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END of ROMANCE and ROMANCING
Time had passed. Much had happened. Many developments had thrust home their pieces, like so many daggers in a corpse; which ethereally alive, somehow continued to dance. Hu still held the melody in his mind. However the strain was showing.
A new sense of desperate conviviality began to make Hu afraid that he might lose that essential gravity which any god must seek, if he is to be taken seriously. 'He' ? That must be watched. He was a 'he' and could not avoid it, but a god is better abstract, yet not too abstract, he thought, if one is to be ruler.
Such problems always increased in perplexity as his charm began to become so diffused that some thought he was ageing too fast, and others that he was delightfully young again.
The moment had to come, and it came. Hu had always had a slightly playful attitude to it, as a child might when playing the part of a ruling millionaire, or must it nowadays be billionaire, when some have tens of these to play with ? Gravity now however settled on him like a mountain.
Striding into the Assembly, this time met in a temple of its own choosing, which some called the Temple of Human Understanding, in deference to the past, but others were seeking to have named, The Temple of Man, while naturally enough others insisted that it had better be, The Temple of Hupersons, which troubling some, led to a compromise of Temple of Human Person. Others sought to change this since to them it evoked the name, Temple of Human Prison, to which others again replied, that to them it was nearer to Temple of Human Prism, in which coloured lights appear.
That is why the actual name of the temple is rather difficult to narrate; but in any case, Hu now entered it.
Spotlights illuminated various symbols of past religions, as they were deemed to be in this human efflorescence, and taking a perfume of exquisite fragrance, Hu wafted an incense of unity about them all. We, he intoned, are all one now, and we need in the midst of the wonder and glory of it all, a face. Communism always lacked one; the Christian one was marred beyond recognition; but I for my part, am not marred, no nor ever intend to be. The days come when physiology will have an answer, and here, my friends, Look, your God!
The appalled assemblage was not quite clear as to the intention of this Behold! act, as is the case with many worshippers of other idols in our contemporary religions, some shrouding themselves in languages scarcely understood, as if the object is not knowledge but manipulation.
Hu walked about the platform, covered with mirrors, and his image became multiplied, while different coloured lights shone on each mirror, and a large star began to appear in the midst of all these images, next to which Hu stood. Suddenly, as if intoxicated, for the mind is capable of many forms of intoxication, he admired his own images, feeling that he was vast in power, enormous in prestige, and ever bit the incarnation of humanity as one person. We, he declared, are all one, and your God is before you, alive in your presence, at peace with your wishes, delighted in your presence, filling your eyes with your own image, expressed alone in him.
It became suddenly like the soccer matches we see today. An enormous outbursting of feeling surged through the assemblage, and they intoned, Hu, he is God! Hu, he is god! the spelling differing according to the singers, but the sounds were the same.
Hu smiled complacently. This was the summit experience of his life and he intended to savour its largesse, delight in its bounty. Power, honour, glory, all were his.
The singing of the crowd began to resemble some great hymn, yes, it was a hymn to humanity - that, he thought wryly even in glory, is one sound of 'him' still permitted. A glow suffused his spirit, and a contentment such as he had often longed for began to arise like some spring, in his midst.
One thing, however, oddly challenged him even at such a moment. Cleo! WHERE WAS SHE ? He was still subject to death, for all the oratory. Death!
A chilling thought attacked him. While showing himself that he was God, he realised the force of a passage relayed by Cleo in one of her ... insurgencies. Ezekiel somewhere, 28 ? Will you still say you are God when I slay you! Wasn't that it ?
A terrifying chill affected him, and its source was not psychological alone, nor engendered solely from his own spirit. A light not from the illumination of the platform was undoubtedly shining. It grew and grew, it mounted like peaks, it descended as if to scour out the darkness of the valleys, and in sheer power to eliminate all hiding.
The singing ceased. The temperature rose. His spirit just now soaring, now soured as he began to droop into his slummocking spiritual slumminess. His conscience re-awakened from that awful, that aweful silence it had now practised for some time. Prepare to meet your God! came a voice that he was sure he could hear. The people were seeking to disperse. Fear was upon the flight, as their ashen faces moved, to Hu's just now elated sight, like the troop of misty men going to bury themselves. The thought of his recent dream on burying, erratically returned to his now splitting spirit, his waywardness now exposed taking parts of it here and there, until he scarcely knew who he was and if he was.
YOU! a god ? a voice came to his incinerating mind. YOU! and he felt transported to judgment.
Meanwhile, a commotion was heard on the Mount of Olives. It was not enough that there was an earthquake, the mount splitting along geological fault lines. There was there also an aura no earth light could invent.
The Messiah! many began to cry. A celestial entourage now appeared, as if the spiritual thrusts of the millenia was now essentialised into one. Little children began to glory! understanding shone into the hearts of many of these, but their parents seemed appalled.
A song was heard from the angels, and cursings from many of those present. Truth was heir apparent to the throne of the earth, and He had come, just as He went, just as the angels had said, as if space were no more relevant to His advent than sea to His walking, on that occasion when He joined the ship, after rejecting the call to be King!
THAT ? That occasion of John 6, it would have been for a king without glory. It was not for such glory that He had come, but for rescue.
It was the great search and rescue mission that soared, a Peak above all, a Summit to all summits. The sort of king that God is: it is one of lowliness and truth, where error is dispelled not by force but rather by demonstration, where grandeur is not in gorgeousness nor is guile but in the very glory of God. For centuries man had sought to abort the truth; but now the truth aborted the philosophies of man. They had been shown in their irrational simplistic follies often enough, but now the Truth Himself sat in a judgment which none could answer. His rule began; and Jerusalem at last welcomed her King, not for several days, in order the better to contrast His crucifixion, but for ever.
To be sure, as the time passed, and history began to adjust to the presence of God, the Creator as Redeemer upon this earth, as beauty and truth with peace proliferated like wheat for the harvest, golden grains of summit splendour a spiritual crop, there was an intransigeance in truth and a magnificence of goodness which left some dissatisfied, feeling the need of autonomy, despite the fate of Hu: perhaps without pomp, but still, assuredly with power.
Thus there came at length a rumbling of rebellion, so that it might be fulfilled to the uttermost, what was written in Isaiah 26:10:
"Let grace be shown to the wicked,
Yet he will not learn righteousness;
In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly,
And will not behold the majesty of the Lord."
Indeed, the events of Revelation 20 ensued with their final lash, to expose the fact anew that it is irrelevant how glorious is the peace, how peaceable is the glory, that man is never satisfied, when autonomy is his heart's old god, with truth. The final rebellion exposed wilting will, arrogant to the end, in its mere irrationality; for no man can exclude the God who made him, or even continue his made condition ex-God, who maintains all.
As this final lust lurched onto the peaceful scene, there came an august awe on all. Sheep and goats seemed then all too manifest, too evident a conclusion, and the great scene was enacted. The Book of Life of Rev. 20 knew its people and their visas to eternity had been established before creation so much as occurred (Ephesians 1:4).
Suddenly, the heaven and the earth departed as the people of God had done earlier in their rapture, at the time of the trial of Hu's children. There was simply no place found for them. A new heaven and new earth were seen created for the people of God, those whom in love He had sought, never by mere force changing, nor yet leaving all to man, whose sin blinded him. No, God knew His own, and seeking all, conserved whom He found. Having known them before terrestrial time commenced, He would know them when the profundities of celestial time pervaded the new heavens and the new earth.
Having come in flesh, and been murdered in the format of man, as foretold through the ages, always inextinguishable, quietly resuming the flesh on the third day as was so often written, He had not merely pronounced but performed the defeat of death, so dynamically deserved by all; and shown life after it in His own body. Thus had He made the way plain to faith, the way of fact, the path of heart, the trail of love, the passage of power: indeed, the glory of God. This remained, and all who were His remained in these resurrected formats. It was no more difficult for God, infinite both in power and in wisdom, to restore eternity in bodies meant for it, to man, than to create time and space for his containment in the first place.
Nor was this ever all, but a mere platform for performance, and a site for exhibition of spiritual things, including His own love, sacrifice and triumph.
It was all written, and now done. In His earthly time, He was smitten, yet death folded before His impeccable majesty. The ages had now rolled to their terminus, where ruin and redemption swept all before them, like vast oceanic waves of immense power, but working with it all were the majestic proportions of absolute truth. And now like surging, roaring breakers displaying their magnificence came the waves of truth, where love and justice met, and redemption realised its own.
At last, the preliminaries complete, did Ralph and Harry, did Margaret and Cleo, did every mother and every daughter, every father and every son, every friend and every soldier of the cross, come into the finale past all tests. Complete from the resurrection, they were now replete. The service of God that pre-eminent and incomparable creator of all beauty, the criterion of truth, the acme of peace, the due ground of worship and the meaning for man, the disposer of individuality and its summit: this proceeded without violence or violation, the Lamb Himself the Temple, rituals surrendered to reality, and reality that glory which could not fade.
Unfading, unsilenced, but endued, the personal place of each became a nest of light, and the profundities of peace made the oceanic wonders of the past, now but a symbol of a divine greatness that gloriously surpassed even those seas, in its beauty.
It was not, said Ralph, the lunar silver which ruled. It was not, said Cleo, the human gold which won; nor was it, Margaret continued, the wit or wisdom of the race which won it! Worship of creation was as barren as the moon, as incinerative as the sun, but as inept as death! How they delighted in each other's company but now one thing more was absolutely apparent: this was in proportion as their spirits sailed in the winds of wonder, adoring the God who made them all.
Their words were somehow accompanied by a celestial choir, and they found themselves drawn with an amazing combination of facility and awe, to participate in that song of praise.
Light, it proceeded, is where love dwells, and in truth is peace.
Glory to the Lamb who was slain, and to His wisdom,
whose patience is profound,
whose longsuffering infinite,
whose peace impenetrable and
whose ways an empire of elixirs and a mountain of goodness.
It is good to be home at last, Cleo declared. And how ample! echoed Harry.
As they spoke it was as if whole chorus of a thousand magpies warbled in unutterable joy, and each was still, suddenly realising that they were seeing God, face to face.