The day was far gone when the couriers came over the rim followed by Jezer.

Day Nine Hundred Eighty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

It has been a day of preparation for everyone. Hope burns bright in each heart rooted in the renewed vision and purpose. It is a marvel almost the equal of the miracles.

Malawi and the other water couriers were sent out today to bring back a quadruple portion before we take the first step of our migration, scheduled for the minute they return.

Our plan is to head to the desert crossroads and from there make our way back to the hiding place.

Before Elijah sequestered himself, he charged me with a special task – to check for any other tares among the wheat. Not to do anything about them, we’ll leave that to the angels, but simply to be aware.