The Message

In his current state, it might take years for Vic to recover his right mind. He’s been flaying around and mumbling the whole time in the back seat of my car. His mind, no longer aware of surroundings, seemed to be in a state of virtual reality. And that is the reason for the all-night drive.

I was told to not bring a phone or any electronic device with me. I was given a hand-drawn map with sketched landmarks to direct me once I left Highway 16.

Down the backroads, I questioned what I saw. Those Aspens by a fence – is that what’s shown here? Was that the rock formation I was supposed to turn at?  Where are the three lone towering Ponderosa Pines? Is that the field of wildflowers I drive alongside?

After two hours I found myself at a huge rock formation that jutted out northward per the “N” on my map. According to the sketch, an Indian would be there waiting for me. What happens now?

Out from behind a rock came the Indian. He came over to my car and looked inside. When he saw Vic, he shook his head. He looked at me, pointed to himself and said “Notah”. He asked me if I had any electronic devices. I assured him that I didn’t. He told me to follow his pickup truck.

After driving an hour or so, somewhere around Bighorn National Forest, we drove up to the off-the-grid Fire and Flame Human Refuge. Notah helped me walk Vic to the door of the lodge. A petite older woman came out and helped me walk Vic inside. I turned to thank Notah but he was gone.

Inside, there was pine wood everywhere. I felt I had returned to summer camp. A door swung open and the room filled with the aroma of baked corn bread . . . and chili?

With the woman’s help, I brought Vic into the Great Room. I settled him in an arm chair that faced outside. A field of wild flowers was in view. In the distance, fir tree-skirted mountains. Vic put out his hand and began twitching his thumb as if flicking a TV remote button.

There must have been twenty-five people in the Great Room. Catatonic people.

Sharon introduced herself. She was the one who had helped me with Vic. I learned that she managed the refuge. I asked about the people in the Great Room.

“Do you see that woman standing by the window?” Sharon pointed.

“Yes.”

“That is Marisa. She is not looking at the wilderness in front of her. She sees only her reflection in the glass. Up till now Marisa has spent most of her time taking selfies and posting them on social media.”

“What about that man who seems to be constantly scrolling with his finger?”

“Before Bill came here, he was constantly checking social media pages for updates. He developed the scrolling-finger habit as part of a social-validation feedback loop. Dopamine was released into his brain when someone liked or commented on something he posted. Right now, he’s in withdrawal from the social-validation feedback of dopamine.”

“What about that teenage girl over there? The one with the wide-eyed look?” I asked.

“Myra was brought here by her mother. She had isolated herself from her family. She spent hours of the day on social media. Myra has a fear of missing out. It is a common phenomenon for teens to want to be socially connected. Technology offers a non-stop social-validation feedback loop. A teenager, fearing the possibility of social alienation, goes online constantly for validation.

Myra developed a sleep disorder after staying up all night texting. Her school work suffered. She developed poor eating habits and gained weight. The negative effects of her social media interface made her depressed, angry and less social. Technology presents teenagers with a false sense of relational security while ignoring those in the same house.”

“Is that young boy here for the same reason?” I nodded my head in the boy’s direction.

“Yes, similar reasons. His father brought him here. John was online playing games for hours and hours. His father asked him to spend time with him outside – play catch, go fishing. But John refused. Like Myra’s social-validation obsession, when John didn’t play or interact with the games, he thought he was missing out. His father could see that John was missing out on life, so he brought him here.”

“What about that older couple sitting in the arm chairs?”

“They are Jim and Sally. Their close friends brought them here. They were very concerned for them. They told me that Jim and Sally would get up in the morning, turn on the TV and listen for the weather forecast. They would leave the TV on the rest of the day and sit and listen to the world’s take on things and the advertised solution: problem, problem, problem, cure; problem, problem, problem, cure; problem, cure; day and night.

By their friend’s account, Jim and Sally had become terrified, angry and even despairing by what they heard. Honestly, that’s what Noise does to people. C’mon. Let’s listen to them for a moment . . .”

“Jim, you are a racist.”

“We both are Sally. They said so.”

“They’re telling us that we could die from cancer or climate change or COVID or the guy in the White House if we don’t do something.”

“How about we just die, Sally, and be done with the whole business?”

“Now Jim. We should listen to them. They know better than us. They’ve told us so many times that we can’t trust our own thinking . . .”

“I am glad their friend brought them here,” Sharon said. “They needed relief from the Noise . . . At Fire and Flame, we don’t give people sedatives. We give them space to work out their salvation.”

Sharon then asked me why I brought Vic to Fire and Flame.

“Vic has been a friend of mine since high school. We hung around each other and kidded each other all the time. But then things changed when he got devices. He was no longer present with me or to anyone, really. It seemed to me and his other friends that Vic was using technology to avoid us. He talked incessantly about what this and that could do.

Vic’s other friends gave up on Vic. They had come to find out that Vic had spent large portions of his paycheck on new devices. He bragged about the new devices until one day he came to one of his friends and asked him for a loan. Vic wasn’t able to pay the mortgage. He had to borrow money. But that wasn’t the breaking point for Vic.

I heard from a friend that Vic wanted to join me at the Remnant camp to escape the COVIDians. Two people had come to his door and asked him for his Vax papers. Vic learned the reason they came to his door: they had been monitoring him through his devices. He didn’t have Vax papers because he refused to be vaccinated.

The two COVIDians declared Vic “unsafe’ and told him that he was banned from the Internet, email and online accounts. They took away his phone, laptop and internet connection. They wrote his name down on a ledger and said they would be back the next day.

I relayed back to Vic that he could come to the Remnant camp but he would have to go to Fire and Flame first.”

As I was talking to Sharon, Vic got out of his chair and began walking around the Great Room. He was again flaying his arms and mumbling to himself.

“When they first come here,” Sharon said, “they are agitated.” They haven’t been used to having their hands free. They are restless, hyperactive, and full of nervous energy. They cannot tolerate a sense of boredom and look for highly stimulating activity. They walk around and say and do things and are unaware of the effect they have on others. It will take time for Vic to become focused and to stay focused on reality.

“Fire and Flame . . .?”

“Fire and Flame is a portal to a world away from the constant pinging of digital devices. The Dark Forces of this world produce relentless Noise. It is meant to unsettle and distract you from The Message. Here, there is Signal not Noise.”

“Message? Signal?” I asked.

“You will find out tonight.” Sharon replied. “C’mon I’ve prepared a room for you. You can rest before dinner.”

****

A bell rang. We were summoned to dinner and I was again reminded of summer camp. I got up, splashed some water on my face, got dressed and headed down the hallway.

 The dining room was another pine-paneled Great Room: floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides and a fireplace. Twenty-four pine-wood tables filled the room.

When everyone had gathered and were seated, Sharon asked “Evangelist Mark” to please ask the Lord’s blessing on the meal. Evangelist Mark stood up and prayed the blessing on the cornbread, chili, salad and the lemonade (what I used to call “bug juice” in my camp days). Odd how the past and present comingle and not just in my dreams.

I looked around the room. Six people sat at each table. And though so many filled the Great Room, there was little chatter. I saw many somber faces. Some stared off and ate, unaware that others were sitting across from them. Others fidgeted with their silverware and played with their food. A few were animated and tried talking to those around them but received no response.

Sharon sat down and gave a big sigh. She and her helpers had made sure everyone had food before sitting down. “How’s the food?”

“Delicious! The aromas had made me when I came in this morning,” I replied. “Is that Bach I hear in the background?

“Yes. Bach is the sound of redemption. It is particularly effective in helping to balance our brains between dissonance and consonance. The mind is then able to focus and attain deep concentration. This enables an inner quickening of the imagination, creativity, memory and intuition.”

Across the table from the two of us sat Joe. Sharon asked Joe to tell me why he had come to Fire and Flame.

“Well,” Joe began, “. . .  a 5G network. I was told that it was the bee’s knees. They said it was designed to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices. With it, I was to be almost omniscient – aware of everyone and everything through a mobile ecosystem.

But using it day after day I found myself thinking about the device and what it wanted me to be aware of and wanted me to do next. I had become connected to an impersonal object that was directing my life with its AI. I was fooling myself – actually, I was subverting myself – pretending to be aware and to be in control of my life.

“That’s what brought me here. The addiction to being omniscient and to controlling things was intense. I spent most of my time working the device. I was doing apps, pushing buttons – nonstop! I finally asked myself “Why does my heart tell me to think like this? Inside my head . . . it was like John Cage music playing over and over.

One day I heard of Fire and Flame from a neighbor who was fleeing the COVIDian and Woke persecutions. He said that he was going to the Remnant camp. One night I left everything behind when his car showed up. He drove me here.”

Joe ended his account with a smile.

“Jennifer,” Sharon leaned over. “This afternoon Vic broke into my office. He was looking for a device to get on the internet. I have none. Then he started breaking into cars and trucks looking for a way to connect and found nothing. Then he ran into the woods. Notah found him and brought him back.”

“Vic may try again tonight. If he does Notah will follow him. No one is a prisoner here. We understand it’s a major struggle to be free from Noise. Notah will ask if he wants to return. If not, he will take Vic to a bus stop many miles away from here.

“We are a refuge for humans. We can’t help trans-humans, if that is what Vic wants. They are wired for Noise. We are to live as humans, we are to love. Trans-humans cannot live, cannot love. They only obey digital prompts and inputs.”

****

At twilight, the group from dinner came down to the fire pit. We sat down on the semi-circle of logs around the bonfire. The sun had gone down behind the horizon of mountains and no longer gilded their peaks.

Above us, in the blue-to-black July sky, a conjunction of terrestrial objects – Venus, Mars and the moon. They were easily visible. Venus shone brighter and slightly below the red planet. The familiar moon was making its circuit below.

Across that cosmic vista came a silhouette of a black whirring object. And then another. Sharon leaned over and told me “They are the regime’s Charon drones. They are keeping an eye on us. The regime and the people of the Noise are terrified of the people of the Signal”.

At that moment, a young boy, maybe ten or eleven years old, got up and stood next to the fire. He began . . .

Psalm 1

Happy are those
    who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
    or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law they meditate day and night.

They are like trees . . .

The boy recited the Psalm from memory. He sat down and then an older woman – a grandmother? – got up. She began to recite Psalm 61 from memory . . .

Hear my cry, O God;
    listen to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to you,
    when my heart is faint.

Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I;
for you are my refuge,
    a strong tower against the enemy . . .

When she had finished, a teenage girl stood up and recited Psalm 104 from memory . . .

 Bless the Lord, O my soul.
    O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
    wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,

    you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your chariot,
    you ride on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds your messengers,
    fire and flame your ministers . . .

When she had finished, she sat down. Each of them had recited their Psalm as a dramatic reading. The words came from their soul.

The drones, now four of them, blotted out starlight as they hovered and circled. I looked around. Was I the only one who noticed them?

Someone yelled “Evangelist Mark! Give us the Good News!” More joined the call.

A man, fiftyish, got up. He took off his glasses and handed them to Sharon. (I learned later that they were husband and wife.) He covered her with a blanket.

The night air had become chilly. More wood was thrown onto the bonfire. People huddled together under blankets. Faces became animated with the fluctuating glow of the roaring fire. All eyes were on Evangelist Mark.

This is where the good news starts – the good news of Jesus the Messiah, God’s son . . .

I recognized the words from the opening of The Gospel According to Mark.

“A shout goes up in the desert; make way for the Lord! Clear a straight path for him! . . .” . John the Baptizer appeared in the desert . . . “Someone a lot stronger than me is coming close behind” . . . This is how it happened . . .After John’s arrest, Jesus came in to Galilee, announcing God’s good news. “The time is fulfilled! God’s kingdom is arriving! Turn back and believe the good news!” . . .When the sun went down and evening came, they brought to Jesus everyone who was ill, all who were demon possessed . . .

Jesus went back to Capernaum . . . a crowd gathered with the result that people couldn’t even get near the door as he was telling them the message . . . A party arrived: four people carrying a paralyzed man, bringing him to Jesus. They couldn’t get through to him because of the crowd, so they opened up the roof above where he was . . . they used ropes to let down the stretcher the paralyzed man was lying on.  Jesus saw their faith and said to the paralyzed man, “Child, your sins are forgiven!” . . .

Evangelist Mark, from memory, continued his dramatic narration of the whole gospel to its conclusion . . .

When Jesus was raised, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first of all to Mary Magdalene . . . Later Jesus appeared to the eleven . . . he told them off for their unbelief and hardheartedness . . . “Go into all the world and announce the message to all creation” . . . When the Lord Jesus had spoken with them, he was taken up into heaven, and sat down at God’s right hand. They went out and announced the message everywhere. The Lord worked with them, validating their message by the signs that accompanied them.

For over an hour, the fireside group sat captivated by The Message. When Evangelist Mark sat down, someone in the group began singing. Then others joined:

If we die with him, we shall live with him;

If we endure patiently, we shall reign with him;

If we deny him, he will deny us:

If we are faithless, he remains faithful. For he cannot deny his own self.

While they sang, I looked for Vic. Then I saw him leaning against a tree, back from the group. Shadows came and went across him, as many began walking back to their rooms. Was that a sparkle of belief in his eyes? Was that the glistening of a tear?

Sharon and her husband Tom – “Evangelist Mark” – walked me back to the refuge rooms. I was tired. Tomorrow I would make the long drive back to the Remnant Camp and to people of the Signal there. Sharon told me that Notah would help me ditch the drones. He knew when they came and went. He could tell by their noise.

©Jennifer Ann Johnson, Kingdom Venturers, 2021, All Rights Reserved

*****

*****

War Room Episodes:

“Episode_1093 The people aren’t waiting politicians to save them anymore, and we discuss the effects of the vaccine.”
“Episode_10979 Our military is being weakened and Christian churches are under attack in Canada”

*****

Who is Dr. Malone?

*****

Informed Dissent:

Camilla Canepa was operated on by Gianluigi Zona, director of the neurosurgical and neuro-traumatological clinic of the San Martino hospital: “I had never seen a brain that was affected by such an extensive and severe thrombosis.”  . . .

The girl arrived in the emergency room in the Lavagna hospital on June 3, just a week after the AstraZeneca shot. She had complained of severe headaches.

Beautiful young Italian girl killed by Vaccine… – CITIZEN FREE PRESS

Aussie police execute door to door ‘Vaccine Education’… – CITIZEN FREE PRESS

Two studies: Covid-19 vaccines trigger Graves’ disease in some female health care workers | Sharyl Attkisson

Biden’s Door to Door Vaccine Sales Pitch Leaked: Tells ‘Ambassadors’ to Ignore ‘No Solicitation’ Signs and to Withhold Vaccine Side Effects (thegatewaypundit.com)

(UPDATED) Exclusive Summary: Covid-19 Vaccine Concerns | Sharyl Attkisson

‘Unvaccinated should not be allowed to work, have access to children’… – CITIZEN FREE PRESS

Macron — The un-Vaccinated officially become second class citizens… – CITIZEN FREE PRESS

Natural infection vs vaccination: Which gives more protection? – Israel National News

45 Year Old John Hopkins Hospital Employee Dies After Reaction To Mandatory Covid Shot – The Empoweror

Vaccinated people now make up almost 47% of all new Covid cases, symptom-tracking app claims | Daily Mail Online

“This Is Worrying Me Quite A Bit”: mRNA Vaccine Inventor Shares Viral Thread Showing COVID Surge In Most-Vaxxed Countries | ZeroHedge

Archbishop Viganò: Vaccines made with fetal tissue are a ‘human sacrifice of innocent victims offered to Satan’ | Blogs | LifeSite (lifesitenews.com)

Woman Has Both Legs and Hands Amputated After COVID Jab | Populist Press 2021 ©

Bombshell lawsuit: Gov’t whistleblower says coronavirus vaccine deaths at least 45,000 | News | LifeSite (lifesitenews.com)

47 studies confirm ineffectiveness of masks for Covid and 32 more confirm their negative health effects | News | LifeSite (lifesitenews.com)

*****

Anti-vaccine groups changing into ‘dance parties’ on Facebook to avoid detection (nbcnews.com)

How anti-vaccine groups are camouflaging themselves on Facebook (yahoo.com)

Added 7-27-21:

>>>>>>> You will want to listen to this video about the COVIDian vaccines before it is removed from YouTube:

“. . . So, it is absolutely inevitable that blood clots will form . . . permanently damaged lungs . . . “

No Cause for Alarm

The account of my neighbor Mr. Jones . . .

Just yesterday I saw a van pull into our apartment building parking lot. The van was white with big block letters on the side: COMMUNITY CARE. And beneath, Wellness Starts and Ends with You! Above the van was a swarm of police helicopters.

Five figures got out of the van. They were covered head to toe in chemical hazard PPE. Each carried a canister with a hose and nozzle attached. I thought What the heck is this? Are these guys the new pest control? There must be some huge cockroaches! I watched as they entered my building.

Through my door’s peephole I could see them knocking on the door of my neighbor’s first-floor apartment. The door opened and a hand came out. A bony finger pointed at my door. What is going on?

Then I heard a knock. I opened slightly and said “Can I help you?” The hazmat suit answered, “I am Inspector Lazarus, head of COMMUNITY CARE. I want to talk to you.” Hazmat guy then stuck his cannister into the door opening.

“What do you want?” I asked trying to push the cannister out the door with my foot.

“Didn’t you see the notice posted in the lobby?”

“What notice?”

One of the hazmat suits ripped a yellow paper from the bulletin board and handed it to Inspector Lazarus.

“The rule is simple”, Lazarus read, “get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do.” He handed me the paper. “You sir, are out of compliance according to your neighbor! Step aside!”

Hazmat pushed the door open and sprayed me with some acrid smelling mist. Four hazmat suits followed him in.

I yelled “Stop!” but the four hazmat suits began spraying down my apartment. One in my bedroom, one in my bathroom, one in my kitchen and one in my living room. I headed toward the bedroom.

“Back off!” Inspector Lazarus grabbed my arm. “Let them do their job!”

“The job of what, may I ask?”

“Community care and wellness,” Inspector Lazarus replied. “Our records show that you have not been vaccinated.”

“There’s no law that says I have to.”

“Ah, but there are regulations. Public health must be regulated. And what will your neighbors think if you do not obey the simple rule, Mr. Jones?”

“My neighbors can think what they like.”

“Ah, but that’s where you are wrong, Mr. Jones. Community wellness includes peace of mind.”

“Then tell them that I . . . Look! I’m healthy! . . . I just had my yearly physical. I’m in perfect health! My blood pressure is low, my cholesterol is low, my . . .my doctor will prescribe Ivermectin if I have symptoms.”

“Is your doctor a Wellness doctor, Mr. Jones?” Lazarus tightened his grip on my arm.

“A what?” “What is that horrible stuff they’re spraying?

“Mr. Jones, this is a public health matter. Not just any doctor . . . It’s what you don’t know that will hurt you, Mr. Jones! That’s why the National Public Health Recovery & Rebuild Administration was created and given plenary power of public health. You must choose a doctor on their list. It’s that simple.”

“What’s simple is that I have a doctor. I’ve known him for years.”

“If your doctor passes the NPHRRA certification program then he can put a Wellness sign on his door and web page. If not, you will have to choose from the list. Here’s doctor Smoltz. See him this afternoon. I made an appointment for you.” Inspector Lazarus held up his phone and showed me the screen.

Right then a hazmat suit walked up with my laptop, phone and my handguns. Through the window I saw my car being towed away.

“Hey, you have no right!”

No cause for alarm, Mr. Jones. We are taking precautions as part of the NPHRRA proactive initiatives. We remove anything that may cause future harm. We are to Build Back Better, as they say.””

“You have no right! I’ll take you to court!”

“What are you going to do, Mr. Jones? Go all Supreme Court on me? Listen! The courts are comprised of cooperating judges. They are accountable to NPHRRA and not to the law and certainly not to that thing called The Constitution. What does it say about public health science? Nothing!”

“Get the hell out of my apartment!”

“Calm down Mr. Jones. There’s no cause for alarm. You’ll get your things back when you comply with the simple rule. Oh, and we have detained your sister until you do.”

“What the hell?! You can’t do that!”

“Public health is a matter of national security, Mr. Jones. How can your neighbor Mrs. Niblock feel secure if you are not complying with a simple rule?”

“She can mind her own business to feel secure!”

 Now, here’s what’s in store for you Mr. Jones. You are to be confined to your home until further notice. I will come back tomorrow. If you have not visited Dr. Smoltz and haven’t worn your mask you will be publicly censored by the community. Your name will appear in the press.”

“I don’t have a car now. How could I even get to this Dr. Smoltz?”

“Use this NPHRRA approved phone to call the NPHRRA approved Uber to get you to the appointment. Oh, and another thing. If you do not comply with the simple rule, your rent will increase and you will be forced to pay state and federal VAX taxes.”

“This is insane! This Is not fair!”

“Mr. Jones, please! The NPHRRA operates under the direction of the Center for Progress Control. NPHRRA’s mission is to enforce health equity —embed equity in practice, process, action, innovation, and organizational performance and outcomes; build alliances and share power via meaningful engagement; ensure equity in innovation for marginalized and minoritized people and communities; push upstream to address all determinants of health; and foster truth, reconciliation, racial healing, and transformation.

When you are vaccinated, Mr. Jones, you will be given a CPC ID card. The card will provide access to all benefits and functions approved by the NPHRRA. The card will remain valid as long as you follow CPC/NPHRRA guidelines. See. There is no cause for alarm. It’s that simple, Mr. Jones.”

With that, the hazmat suits left. I opened my windows. The sharp-tasting air made me sick. The whole business made me furious.

I had no way to contact anyone. When I finally decided to leave the apartment, I saw Mrs. Niblock wagging her finger at me through from her apartment window. I wanted to give her the finger but I thought better of myself. I walked over to my neighbor Jennifer and told her what had happened. We came up with a plan.

When COMMUNITY CARE came back the next day – hazmat suits and helicopters, I told Inspector Lazarus that I would see Dr. Smoltz that afternoon. I had made a new appointment. I told Lazarus that I was afraid the day before but now I was willing to comply with the simple rule. I even put a mask on to take out the garbage that morning so that Mrs. Niblock would see and report it to Lazarus.

Then, I pulled Lazarus aside and offered him $5000.00 dollars to have my sister released immediately. I showed him the money. He took it and called to have her released.

“Mr. Jones, I am happy to hear that you are willing to comply. As our motto states Wellness Starts and Ends with You! I didn’t want wellness to be the end of you.

Anyway, Mr. Jones, this isn’t about you or me. This is about salvation itself. Dr. Smoltz will report back to me. So, there should be no further cause for alarm.”

When the helicopters and the COMMUNITY CARE van left, that was the signal for Jennifer. She drove to a side street a block away from the apartment building. That morning she had packed up her things and put them in the car. I carried all the things I could and snuck out the patio door so as to be out of Mrs. Niblock’s sight. I placed my things in Jennifer’s car.

We left town that morning. On the way out we bought some burner phones. We drove by my sister’s house and gave one to her. We told her to leave town. Then we drove all day and night to a remote location. We joined the others, The Remnant, who had fled “community care”.

That location shall remain unnamed. Who knows who may be reading this?

©Jennifer Ann Johnson, Kingdom Venturers, 2021, All Rights Reserved

Added 7-7-2021:

Psaki announced on Monday that the administration has a plan to go “door-to-door” to convince people to get their vaccines.

Psaki Says Biden Will Use Door to Door Outreach to Get Americans Vaccinated

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Episode 993 – The Clever Lies of Covid-19 … Dr. Michael Yeadon Exposes Why

*****

Fauci Court:

Dr. Ezekial Emanuel tells Fauci — Covid seems ‘less harmful’ than the Flu… – CITIZEN FREE PRESS

SMOKING GUN: FAUCI LIED, MILLIONS DIED — Fauci Was Informed of Hydroxychloroquine Success in Early 2020 But Lied to Public Instead Despite the Science #FauciEmails (thegatewaypundit.com)

Fauci Privately Advised Obama Staffers to NOT Wear Masks: ‘Not Effective’. – The National Pulse

Critics slam Fauci after book announcement on ‘truth’ and ‘service,’ claiming he’s profiting off pandemic | Washington Examiner

Fauci Turns American Dating Apps Into Vaccine Tracking Devices – Revolver

ICAN Fauci Emails_2021_06_03 (mediafire.com)

COVID Court:

Israel reports link between rare cases of heart inflammation and COVID-19 vaccination in young men | Science | AAAS (sciencemag.org)

Vaccine researcher admits ‘big mistake,’ says spike protein is dangerous ‘toxin’ | News | LifeSite (lifesitenews.com)

COVID infection elicits long-lasting immunity, nullifying worldwide vaccine push: study | News | LifeSite (lifesitenews.com)

Fully vaccinated people who catch Covid variants may pass virus on, study finds (telegraph.co.uk)

Massive Undercounting of Potential Side Effects

Revolver Series, Part One: Exposing the Media’s Plot to Hide Record Vaccine Deaths and Deceive Americans – Revolver

FORMER VP OF PFIZER DR. MIKE YEADON SAYS VACCINES “FRIGHTENING” DON’T TAKE! COVID IS ABOUT CONTROL

The First Noël

The following took place during my thirteenth year . . .

A week before Christmas Day, a gaggle of us self-conscious teenagers loaded into three cars. We headed to Elgin State Hospital, formerly called the Northern Illinois Hospital and Asylum for the Insane. Our church’s youth group leader had decided that, in the spirit of Christmas, his charges should bring hope and joy to the less fortunate.

Four of us sat bunched together in the back seat of one of the cars. We kidded each other about who was the crazier. We cackled and fidgeted and sniffed the mimeographed sheets of Christmas Carols and became giddier. None of us knew what to expect. “But for the grace of God” is all I heard the youth group leader say before I got in the car.

The high school senior driving our car asked us if we wanted to hear about “Elgin State.” We became quiet and ready to squeal like when the four of us sat at a campfire last summer. Jeff slowly spun out his words and waited for our reaction.

 “They say the place is . . . haunted … horrific experiments had been performed there . . . spirits of the unclaimed dead walk the cemetery grounds and, . . .  in the buildings, . . . the criminally insane live there.”

It didn’t take much. Jeff’s description of Elgin State and the winter wind that howled through Jeff’s rusted-out car gave us goose bumps. I wound and unwound the pretty purple printed sheets. Lise snapped her gum. Mary kicked the front seat and Joan kept biting her nails.

The three cars drove through the front entrance and down a long driveway towards the largest brick building I had ever seen. I suddenly felt out of place. I saw no signs of Christmas anywhere.

We parked along the front of the building. The youth group leader led our group of sixteen through the front door. He announced us at the front desk. Soon an older gentleman came down the stairs.

Dr. I-Forget-His-Name was bald and wore thick-rimmed glasses. In his white lab coat, he looked like the mad scientist I’d seen in a movie that I wasn’t supposed to watch but watched anyway at a friend’s house. Up close, I could see small blood vessels on his nose and cheeks. Whispering to Lise, I wondered if that is what happened when you work here. I tried not to stare when he escorted the group upstairs.

On the second floor he directed us to a double-door entrance. We walked through it. The room before us was bigger than any church sanctuary I had been in. There were large windows along the length of the room. They were foggy, providing a pale spectral light. None of the patients stood near them.

There were no curtains around the windows. There were no pictures on the walls, no paintings, and no Christmas tree or decorations. The furniture, wooden chairs and tables, was scattered around the room on the dull linoleum floor. The hall seemed soulless and indifferent toward the fifty gowned inmates within it.

The patient’s voices, moans, yelps, and shrieks sounded like they were coming out from a deep cave. Many sat staring off blankly. Some of them bobbed their head endlessly. Those who walked around seemed content to be walking in no specific direction. Our appearance at the double-door made no difference to them.

We gathered in two rows just inside the doorway and began signing Jingle Bells. Our voices reverberated and then seemed to go off somewhere. Our captive audience didn’t stir. We followed with Silent Night. There were a couple of moans of recognition. Then we sang The First Noël.

The First Noel the angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds
In fields as they lay
In fields where they Lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter’s…

Out from the hallway behind us came a naked man. He began shouting and writhing right in front of us. One of the girls shrieked. The patients whooped and hollered.

Two men with white coats tried to grab the man. But he squirmed and threw them off again and again. He jumped and shouted and flung his arms right in front of us. He wanted to be right in front of us.

More white coats came to help. They surrounded the man and subdued him. He was dragged from the room.

It took a few minutes for our youth group leader to get us back to singing. When we did, we kept looking behind us to see what was next. But nothing happened after that.

When we finished singing our host escorted us down stairs. At the door, he thanked us for coming. On the way home we had a lot to talk about. Jeff said nothing.

That night I told my parents about my experience at Elgin State. Father said he was reminded of the Gadarene demoniac. Mom said “That poor man.”

Two weeks later, on New Year’s Eve, I was allowed to stay up late. I sat with my father as he watched the newsman recap what had happened in 1965. Something was said about demonstrations and Vietnam and The Great Society. But I sat there thinking about “that poor” wild “man” in Elgin State. He sure reacted to The First Noël.

“an issue of evil – pure evil”

“I was a stranger and you . . . you treated me like chattel.”

Legal immigrants come to the U.S. to better their circumstances. Many immigrants entering the U.S. illegally are doing so for the same reason.

And, there are those illegal immigrants seeking new circumstances for their nefarious deeds. Pedophiles, rapists, drug dealers, MS-13 gang members, and terrorists also want in.

And the sick:

The CDC specifically cites the possibility of the cross-border movement of HIV, measles, pertussis, rubella, rabies, hepatitis A, influenza, tuberculosis, shigellosis and syphilis. Chris Cabrera, a Border Patrol agent in South Texas, warned: “What’s coming over into the U.S. could harm everyone. We are starting to see scabies, chickenpox, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections and different viruses.” Some of the youngsters illegally entering our country are known to be carrying lice and suffering from various illnesses. Because there have been no medical examinations of undocumented immigrants, we have no idea how many are carrying infectious diseases that might endanger American children when these immigrants enter schools across our nation.

Talking about the realities of illegal immigration is not fear-mongering or xenophobia. Who and what is crossing the border affects everyone (except for a small minority who live in gated communities, e.g., Fort Pelosi, Washington D.C.) The effect of open borders will be coming to a town near you. In fact, the venal thinking behind open borders has already migrated into our lives.

The Democrats passage of H.R. 1 is an assault on humanity. From voting to gender to increased taxes, H.R. 1 imposes a Progressive ideology on America. HR 1 reveals the Hideous Strength underlying “the most progressive bill in U.S. history”.

Along with H.R.1, an open borders policy will bring about a dilution of Judeo-Christian values in America. Values will be then be reconstituted to that which Big Brother Tech ordains and enforces through dependency.

Humanity is threatened by the evil attached to policies. As always, there are government policies which slow the spread of evil and there are policies that rapidly deploy evil. The stolen 2020 election fostered the latter.

With the construction of the wall and a wait-in-Mexico policy among others, the previous administration throttled the flow of illegal immigration. The many deleterious effects of unbridled illegal immigration (e.g., human trafficking) that we are seeing today were held in check.

 The current “border crisis”, acknowledged by those involved except for the Biden administration, is growing exponentially. The reason?

The Biden administration, via EOs, canceled the previous administration’s policies. Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki spins the canceling EOs to the world as moral high ground.

What you won’t hear from Press Secretary Jen Psaki is that the massive inflow of illegal immigrants is the low-cost labor force that Globalist’s require. To compete in the world market of consumerism, a cheaper labor force is required to sustain profits and their vision of a techno-utopia.

Allowing an incursion of illegal immigrants is hawked by a mawkish Christianity as compassionate. But what is happening is not humane. It is not Christian. To wit: the hardest hit by lower wages and a massive labor pool are the minorities – Blacks and Hispanics. But that is of no concern to Globalists and the virtue signalers they encourage.

Rather, the open border policy is diabolical, evil. Illegal immigrants are being used by Globalists including the Catholic church Globalists to shore up their Globalist agenda. That agenda first and foremost is the Great Reset – a dehumanized mankind made to service and accommodate centralized power. The Communist Chinese party is a prime example of this agenda in action.

The Globalist Elite need minions – blissfully ignorant and pliable “proles” – to grow the P in their P&L and to sustain a techno-utopia. That is why you will hear Progressives, secular and religious, pushing for open borders and illegal immigration. The Biden regime is now Executive-ordering the takeover and repurposing of humanity.

Biden, called the “Migrant President” by the very concerned president of Mexico, is actually the Human Trafficking President.

The cartels will literally tell these people, ‘If you have a minor with you we’ll give you a lower price of $3,200,’” he told War Room, Friday. “’We’ll give you safe passage.’”

On top of child smuggling, “we have all these pedophiles, rapists, and kidnappers being released into the United States,” Hernadez said. “This is not a Republican issue, not a Democrat issue.

This is an issue of evil.

Cartels Are Selling Children for $3,200 at Biden’s Open Border – Steve Bannon’s War Room: Pandemic

If they don’t pay their debt then the cartel has the information about where they’re going, but more importantly, they have the information on their families in home countries,” Jones said. “From there, they can start the threats and hold them accountable through debt bondage, a form of human trafficking. Either pay or we’re going to come after your family.

Overwhelmed Mexican Alien-Smuggling Cartels Use Wristband System to Bring Order to Business (cis.org)

The Mexican government is concerned that President Biden’s asylum policies are encouraging illegal immigration and providing revenue to drug cartels through human trafficking across the US border.

Mexico says Biden asylum policies boost illegals, cartels (nypost.com)

Should the administration fail to address the weaknesses in U.S. law that serve as a magnet drawing foreign nationals to enter the United States illegally, I will be writing a lot more about recoveries of human remains, rather than rescues of migrants in distress. I don’t want to.

An unnamed Mexican official recently quoted in Reuters stated: “Migrants have become a commodity” for smuggling gangs. “But if a packet of drugs is lost in the sea, it’s gone. If migrants are lost, it’s human beings we’re talking about.” That is eminently self-evident.

Simply telling migrants “[t]hey need — they need to wait”, as Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas did on March 1, is not a deterrent, or a life-saving strategy. In fact it’s not a strategy at all.

Do Biden’s Border Policies Now Have a ‘Body Count’? (cis.org)

The Migrant Crisis Isn’t Just At The Border, It Stretches To Central America (thefederalist.com)

The Biden Administration Is Releasing COVID Positive Illegal Aliens into the United States by Katie Pavlich (townhall.com)

“Episode_7946 Biden is the President Of Human Trafficking”.

By Day 48, Biden’s White House Had Made Major Progress in Destroying America. (thenationalpulse.com)

Justice De-Platformed

No. You are not crazy. Facts Matter. Evidence matters. Truth matters. Justice matters.

There is abounding evidence that the 2020 Presidential election and various congressional elections were stolen. There are testimonies and affidavits that detail the steal. There is video evidence depicting the steal. There is a semi-truckload of evidence (pre-marked ballots) that mysteriously disappeared according to testimony of the truck driver. There is documented evidence that private money i.e., Mark Zuckerberg, “improperly and unlawfully impacted the result of the 2020 election” in swing states:

For a detailed accounting and explanation of the election irregularities and fraud perpetrated on the Republic, download the Dr. Peter Navarro PDFs below. Keep them in a safe place, as big tech and the shadow government will be removing all evidence of the election fraud. (Note: If YouTube removes the election stealing videos above, you can find similar videos on Rumble.)

The evidence – including testimony, affidavits, videos, illegal voting registrations and more – has yet to be considered on its merits in the courts. The evidence has yet to be fully disclosed in court cases. Those who have presented the evidence have been labeled “conspiracy theorists” by the corporate media. The result of the persistent denial of reality: a tainted and illegitimate election and justice denied for over 70 million voters.

What has been forced upon Americans by corporate media, social media oligarchs, big tech, and Congress with the help of naïve useful idiots – Democrats – in the swing states is an illegitimate election. It follows, it should be noted, that the Biden/Harris administration is illegitimate no matter the presidential trappings. And, it also follows, that whatever comes out of the Biden/Harris administration, including executive orders, is illegitimate. You can decide what that means for you.

Whether the elected representatives, the Vice President, and the courts did not want to get involved in a politically charged matter or whether they were incompetent in their duties or whether they were simply going along with the steal, none of them prevented or acted to stop the steal in any way, except Justice Alito. (Some acted late in the game after immense pressure from constituents.)

The Vice President was asked by the President’s attorney and Pennsylvania state senators to delay the vote on Jan. 6th so that the state’s “questionable activities” and “numerous unlawful violations” could be investigated and so that the state’s legal votes could be tabulated:

Their letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy argues that the actions by Democratic state officials caused last-minute changes to election law not authorized by the legislature, including allowing mail-in ballots to be received and counted three days after Election Day.

V.P. Pence was never asked by anyone to decide the election. But he did anyway by not delaying the vote count as requested and by not seeking a legitimate vote count. V.P. Pence acknowledged in his Jan. 6th letter “significant allegations of voting irregularities … [he shares] the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of this election…” (You can download his letter below). Yet, this was all CYA psycho-babble. Pence rubber-stamped the steal and the actions of other faithless representatives of the people.

Why should we accept the legal blah, blah, blah of talking heads who say “Pence had no choice” or “there was no evidence” or “that the evidence was insufficient to alter election results” or “the courts rejected the cases, so there” or “blah blah blah”? Are they lazy? Too busy? Or, are they intimidated by the Left?

“One of the reasons I was called [by Trump] is because virtually every major law firm in this country and in this city refused to represent the President,” [James] Troupis explained. “Not because of the lack of merit of his claims — we’ve certainly demonstrated that there’s merit — but because of the cancel culture, because of the environment that has been created by the Left that has intimidated lawyers, so that they can’t be here.”

Many lack moral courage. This was affirmed by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his Harvard address in 1978.

“A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, in each government, in each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elites, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society. There are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.”

Should we lack moral courage and not question and investigate the glaring irregularities and fraud that has come to light? Or, should we say “there’s nothing to be done for it” and “Why should we bother (with what we have heard with our own ears and have seen with our own eyes) when so many say ‘Don’t bother’?”

You are aware. A Manchurian candidate – a sock puppet, really – is going to be installed on Jan. 20 as President-of-the-Lie. The shadow government of big tech-Reset globalists, with the aid of corporate media, are the ones moving the sock puppet’s mouth: “Now it’s time to turn the page …to unite and to heal”. The sock speaks and I hear “Accept the illegitimate election … sit down, shut up, and do what you are told from now on.” Biden is their means to “control the opposition.”

“The best way to control the opposition is to lead them.” — Vladimir Lenin

The over 70 million people – populists, nationalists, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, blacks, whites, Latinos, and those escaping tyranny in their home countries- the over 70 million people who voted in 2020 did not receive justice. America did not receive justice. Americans received a lie.

Why should you and I condone or embrace the illegitimate election as legitimate and obey whatever comes out of its illegality? If the election was legitimate, I would go along with the results. But that is not the case as it stands today. And I am well aware of what is behind the illegitimate election: evil

In my previous post The Takeover of 2020 I tried to outline that when evil gets its way, then those in its way can become disoriented, dispirited and depleted. As I write this, evil is de-platforming many on Twitter, Facebook and Google. These sites are not about justice. For, evil loves darkness and abhors the light. These sites are about putting your light under a bucket.

No. You are not crazy. Facts Matter. Evidence matters. Truth matters. Justice matters.

Americans are a justice hungry people. And we don’t accept slop. “We the people” want justice – a full and fair accounting and resolution of what happened to our Republic on and around the Nov. 3rd election.

And now, I petition my God with the Psalmist …

You are a righteous God
    and judge our thoughts and desires.
Stop the wickedness of evildoers
    and reward those who are good. – Psalm 7:9

Added 1/13/2021, a letter to the Wisc. Gov. and copied to V.P. Pence. Pence ignored this letter:

Added 1-13-2021:

Added 1-14-2021:

MI Judge Orders Democrat Sec of State To Release All Communications With Dominion, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google (100percentfedup.com)

Added 1-16-2021:

BOMBSHELL: Fulton County Elections Caught On Video Discussing Stealing Votes | Populist Press 2021 ©

20/20 Observations

The following are some brief observations to consider for this election cycle. I offer my observations followed by observations (in bold) made by black American economist Thomas Sowell. Sowell, who turned 90 this past June, has had a lifetime to reflect and comment on issues economic, social and, political. I introduced this prolific author in a recent post Perspectives on Race Relations.

Consider white suburban women. They sit on their patios sipping chardonnay while watching illegal immigrants landscape their property. They chat each other up about yoga class, manicures and, vacationing in Cozumel. They prattle on about how proud they are of their children becoming socially aware in school and about how uncaring people are when it comes to climate change, immigration, gender issues, income inequality and, black lives. The dilettante’s conversation turns to their voting for Obama’s handmaiden – the Progressive black faux-nurse who never had a patient or held a full-time job in her life. They voted for her because the nurse-in-the-political-theater-sense-only wants healthcare for all and everyone should suck on government teat. For the onus to make the world a better place should be on everyone and not just on them. Like their candidate, they do not have the ‘patients’. They have yard signs and votes and garden parties.

These woke women want you to notice that they are riding the wave of wokeness:

That sign and the Lauren Underwood For Congress sign on their front yard confirms how much these champagne socialists care.

Some of the most vocal critics of the way things are being done are people who have done nothing themselves, and whose only contributions to society are their complaints and moral exhibitionism.

Although the big word on the left is ‘compassion,’ the big agenda on the left is dependency.

Liberals love to say things like, “We’re just asking everyone to pay their fair share.” But government is not about asking. It is about telling. The difference is fundamental. It is the difference between making love and being raped, between working for a living and being a slave. The Internal Revenue service is not asking anybody to do anything. It confiscates your assets and puts you behind bars if you don’t pay.

Consider the college professors ensconced in their ivory towers. They dole out ad nauseum their ideology – Marxism, anti-capitalism, gender theory, critical race theory, etc.- and suffer none of the consequences for what they dole out.

Apparently, there are enough sheep-like parents these days to let “experts” take control of their children at a critical juncture in their lives. But these “experts” suffer no consequences if their bright ideas lead some young person into disaster. It is the parent who will be left to pick up the pieces.

The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore, we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.

Too often what are called “educated” people are simply people who have been sheltered from reality for years in ivy-covered buildings. Those whose whole careers have been spent in ivy-colored buildings, insulated by tenure, can remain adolescents on into their golden retirement years.

Ours may become the first civilization destroyed, not by the power of our enemies, but by the ignorance of our teachers and the dangerous nonsense they are teaching our children. In an age of artificial intelligence, they are creating artificial stupidity.

Not since the days of the Hitler Youth have young people been subjected to more propaganda on more politically correct issues. At one time, educators boasted that their role was not to teach students what to think but how to think. Today, their role is far too often to teach students what to think on everything from immigration to global warming to the new sacred trinity of ‘race, class and gender.’

Intellect is not wisdom.

Consider the Democrat politicians and their apparatchiks. These demagogues assume a moral monopoly where one is either in or out of that monopoly. For them, there is no marketplace of ideas, only the sound of their voice, as in “We have to do the work!”

They invoke the conjuring word “science” with any descriptor to produce hysteria and conformity to their demands. “Medical science” is used to produce fealty to the Democrat governors and mayors and their “public health crisis” mandates. Consider the mandates a social experiment in controlling the population.

“Climate science” was used by apparatchik Ocasio-Cortez. She has informed us that “the world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change”. Another apparatchik, a Democrat governor, invoked “social science” by declaring “racism” a public health crisis. She has mandated that all state employees undergo “implicit bias training,” in order to “eradicate and prevent discrimination and racial inequity” because the “Implicit, unconscious bias exists within each of us”. The Democrat politicians and their apparatchiks have no problem projecting bad motives onto others, thereby giving their halos renewed luster.

The voice of the party, Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, fresh from a maskless blowout during an illegal salon visit, has no problem upbraiding the president after his COVID diagnosis, calling his behavior a “brazen invitation for something like this to happen”. No hypocrisy here. She is a Democrat, after all. And besides, she is on the side of “science”:Simple Science says “Do what I say! (Not what I do!)”

To wipe away any tarnishing responsibility clinging to their hoary haloes and hacked hard drives, Democrats obfuscate and deflect: “People will do what they do” and “What difference at this point does it make?” They assume no responsibility or complicity for their actions; they receive no consequences for their actions.

Liberals seem to assume that, if you don’t believe in their particular political solutions, then you don’t really care about the people that they claim to want to help.

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong. Yet that is what at least half of the bright ideas of the political left amount to.

It is amazing how many people think that they can answer an argument by attributing bad motives to those who disagree with them. Using this kind of reasoning, you can believe or not believe anything about anything, without having to bother to deal with facts or logic.

So many idealistic political movements for a better world have ended in mass-murdering dictatorships. Giving leaders enough power to create ‘social justice’ is giving them enough power to destroy all justice, all freedom, and all human dignity.

The more people who are dependent on government handouts, the more votes the left can depend on for an ever-expanding welfare state.

Since this is an era when many people are concerned about ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice,’ what is your ‘fair share’ of what someone else has worked for?”

All the political angst and moral melodrama about getting ‘the rich’ to pay ‘their fair share’ is part of a big charade. This is not about economics; it is about politics.

In liberal logic, if life is unfair then the answer is to turn more tax money over to politicians, to spend in ways that will increase their chances of getting reelected.

No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems – of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.

The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them, it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy.

Ronald Reagan had a vision of America. Barack Obama has a vision of Barack Obama.

Whether Barack Obama is simply incompetent as president or has some hidden agenda to undermine this country, at home and abroad, he has nearly everything he needs to ruin America, including a fool for a vice president.

Consider the celebrity: “I just think COVID is God’s gift to the left,” the Academy Award winner [Jane Fonda] said, laughing after she made the remark. 

No response required.

Consider the millennial Messiahs – the perpetual student, the Woke graduate student, those that fail to launch, the whiners, the “safe space” denizens, the SJWs and, the societal parasites. Each, having arrived on the scene less than forty years ago, presume to tell us how to save the world. But first, they must save themselves by avoiding responsibility through socialism. Their revolutionary zeal is stoked by Starbucks, their hubris by social media. (How did the world ever function without them?)

Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.

For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before.

There is much discussion of the haves and the have-nots, but very little discussion of the doers and the do-nots, those who contribute and those who merely take.

Too much of what is called ‘education’ is little more than an expensive isolation from reality.

Mystical references to society and its programs to help may warm the hearts of the gullible but what it really means is putting more power in the hands of bureaucrats.

Our schools and colleges are turning out people who cannot feel fulfilled unless they are telling other people what to do.

The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.

If facts, logic, and scientific procedures are all just arbitrarily “socially constructed” notions, then all that is left is consensus–more specifically peer consensus, the kind of consensus that matters to adolescents or to many among the intelligentsia.

Consider the main-stream media, the “if it bleeds it leads” media, with its ego-centric talking heads who blather on with their fellow traveler talking points. These bloviating oracles relay what the Leftist gods want you to know and to believe. Just give them your palm (with the remote) and they will tell how to think and feel and who are the victims and who are the oppressors and, who to love and who to hate.

They will tell you that China has no ill intent towards the U.S. (especially with regard to basketball sneakers) as they salivate over China’s social behavior monitoring. They will tell you “Orange Man bad”; “Orange Man” is responsible for the wildfires and climate change; “Orange Man” is responsible for the rioting in Portland, Seattle and, elsewhere; “Orange Man” is responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. (absolving China of any complicity in spread of the Wuhan Red Death). They want you to fear Orange Man. In their political math (2 + 2 = 5) They will pronounce judgement on the “Orange Man” as “complicit” in a kidnapping attempt. Lies, hyperbole and sensationalism are the motivators they use to keep you coming back.

Out of their crystal toilet bowls come dire warnings: “Racism is a public health crisis”, “Climate change is a public health crisis”, (and next week?) “Gun owners are a public health crisis” (and, the following week) “Christians and Jews are a public health crisis.”

When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.

There are few modest talents so richly rewarded — especially in politics and the media — as the ability to portray parasites as victims, and portray demands for preferential treatment as struggles for equal rights.

One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidize those who refuse to produce, and canonize those who complain.

The New York Times’ long-standing motto, “All the News That’s Fit to Print” should be changed to reflect today’s reality: “Manufacturing News to Fit an Ideology.

Some things are believed because they are demonstrably true, but many other things are believed simply because they have been asserted repeatedly and repetition has been accepted as a substitute for evidence.

If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and choose their news sources accordingly.

Are you OK with the ends-justifying-the-means politicians? Are you OK with truth being whatever serves the revolution, as calling the rioting in Portland and Seattle “mostly peaceful protests”? Are you OK with injustice – lawlessness, releasing violent predatory criminals, the burning and looting and razing – thinking that the mythical phoenix of Justice will rise from the ashes? Are you OK with abortion and human beings being disposed of? Are you OK with class wars and race wars and constant societal division and unrest? Are you OK with people telling what to do and how to live? If so, then you will vote for Democrats and for the devils you think you know.

Observe:

“Where I come out as a businessman, I will take the devil I know over the devil I don’t know anytime of the week,” BET founder Robert Johnson said of the presidential race

“I know what President Trump has done and what he’s said he will do. I don’t know what Vice President Biden has said he will do other than masks, listen to the scientists,” the 74-year-old Johnson said. He suggested the coronavirus response should weigh the tradeoffs of “pandemic safety” versus “economy growth.” 

“I would rather know who I’m going to deal with in the White House. I’m going to know what regulatory decisions they’re going to make. What fiscal policy decisions, what monetary policies they’re going to make than to be taking a chance, particularly when you have the turbulence of a pandemic,” said Johnson, who in the past has been complimentary of Trump’s business-centric policies.

As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. ~Abraham Lincoln~

Added 10-13-20:

Added 10-15-20:

“I am a left-leaning New York City public defender who voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primaries and Hillary Clinton in the general election. I have never voted for a Republican candidate. I chose my career because I wanted to help those most defenseless in our society: indigent people accused and convicted of crimes and facing the awesome power of the state. 

Until I saw the catastrophic effects that the lockdowns were having on the very people I sought to help…”

Lockdowners Speak with Privilege, and Contempt for the Poor and the Working Class.

In a radio interview discussing her article, Ms. Younes, a lifelong Democrat, said she is voting for Trump based on the COVID-19 restrictions the Biden/Harris ticket would impose if elected.

The Antique Shop

 

On a street known as Artifact Row, in the historic district of Langford, D&D Antiques offered vintage collectibles. The owners, Dale and Doris, lived in the small apartment above the shop.

Per the rules of the town’s preservation committee, the shops and cafés of Artifact Row were required to maintain their 19th century façades. During the summer months, the lattice ironwork of the display windows and the frame of the double doors into D&Ds were coated with layers of black paint to keep them from oxidizing. Next to D&Ds, the Reitz Artifact Gallery, specializing in graphic arts, antiquarian maps and atlases, repainted its ironwork verdigris green and installed a new awning. On the other side of D&Ds, the wood framed windows and door of Dunwoody’s Furniture Restoration were repainted with a fresh coat of terra beige and brown.

Above D&D’s recessed doors were two transoms which, when lowered, gave the appearance with the doors of being the door’s black eyebrows. And above the transoms was a weathered green signboard with gold letters:

D&D Antiques

Things both Excellent and Rare

The shop’s windows displayed objects collected by Doris from estate sales. On exhibit, a menagerie of items passed down through generations of families including pottery, porcelains, vases, silver platters, a Tiffany lamp, jewelry, spelter candlesticks, figurines, watch fobs and watches, photographs and, postcards. A small banner with a gold star on a red and white field hung in the recessed window next to the door. Above it, a sign posting the shop’s hours. Beneath, a detachment of smartly uniformed nutcrackers that appeared to be standing guard at the door.

The shop now offered consignment, as Things both Excellent and Rare were no longer collected by Doris. A gaunt figure in her eighties, called a flower with a delicate stem by Dale, Doris could no longer attend estate sales. Her knees had become feeble, her gait wobbly, her strength gone. Dale noticed, too, that her mind had become wobbly. Doris no longer knew who he was. So, for a time, she remained with Dale in the shop.

During her days in the shop, Doris would sit listless in the spool-turned rocker. At times she would get up, hobble around and pick up pieces on display. She held them to her ear, as one would do with a sea shell at the beach. A dulcet smile would then appear on her face.

During fifty-five years of marriage, the two had worked hand in hand. Yet a time came to keep Doris upstairs. No longer active, Doris had grown weaker. Dale, also in his eighties, frail and hunched-over, could no longer help his wife up and down the apartment stairs. In the days that followed and at regular intervals, Dale would hang a “BACK IN TEN MINUTES” sign on his door. He would head up the shop’s adjoining stairs to their apartment to care for Doris, where she sat in her arm chair with a vacant stare.

On any given day, except on Mondays when the shop was closed, D&Ds was visited by women poring over each item and husbands who listened to Dale as he regaled them with his stories from his time in the Navy. The children who came along were directed to a corner of the store. There, Dale had set a small table, two chairs and a globe. On the table, Dale’s loose-leafed stamp albums. The children were enchanted by the colorful stamps Dale had collected from around the world. At Dale’s suggestion, they swirled the globe looking for each stamp’s country of origination.

 

It was now Sunday evening. The ageless sounding chimes of the grandfather clock and the sudden “koo-koo” of the Black Forest clock announced six-o’clock. It was time to close the shop. As was his habit, Dale placed the cash drawer and the antique jewelry in a safe. The coffee was shut off. The back door checked. The model train was shut off. The three weights of the grandfather clock were rehung. And, the two streetside lamps that shown down on the face of the shop were switched on.

After one last look around, Dale turned the door sign from “OPEN” TO “CLOSED” and stepped outside into stifling heat of the August night. As he turned the key in the lock, he noticed a thunderous commotion behind him. He looked around. Up and down the Row passersby stopped at window displays. Shoppers walked out of the closing shops. The tremendous clamor, clashes of curses and bellowing voices, seemed to come from the next street east. “Something is in the offing,” Dale thought. “There must be some confusion about the hour.” Tired, Dale trudged up the adjoining stairs.

 

11:10 and the shop was still.  The inconsonant tickticktick of three mantel clocks the only sound.

11:11. The grandfather clock began a sonorous toll. The cuckoo exited with loud rousing “koo-koos”. The conversation began again.

“Let us use our time wisely,” came the booming voice of the grandfather clock.

“Here one minute. Gone the next,” chirped the cuckoo.

“What? We sit here, day after day. Nothing changes,” moaned the mantel clock.

“I do have my ups and downs,” noted the barometer.

“It’s all the same,” sighed the depression glass.

“But we’re not the same,” countered the silver chalice. “Some of us have a higher station in life.”

“I was tops in my class,” said masthead light.

“But I summoned the attention of all,” said the ship’s bell.

“No. It was I,” said the bosun’s pipe.

“I held the compass,” said the binnacle proudly.

“But you are not me,” said the compass. “I gave directions.”

“I was the admiral’s go to,” said the brass ship’s wheel.

“You couldn’t go anywhere without me,” replied the rudder.

“You don’t know the time of day,” replied the ship’s clock.

“I’m getting sea sick,” growled the gyroscope.

“Boys. Boys. Don’t make waves,” admonished the sextant. “Know your place.”

“It’s all the same. Night after night.” groaned the glass.

“But we aren’t!” said the painting pointedly.

“We are!” declared the silverware.

“We aren’t”, squealed the Chantilly porcelain terrine.

“We are. We aren’t,” the rocker hemmed and hawed.

“Things are heating up again,” the fireplace poker jabbed. “Just the way I like it.”

“You’re always stirring things up,” jabbed the ivory letter opener.

“Can’t we all just get along,” the fine china clattered.

“Let’s have a party,” the silver platter prompted.

“Yes, let’s!” shouted the silverware.

“It’s all the same.”

“We’re not the same.”

“The same. Not the same. The same. Not the same,” choo-choo-ed the tinplate model train.

“At least I don’t go around in circles all day,” remarked the rubber stamp.

“No. You just sit there with ink on your face,” countered the train.

“Don’t rub it in,” the stamp came back.

“Now we’re getting somewhere!” pounced the Murano glass paperweight.

“Look who’s talking,” remarked the art nouveau hand mirror.

“It’s all the same.”

“We’re not the same.”

“We are. We aren’t.”

“The same, Not the same. The same. Not the same.”

“I could shed some light on this,” laughed the Tiffany lamp.

“You’re not plugged in,” the flat iron spoke frankly.

“And neither are you,” countered the candlestick holder.

“You can’t hold a candle to me,” bragged the wash basin

“Keep a lid on it,” the tea pot protested.

“I’m with her,” tittered the tea cup

“Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” snorted the spittoon.

“Have you no taste? I am fine china!”

“Have some decorum,” pleaded the painting.

 

Tickticktick Tickticktick Tickticktick.

 

“Bor…ring. I’ve more important things to do,” brayed the brass bugle.

“He’s always blowing his own horn,” a nutcracker noted.

“It’s all the same.”

“You need to change your worldview,” the globe giggled.

“Get a hobby,” snickered the stamp album.

“The same, Not the same. The same. Not the same.”

“Let’s change the subject,” broached the book. “I am a first edition.”

“But I was here first!” shouted the Louis the XVI chair.

“And consigned to the dust bin of history,” scoffed the newly arrived brooch.

“I did not know you had come, and I shall not miss you when you go away,” replied the chair.

“I have served wine to kings and queens,” said the goblet. “I deserve better company.”

Mais oui, bien sûr,“ came back the chair. “As do I.”

“Those two are broken records,” the gramophone pointed out.

“I am above all that,” said the annoyed candelabra. “I have looked down on royalty and heads of state.”

Not to be overlooked, the Victorian sewing table said proudly, “Not what I have but what I do is my kingdom.”

“Let’s face it. It’s all about me,” the cameo came back.

“You’re just another face in the crowd,” the mirror mocked.

“The lady picked me up. Held me to her ear.”

“And what did you tell her?” queried the quartz watch.

“If it’s true it’s not new.”

“Are you a philosopher now?” wondered the Wedgewood vase.

“Though Truth and Falsehood be Near twins, yet Truth a little elder is,” recited the limited-edition poetry book with a flourish.

“It’s all the same.”

“We’re not the same.”

“We are. We aren’t.”

“Well, you are all waiting,” remarked the rubber stamp.

“Waiting for what?” asked the tintype.

“Waiting to be taken to a home,” cooed the wood doll.

“Home is where the heart is,” replied the postcard.

“You’re just ephemera. Here today. Gone tomorrow,” tut-ted the dressing table.

“You have no utility,” snarked the silver platter.

“I’m a keepsake. A reminder of times past,” the postcard said proudly.

“What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now,” exhorted the jade Buddha.

“Right on!” shouted the mantel clock.

“Progress!” The cuckoo poked his head out.

“Revolution!” fired off the fireplace poker.

“Diversity!” yelled the stamp album.

“Equality!” exclaimed the stamps in unison.

“Solidarity!” cried the flat iron.

“Can’t we all get along?” pleaded the fine china. “We can all serve humanity.”

“Hear! Hear! Shouted the silverware.

“Keep it together,” begged the bookends.

“It’s all the same.”

“We’re not the same.”

“We are. We aren’t.”

 

Tickticktick Tickticktick Tickticktick.

 

2 AM. Grandfather tolled and the cuckoo called. A loud crash.

“What was that?” questioned the quilt.

“A torch,” said one of the nutcrackers.

“I’ve seen this before,” said the fireplace poker.

“What’s it for?” wondered the watch.

“A torch is for light,” said the candlestick holder.

“But why is it on the floor?” asked the Oriental rug anxiously.

“Perhaps it is to be sold,” speculated the rubber stamp.

“I’ve read about this sort of thing,” stated the first edition. “It doesn’t bode well.”

“Some say the world will end in fire … Some say in ice,” warned the poetry book.

“The fire is coming closer,” fretted the lute.

“Shouldn’t it be on a candleholder where it belongs,” asked the candlestick holder.

“Fire goes where it goes,” replied the fireplace poker.

“It’s going up my leg,” said the Louis the XVI chair.

“How does it feel Mr. High and Mighty?” asked the rubber stamp.

“It feels … ohhhhh …familiar, …! …. like searing passion and raging anger.” The chair tried to maintain composed, but, “… now, ow! Ow! OW! …je suis d’histoire!. Aurevoir à mes amis.” The chair toppled down.

“What shall we do?” roared the rocker engulfed in flames.

“Maybe the shopkeeper will come,” said the cameo.

“Bugle do something,” shouted a nutcracker, his ranks now diminished.

The bugle, overcome by smoke, sputtered and coughed, “splurrrrtttt ….cuh cuh ….cuh cuh …someone get me some AIRrrrrrr …!”

“If I only had water,” said the basin.

“If only someone had taken us home,” cried the postcard.

The mirror, enamored by its reflection, proudly stated, “Look at the light I am reflecting. The whole room is lit up.”

“Don’t you see what is happening?” rasped the rocker. “We are being consumed!”

“I’ve done my job,” replied the mirror.

“I want out!” cried the postcard, the flames edging up his sides.

“We’re all in this together,” wheezed the stamp album with its last breath. The conversation ended.

 

3 AM. There was no ageless sounding toll and no sudden “koo-koo”. The second story had collapsed.

 

 

 

 

© Jennifer A. Johnson, 2020, All Rights Reserved

(aka, Lena de Vries)

Watershed at the Well

 

This day began like all other days in Sychar. The man that stayed with me last night left my side early, while it was still dark. I turn over and wait. I go out when the sun is highest over Mount Gerizim so as to not rankle the locals.

You see, I have a reputation in this town. It has to do with the men who have come and gone from my life. I keep going back to the well for a different man. Those I’ve been with have been dull, uninteresting and not satisfying at all. The one I’m with now: ehh! I could do better …

No matter. I am supremely self-reliant, like my people the Samaritans. We don’t need the Jew’s affirmation. We have our holy mountain, our Pentateuch and the true religion of Israel. And, I have my ways …

It is time for me to go for water. There is a spring way off in that direction, but I much prefer the water from the well of Jacob our patriarch. Come with me and I will tell you about my people. Cover your head, for the sun is scorching, and carry this water jar. We will fill two water jars today …

My people remained in the land of Israel and were not carried off to Babylon like those of Judah. We are the true remnant of Israel. We are guardians of Israel. We have preserved the true religion of our fathers. Our ways were not altered and distorted by the Babylonian captivity. When the Judahites returned to Israel, they presumed their ways to be true Israel. They presumed their own holy place …

Look at blessed Gerizim. Mount Gerizim is our holy mountain. It has been the true holy place for Israel since the time Joshua conquered Canaan … It is the mountain designated by Moses for our place of worship …

There, at its base is Bir Ya`qub, the well of Jacob our patriarch. That is where we are headed. It is near a crossroad for those traveling north or south … that well is where our father Abraham sent his servant to find the future wife for his son Isaac. The servant was to ask for water. If offered water by a woman there then that was the sign that she would be Isaac´s future wife …

Those who returned from Babylonian captivity despise us. According to the Jewish polemic Ben-Sira, we are “the foolish people that dwells in Shechem” and an enemy of Israel. Over one-hundred years ago a Jewish king, John Hyrcanus, destroyed our holy city of Shechem and our temple on Mount Gerizim. I suspect that the Jewish authorities didn’t like us trying to stop their rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem when they returned. They also don’t like that we married foreigners and took on their ways. They call us half-breeds! …As you can imagine, there has long been religious and ethnic enmity between us and the Jews …Why, they even have hatred against their own people and prophets. They kill them! … So, I want nothing to do with them …

The well is to the right of the road where it bends from the great plain of Makhneh into the pass of Shechem. The well is deep. The water is clear and pure. You must taste it ….

If you haven’t realized it yet, I am fiercely independent like my people, the Samaritans. I support myself. I own property, earned through my dealings with men. I am fiercely independent like my people, the Samaritans. And we are an open-minded people. We have welcomed criminals and refugees and the excommunicated – the violators of the severe Jewish laws. They have found safety with us from the Jewish authorities … I am comfortable living as I do among the rejected …

It is good that we go to the well now, while the sun is hot and the chatter cooled. The women of Sychar have all drawn water early this morning and have returned home. We will be left alone …

I am not only a Samaritan but also a woman of the world. When the Greeks came and conquered Samaria, we took on many Greek ways while keeping our traditional ways. We called our sanctuary Zeus Hellenios to honor God in the language we became familiar with. And, why shouldn’t we acknowledge their gods as being the same as our God. We are open-minded and not like those uppity Judeans who returned from exile with their Judaism. They refuse to associate with foreigners and us Samaritans. They keep their distance and we keep our distance. They have their land and we have ours. They have their ways and we have ours. And when the Messiah comes, he will put things right. The Messiah will show those Judeans that we were right all along …

Just a little further. I can almost taste that cool water …wait! Who’s that? A Jew? Why is he alone? Is he a running from the Jewish authorities? One doesn’t come through these parts alone for fear of being robbed and left to waste. Remember those men we passed earlier? Maybe he is with them. He must be passing through … Look! This ‘foreigner’ has nothing to draw water with. We will ignore him and pretend that he isn’t there in our space. Those Judeans have nothing to do with us Samaritans. They think we are all demon possessed. We will have nothing to do with them….

Give me your water jar. I will lower it into the well … there, water cool and clear.

“Give me a drink.”

(Whispering: This is odd. Why is he asking me for water? He is not my husband. Doesn’t he know that women and men don’t keep company? Doesn’t he know that Samaritans and Jews don’t associate? He is crossing a line. I’ll deal with him.)

“What! You, a Jew, asking for drink from me, a woman, and a Samaritan at that?”

“If only you’d known God’s gift and who it is that’s saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you’d have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

“But sir, you haven’t got a bucket! And the well is deep! So how were you thinking of getting living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, with his sons and his animals?”

“Everyone who drinks of this water will get thirsty again. But anyone who drinks the water I’ll give them won’t ever be thirsty again. No: the water I’ll give them will become a spring of water welling up to the life of God’s new age.”

“Sir, give me this water! Then I won’t be thirsty anymore, and I won’t have to come here and draw from the well.”

“Well then, go and call your husband and come here.”

“I haven’t got a husband.” (Whispering: Where is he going with this?)

“You’re telling me you haven’t got a husband! The fact is, you’ve had five husbands, and the one you’ve got now isn’t your husband. You were speaking the truth!”

(Whispering: Hmmm. This guy is perceptive. Let’s see what he does with this!)

“Well, ahem…Well, sir, I can see you’re a prophet …Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain. And you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”

“Believe me woman, the time is coming when you won’t worship the father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You worship what you don’t know. We worship what we do know; salvation, you see, is indeed from the Jews. But the time is coming – indeed, it’s here already! – when true worshippers will worship the father in spirit and truth. Yes: that’s the kind of worship the father is looking for. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

(Whispering: OK, I’ll try this.)

“I know that Messiah is coming, the one they call ‘the anointed’. When he comes, he’ll tell us everything.”

“I’m the one – the one speaking to you right now.”

(Whispering: Did you hear that? Did you hear him tell me everything about my life? He told me what was true about me and did it without patronizing me. How can someone know me who doesn’t know me except if he is from God? Could he be the ‘anointed One’? …Now, who are these guys? Judean Jews? They must be with him. They are looking at us and whispering. C’mon let’s go back home. I want to tell everyone and bring them here …What’s that? The water jars? Leave them. They will draw water and refresh themselves. They will be here when we come back with everyone. C’mon. Let’s hurry! …I forgot to ask his name! I’ll call him Joshua. C’mon! Let’s run. My community will want to meet him! This man has a new way of looking at things! A new reality we need to hear more of! My people know me well enough to know that I am no fool! ….

… … …

“Everyone! Everyone! C’mon everyone! Come and see a man who told me everything I did! You don’t think he can be the Messiah, do you? …I hear what you’re saying …you’re saying that you already know everything I have done. But listen. He doesn’t know me and yet he told me everything about me. You don’t have to believe me. Come and see for yourselves! He has a different way of looking at things, things you need to hear for yourselves! Come! Hurry, before they leave the well!”

… … …

My friend, thank you for coming with me this day. This day began like all other days in Sychar but ended like no other. My people were amazed at Yeshua’s words. They believed in him, some based on what I had said and others on hearing him for themselves. Now they want to be baptized by his disciples in the Jordan river.

I must go. We have invited these Judean Jews, the ‘anointed One’ and his disciples, to stay with us before they head to Galilee. We created space for them in our homes. Yeshua has much to teach us … We are learning how to love God and our neighbor with “spirit and truth” righteousness. I thought I was clever, but I’ve had to rethink many relationships today …. I am abandoning my pluralistic and sectarian ways. I am embracing Yeshua and his ways. There is no one like Adonai among the gods. Those old ways now seem foolish and childish and full of carnality and resentment. I was like the Dead Sea, always taking and never giving. Now, I want “living water” to flow through me, to refresh and satisfy those who ask me for water.

Before today, my people had no use for the Jewish prophets. But now, because of the anointed One, I will quote his reciting of Isaiah the prophet:

“And the LORD will continually guide you,

And satisfy your desire in scorched places,

And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden,

And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”

 

 

 

 

… adapted from the Gospel According to John, chapter 4

In My Element

 

How could I forget the passing of my father and mother? My father had become terribly sick. My mother cared for him day and night and soon became sick herself. I cared for both until they died days apart. How could I forget those days of loss and the burden put on me at that time? I am Martha and the oldest of three children.

As was our custom, the three of us – my brother Lazarus, my sister Mary and I – mourned for seven days. We did no work; we did no cleaning or cooking. Friends and relatives brought us food and sat with us and mourned with us as we sat barefoot on the floor. When that time was over, I felt isolated and overwhelmed. I felt the weight of the world suddenly on my shoulders. I was only 13 years old.

Before all this happened, I felt carefree. Life was an uncomplicated joy. When our family went to the synagogue, mother, Mary, and I would sit with the women. Father and Lazarus would sit with the men. Everything was as it should be. We were together in our element. But since, the remaining three of us have felt out of place, as if we were illegitimate children. It didn’t help that older women whispered between themselves when they saw us.

And, celebrating Passover was not the same without father and mother. Father would say, “Mary, ask the question”. Mary would respond “Why is this night different from all the other nights?” Then, we each had to give our answer as she asked it four times. I miss them most during these times.

Without father I felt cut off from the community and the events of the day. Father would come home and tell us all that was going on as we ate our evening meal. In his circle of friends there was much talk of the Romans and their taxes and about Caesar’s image on the denarius. (Father told us that he paid the temple tax in Tyrian shekels because those coins didn’t contain any earthly ruler’s image. This meant he had to deal with greedy money changers.)

Father became especially animated when he talked of a Messiah, one anointed by God who would smash the enemies of God and reign over the earth. Everyone he spoke with thought his appearing was imminent. When father talked about the Messiah he would recite the synagogue reading of the prophet Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
     and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.

 

As the oldest I took charge of caring for my younger brother and sister. Who else would do this? I fed them, cleaned their clothes and taught them the ways of our people as I had been taught by father and mother. Thankfully, father left his affairs in good order. We lacked for nothing and lived in a spacious home in Bethany.

At our home I tried to maintain order, as my mother had done. She watched over the affairs of the household and did not eat the bread of idleness. She was a woman of noble character and I wanted to be like her. So, I did what was needed.

As I busied myself at home, Lazarus and Mary would go to the marketplace to buy food for our daily meal – fish, vegetables, fresh herbs and the like. At the market they also gathered up the recent gossip and news from travelers about the events of the day. One day it happened that they came home and could talk of nothing else except Jesus.

Mary couldn’t contain herself. She swirled as she spoke in her lilting voice: “He healed … a man … of a terrible skin disease! He healed … a Centurion’s … servant! He raised … a widow’s son … from the dead! Unclean spirits … are cast out! The daughter of Jairus … the ruler of the synagogue … healed! A woman … sick for twelve years … healed! A lame man … made to walk…on the Sabbath! Jesus fed thousands … with a few … fishes and loaves! A storm … was calmed … on the sea of Galilee … “

As Mary spoke, Lazarus paced back and forth. When he finally stopped, he said that Jesus had been in the synagogue in Nazareth … that he had been handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah … that he had read the same words that father recited to us so often!

“His words are the words of life!” Mary exclaimed half-twirl. Lazarus wondered out loud: “Could this be the Messiah that father talked about?”

They both tugged on me. “Come and hear what people are saying!” But I had to remind them of the hour.

“It is almost sundown and the beginning of the Sabbath. We must prepare for this. Help me do this. Mary, sweep the house. Lazarus, take these fish bones out to the refuse pile.” After the sabbath, I told them, we will go and hear what is being said about him.

 

 

Soon after, it happened that Jesus came to where we were. He arrived with twelve men who followed him intently and some seventy others. The three of us overheard many of their conversations as they gathered in our village. There was excited talk of Jesus being the long-awaited Messiah. “But what good is a dead Messiah?”, was a response we heard over and over. Many were questioning the direction Jesus was taking – going up to Jerusalem. The rumors were that the authorities there were wanting to do away with him.

The disciples discussed and puzzled over what Jesus had said when they were alone: “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life”. “What could this possible mean?” they asked each other, “Why must he be killed? And “Isn’t the resurrection on the last day?”

Several spoke of Jesus sending them out in his name. They had the authority to cast out unclean spirits in his name! They were sent to proclaim the kingdom of God. There were villages where they were welcomed and were given food and drink. And there were places where they were not welcomed. In response to these places they wiped that town’s dust from their feet and said “Gods’ kingdom has come close to you! It will be more tolerable for Sodom than this town”.

When I heard this, I immediately welcomed the Master and his followers – all of them – to our home. Who else could do this with all of these? And, of course, the house was clean and empty and ready for guests.

The courtyards were soon overflowing – men gathered on the upper courtyard and women gathered on the lower courtyard. I loved the commotion after so many quiet days – days since father and mother passed away. Like my mother, who had received and served many guests, I was in my element. I took charge.

I sent Mary and Lazarus to the market for cured fish, cumin and coriander, vegetables, figs, grapes and almonds. With seventy plus mouths to feed I needed plenty of provisions and plenty of help.

While they were gone I set about baking bread on the hearth, making lentil stew, and roasting a goat on a spit. I went about offering my guests wine, water and goat’s milk to drink. After a time, Mary and Lazarus came back with everything I asked. They said that the whole town was outside waiting for Jesus and they gave us what we needed!

And Jesus was in my home at the center of a group of men. I set down bowls of figs, dates and almonds before them where they sat and talked. At this point, I was coming and going, from kitchen to room to kitchen to courtyard to kitchen. With so many, there was such a din. But I did hear one ask Jesus to tell them a story.

Jesus affirmed that he would. “Hush!” rippled through the gathering. The courtyards grew quiet. Lifting the sound of his voice so that many could hear, he began:

“Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

While Jesus spoke, I went back to cooking and preparing and wondering what happened to Mary. She was not helping me feed all these people. I needed her help. I was shorthanded and getting more flustered by the minute.

I returned the room where Jesus was with more bread and lentil stew. And, there she was! I was shocked! Not only was Mary sitting around distracted from her duties, but she was sitting with the men …and right at Jesus’ feet! O, the impudence!

Right then and there I wanted to say, “Mary, that is not your place. Come and help me.” But I had a better idea – invoke someone with authority to deal with her. There is someone in this room that she will listen to and who will sympathize with me. He will put her in her place. I stood before Jesus.

“Master, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself? Tell her to give me a hand!”

Jesus looked at me and must have seen the distressed look on my face. Certainly, I thought, he must know all that us women do, especially when we are hosting. He has a mother.

“Martha, Martha, you are fretting and fussing about so many things. Only one thing matters. Mary has chosen the best part, and it’s not going to be taken away from her.”

Well, that wasn’t the response I was expecting. I stood there looking at him and then at Mary who hadn’t moved and then at a room full of faces. Was the kingdom of God staring back at me waiting for my reaction? There was nothing left for me to do but to sit down, eat and join the conversation.

 

 

In the days following, Lazarus and Mary invited many into our home. I’ve hosted hundreds of people! Those who came were eager to hear about Jesus. I fed them. I sat with them. And, I taught them – men and women alike – about the words and ways of Jesus. I serve the kingdom of God and that is all that matters. I wish father and mother were here to see me in my element.

 

 

 

Adapted from the Gospel According to Luke, chapter 10

Same Road. New Vista.

 

What’s that you say? You’ve just arrived from Cyprus and you are new to the area? And, you’ve heard some incredible things? You want me to tell you all that’s happened? Come in for some water and …some bread.

Where should I begin, stranger? There is so much that has happened the last three days – the last three years, in fact! And long before now! Since you are a visitor from Cyprus, I will start with some necessary background so you will understand why my husband and I are so giddy.

My husband Cleopas and I – I am Mary – settled many years ago in this fertile valley below Jerusalem This area is known as Emmaus. We call this place Motza. Our village is about 30 stadia from our beloved Jerusalem.

As you have seen, it is a well-watered area with rich soil and an abundance of willow trees. During the Feast of Tabernacles celebration many come to our valley and gather willow branches. They take the willow branches and stand them up on the sides of the altar with their tops bowed over the altar.

Our valley has many springs watering it. Our people come down to one of Motza’s springs to get water for baking their matzo for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

I’m sure you noticed the Roman Centurions stationed here. My husband says it is a strategic position for them as they can protect the ascent to Jerusalem on the road leading from Jaffa. And, it is strategic in the ways I know of. Cleopas has overheard some of them saying that they would like to retire here because of the many springs and because north of our village the valley widens offering them plenty of room for settlement and for growing food.

My husband and I are simple farmers. But life for us and our people has not been so simple. Many of us have long desired to be freed from the rule of those who do not worship the One true God. When the Babylonians overtook Jerusalem and carried our people away into exile it was the Isaiah the prophet who spoke for us …

O Lord our God,

other lords besides you have ruled over us

but we acknowledge your name alone.

Now, we are back in our land and still the pagans lord over us. So, we wondered: Would our God act again to bring us out of this exile as he took us out of Egypt? And, when will God resurrect Israel and restore her as a nation? When will the messiah, the Anointed One and Son of the Most High from the line of David, restore the house of David? When, when, when …when would God redeem his people and set up his everlasting kingdom on earth?

On many Sabbaths, as we gather in the synagogue, words from the Torah are read. And then the words of the prophets – the haftarah. We all felt the hopelessness and despair in the words of the prophet Ezekiel: “our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.” Our leader would then pray these words:

Vindicate me, my God,
    and plead my cause
    against an unfaithful nation.
Rescue me from those who are
    deceitful and wicked.
 You are God my stronghold.
    Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?
 Send me your light and your faithful care,
    let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
    to the place where you dwell.
 Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre,
    O God, my God.

 

Yes, there were times of renewing hope and rejoicing. This past fall my husband and I and pilgrims from Cyrpus and from faraway lands went up to Jerusalem for the feast of the tabernacle. We carried with us willow branches and olive branches to build to sukkah – our temporary booths. When we all gathered together, we shouted praises to God, sang the songs of Aliyah and waved our fragrant lulavs – our willow branches and palm fronds – before the Lord in a spirit of thankfulness.

After the feast, we walked home with the pilgrims on the Emmaus road, the same road that brought you here. Our hearts were burning with expectation as to what God would do. There was much animated discussion about the events of those seven days. And, it all centered on Jesus. You must know about him, don’t you? How can anyone not know?

That day as we walked along we talked about his feeding the five thousand by the shore of Galilee. We talked about our seeing him healing the blind and the lame. And, Lazarus had been raised from the dead! We marveled that demons were being cast out and at Jesus’ authority over them. And, his words! No one ever spoke like he did about the Moses and the prophets. We discussed how our religious authorities despised him and wanted to do away with him. This made us all fearful, as it would negatively affect our synagogues. Yet, they each said that many were believing in him as the one who was to come.

But Miriam told the group that that even his brothers did not believe in him. She learned this from a young doctor named Luke, whom she met at the feast. He told her that Jesus’ brothers wanted Jesus to show himself publicly so that he could become well-known. “Show yourself to the world!” they said to him. They wanted to put Jesus in a situation which would make him prove he is the Messiah. But Jesus told them “My time is not yet. The world can’t hate you, but it hates me, because I am giving evidence against it, showing that its works are evil”. He told them to go up to the feast. Miriam said that Jesus went up later in secret and now we know why. There was a considerable dispute in the crowds. Some said “He’s a good man and others “He’s deceiving the people!” There were those who hated him and wanted to do away with him.

Ruth told us about the twelve-year old Jesus. His family had gone up to Jerusalem for Passover. When they left to return to Galilee with a caravan of friends, they had traveled a day’s journey before realizing that Jesus wasn’t with the group. He had vanished! So, they went back up to Jerusalem and searched for him for three days. They couldn’t find him anywhere. When they finally did put their eyes on him, he was sitting with the teachers of the law. He was listening to them and asking questions. Those listening to him were amazed at his answers to their questions. But, Mary was neither amazed or happy. She scolded him for disappearing. “Child”, she said to him, “why have done this to your father and me? We have been frantically searching for you”. Jesus told his mother, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I would have to be getting involved with my father’s work?” They didn’t understand a word of what he was saying. Wasn’t his father a carpenter?

Oy, there is so much to tell. I will focus on the last few days and on what happened to Cleopas and me this afternoon. What happened the last few days in Jerusalem we learned from the Jesus’ disciples as Cleopas and I were in Jerusalem for Passover. I can tell you that it was a time of weeping and anguish.

As you may have heard, on the night of Passover Jesus was captured by the authorities – ours and Roman. Though he had done nothing wrong he was sentenced to death on a Roman cross. Our authorities pushed for this, shouting “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Jesus was taken to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judaea and then released by Pilate to the angry crowd. Jesus was crucified like a common criminal. When we learned of this our hearts were broken, our hopes were dashed. “What good is a dead messiah we asked each other? We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” God be praised! There is more to tell you!

We were in Jerusalem this morning. We heard many, many accounts and rumors of visions and of Jesus’ tomb being empty. The disciples were at a loss as what to make of it all. Peter had gone off to see for himself and confirmed that the tomb was indeed empty. But he was as perplexed as the rest of us. We waited for while longer to see what might come of it all and then we decided to head home. Now, this is the part I’ve been waiting to tell you… I can barely …

Cleopas and I headed home to our village. Along the way we discussed all that had happened that morning. We argued, too, about what it meant. As we walked a stranger approached us and began walking with us. He was not at all familiar to us but he must have overheard us. He started the conversation:

Rowan LeCompte and Irene Matz LeCompte, “Third Station of the Resurrection: The Walk to Emmaus” (detail), 1970. Mosaic, Resurrection Chapel, National Cathedral, Washington, DC. Photo: Victoria Emily Jones.

“You’re obviously having a very important discussion on your walk. What’s it all about?”

We stopped walking and turned to him. He must have seen that we were both downcast. Cleopas answered the stranger. “You must be the only person around Jerusalem who doesn’t know what’s been going on there the last few days.”

“What things?” he asked.

“To do with Jesus of Nazareth. He was a prophet. He acted with power and he spoke with power, before God and all the people. Our chief priests and rulers handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. But we were hoping that he was going to redeem Israel!

And now, what with all this, it’s the third day since it happened. But some women from our group have astonished us. They went to his tomb very early this morning, and didn’t find his body. They came back saying they’d seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Some of the folk with us went off to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they didn’t see him.”

“You are so senseless! So slow in your hearts to believe all the things the prophets said to you! Don’t you see? This is what had to happen: the Messiah had to suffer, and then come into his glory!”

At this point, we were quite perplexed. Who is this stranger and why is taking this so personally? We were both taken aback by the zeal and authority with which the stranger spoke. We searched his face for answers to what we didn’t recognize in all of the Sabbath words. He began walking and we followed.

We listened to the stranger explain Moses and the prophets and all of Scripture in terms of the One who was to come and ransom Israel and bring her and the whole world out of exile. He told us …

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

He talked about a kingdom on earth and about creation and new creation. As he spoke, everything we had been taught began to look different. Everything was coming into focus and the focal point was Jesus. Everything was becoming clear except for the stranger. He remained an enigma.

We reached the intersection to our village. We turned down our road. The stranger kept walking down the Emmaus road. We called after him urging him to stay with us. He kept walking. Cleopas finally ran up to him and pleaded with him to stay with us. “Sir”, he said, “the day is almost over. Stay with us.” The stranger agreed to come with us.

We invited him in and gave him a bowl of water and a towel to wash his hands and feet. We gave him water to drink. We sat down to a small meal. The stranger took the bread up into his hands and prayed, giving thanks for the meal. He then broke the bread and gave it to us. It was then …it was then …it was then that we were shocked beyond belief! Our jaws dropped and we looked at each other with wide open eyes. Cleopas and I saw that the stranger was Jesus, the resurrected Jesus! And, as soon as we saw him, he vanished from our sight! Poof!

We were speechless. The Anointed One and Son of the Most High was walking with us and talking with us and sitting down to eat with us! Everything we hoped for had come true in our sight, as Anna the prophetess foretold and Simeon prophesied! … Our eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all people!

Now, our new friend, Cleopas and I have to return to Jerusalem to tell our brothers and sisters all that has happened this afternoon. We must break bread with them. Come with us and you will see him, too!

 

As we walked the 30 stadia back up to Jerusalem, Cleopas and I kept pinching each other. We walked and danced and walked and ran and clapped. We kept asking each other “Do you remember how our hearts were burning inside us, as he talked to us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us? Cleopas, in his booming voice and with a smile on his face, kept repeating “For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave” and the words our Sabbath leader prayed:

Why are you cast down, O my soul

And why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him.

We both shouted “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

 

The Cypriot, not sure what to make of all this, watched us from a distance. There was an amused and perplexed look on his face.

 

 

 

 

Adapted from the Gospel according to Luke (2:41-50)