Sunday, May 20, 2007

chapter 32

a writing sample. I wrote a book last year, and thought i'd give you a chapter every now and then. Writing is a very important of who I am, and my gift to the kingdom and the churches i serve.

Chapter 32: Stained Glass

Two towering pieces of glass adorned the front of the mystic cathedral.Crystal clear. They may not have been perfect, but they were good…very good. And the light from the sun flowed through them uninterrupted with force andprecision into the majestic church. In the bright, crisp morning the glasswas there, drawing the sunlight in, like the oceans draw the rivers tothemselves; and like gravity draws all things to the earth.

The old architect would come and look at the windows, as the dusk would fall away from the earth…and even then he could see the starlight cascading through them…and in the glow of the moonlight he would smile and then go home to rest. Until one day, he came to the church in the cool of the day and looked up tosee that the windows had been broken. Glass was everywhere, inside thesanctuary and outside in the garden. And his visage darkened as he approached the old doors and went inside the church. He was an old man now, older than any could say, and he was angry at the violence and muttered to himself as he went inside. And there amongst the shards of glass was an apple. An apple with 2 bite marks in it and a poisoned wormhole in the bottom. Obviously, it had been hurled up at the windows in some foolish act of defiance and rebellion. The old man threw the apple back out the windows and it fell far away past the garden and the statue sentries which guard it with flaming swords. Scowling…he left the building for the night. But, unseen to all a small worm crawled out of the apple on its belly and slidback into the darkness of the blackened and blighted Earth.

He went home to tell his son, for his son was his apprentice and had madethe windows himself by hand. By doing so, the windows had always been special to him, precious to him, intimate to him. He knew his son would be mad…and..sad, and so he was. The son cried through the long, long night of silence. The next day, the Father brought his son to the old church. His son’s fingers were more nimble than his own, and he asked the younger man to pickup the pieces and clean up the old church. And the son, loving his father ashe did, obeyed him and started picking up the pieces. The boy picked up thepieces as best he could, but the longer he worked, the more the shards cut him and stained the glass. But he would not have one piece be lost, so he searched everywhere in the garden and in the church till he found everybroken sliver. He searched like a miser would for a lost coin; or a shepherda lost sheep; or, as a parent would search for a lost child. He pushed overall the tables in the sanctuary, and dove his head through the briary thorns of the garden searching for even the smallest shard. Even the pieces nobody would think mattered, the sort of pieces most of us would just ignore. By so doing he honored his father, and wanted the old architect to have his cathedral back the way he intended. And so for hours and hours on Friday he picked up the pieces, cherishing each one strangely, only half-aware that he was bleeding all over the carpet and the garden outside.

The next morning his father went to look for him. He found his son, by the altar inside with the glass shards draped closely and carefully in his hands…he had found every one. The son’s eyes were wide open, and tears stillglistened on his face. And he was smiling, looking upwardly…smiling withjoy. But he was rigid and unmoving. He was dead. His blood had dripped and splattered all over the earth outside and all overthe interior of the cathedral. The architect howled in agony and fell to his knees digging his fingers intothe bloodstained carpet by his son’s feet. His screams echoed out and filledthe cosmos with reverberations of anguish and emptiness. He cried and heaved till he was spent with exhaustion, the sky growing dark. He tore down a curtain tapestry in the sanctuary and ripped it to shreds in adrenaline passion and fury. Then when he was empty…the sun came out again and spilled into the world. Later he carried his son’s body outside to rest it in the sun. He held the pieta moment in his heart, with his limp son hanging off of his lap. The sunlight splashed upon his gray face, but the pale body without blood was already turning into a corpse. He turned away, forsaking the moment and then went inside to clean up the mess. He tried to sweep up the glass, but just couldn’t get it all up. Resigning from the chore he wentback out through the large gopher wood doors. When he returned, his son was gone. Like dust in the wind, he had simply turned to ashes and blown away. Nearby the old man could hear the calling of a bird, the sound of a Phoenix. The architect crashed through the bushes searching for the bird, but exhausted hours later he was no closer. He gave up and wandered zombie-like back to the church. Mystery and confusion was written on his furrowed brow. The father sat there with all the stained glass and hung his head and cried, long bitter tears. Then he gathered the glass and went home for the night.

The next day the father awoke with an inspiration. He would take all thestained glass and re-form the window as a tribute to his son and hissacrifice for a father’s love. He carefully took each piece and put thewindow back together, adding color here and there to tell the story of his son’s sacrifice for his father. 3 days in total passed while he worked night and day in the tomb of his workshop, and then it was finally complete. And when it was done the window was resurrected and stood again in the sun andin the sanctuary of his creation, but this time it was different. This time a red hue colored everything inside the cathedral…and by sunlight or starlight all who came could read the story of the son through the shards that stood up in the light. And in the cool of the day, the great designer could be with his 2 prized possessions again…the windows shattered and reformed, with the blood of his son imprinted on all of them. And deep in his heart was a bitter joy that always captivated him when he looked at it. And he was filled with mystery and paradox deep into the night. Strangely, neither the windows nor his son ever seemed as beautiful as they were now. And he remembered an old saying, lost in a book long forgotten…but nowsomehow fresh:

“Men without God are like stained glass windows in the dark.”

And he pondered this deeply all night long. The next morning, on a cloudydawn, he came to the church again to see the windows in the pitch black.When he arrived his heart was full of dread and despair for nothing could beseen at all and he was again haunted by both the loss of the windows and hisson. He then seemed to fall asleep and started to dream. And then the first glints of dawn hit the window and suddenly it was all alive. And he looked up and saw his son smiling at him in the window, smiling and laughing and dancing and singing. And all the glass sung withhim and danced with him in the light. It was then that the father knew the window was a portal, to someplace on the other side of eternity. Magically, somehow this is the enchantment the window now held. And so he reached out his hand to touch his son, and as their fingers touched…he was gone. People still come to the window today, though very few understand it.

The story is told well or poorly based upon the tour guide’s experience and so some still feel the enchantment while others dismiss it all as myth or worse. Still, they just keep coming back, as I do, to stare at it in starlight and sun. And when nobody is looking, when I sneak in at the early dawn, I touch it hoping it will carry me far, far away. It hasn’t yet. But when I do touch it I can almost hear the son singing my name, and I can seemy reflection in one of the glass pieces. And in that reflection I always see him beside me, picking me up, with blood on his hands. And he holds me while I cut him and he never lets me go. And so I get up everyday to look at the window and to be the window. To let the sun shine on and in me, to let the tears of rain fall off me, and to let others look through me. And I hope that in the stained glass of my red eyes, somewhere they too will see the reflection of the son. That is my only prayer. And for that, I will search and carry my glass pieces for the rest of my life.

For what else could Ipossibly do?



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