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This was written sometime ago. I would come back to it every now and again to edit and add etc. Perhaps I should have published this at or near the beginning of this blog. But it was intended to show what is behind the title of this post and the actual wooden sign (as shown as the cover picture for this blog). It hangs over the mantle of the fireplace, in the great room of our home. This blog and that sign (a gift from family), represents our home which we also lovingly call– The Gathering Place. This post was written to explain why this place, called the The Gathering Place (our home), is so named, The Gathering Place. For one thing, I believe most people understand what a gathering place is and what it is for. That visual explanation works for this place, this blog and our home as well. But I want you to understand the depth of my meaning for it as well. I thought today, April 17, 2018, was as good as any time to publish it. Cheers! 🙂
(What’s in a Name)
©️ 2018, all rights reserved
When I was a child, I believed in many things. Then I found out I had been lied to. And I decided right there and then– there was no Santa Claus, no Tooth Fairy, no such thing as the Easter Bunny, that people cannot be trusted and there must be, no such person or thing as God. Then I came upon many beliefs about the meaning of life and I just started looking.
Then I found this and that and was told this and that– “Because”, ‘That’s what I was taught”, “Because, that’s just the way it is”,”Come here”, “Go there”, “Look here”, and “Look over there”, and I just kept looking!
I went to the mountains. I went to the desert. I went to the sea. I looked to the stars. I wondered and I wandered. Then I looked to the healing arts. Then I looked to the law. I looked towards anywhere and any place I could find. I turned to the so-called creative arts. I wrote and wrote in journal after journal and would read them from time to time. Then it was discovered I had encircled myself in my own words, trapping me inside them. I burnt them all! The Religion of obscurity and confusion was NOT for me, so I kept on looking.
I went to the valleys of the human kind. I searched the ancients and the currents, their dark arts and their light arts. The Religion of uncertainty, contradiction, hypocrisy and evil, was NOT for me, so I kept on looking.
I returned to the religion of my youth, for some solace and some comfort. I went back to something familiar and discovered the mystery of faith. But faith could not be explained, it was not understood and I could NOT apply it because, I had no faith, not enough faith or I had turned away from the faith. Then I thought, if it cannot be articulated in words it is because, it is not understood. If it cannot be understood, it cannot be applied and there can be no results or consequences. The Religion of faith was NOT for me and I must NOT have been adequate, for the Religion of faith. I found no comfort or solace, so I kept looking.
I thought I must be tried and purified. I must take the chance on luck that by chance I might be chosen. Born to stand upright, to seek and to excel, how could I rise if the fates were not calling me? I was NOT chosen. And the Religion of Fate and Predestination was NOT for me, so I kept looking.
At one time in my life, I considered living a life of self-sacrifice and use my all and everything to suppress my passions, to elevate only logic and reason, much like the ancient Stoics. But that did not seem like much fun to me. The Religion of endless works without ceasing and a joyless existence was NOT for me, so I kept looking.
I saw the dying and the dead. Some of the dying cried out in terror; in fear of the unknown. Some of the dead cried out in losing their lives to the void. They cried out in guilt, for what they had done amiss or had not done, vainly making deals with the unknown, for another chance, more days; more years. I saw them curse when the answers they wanted and needed, did not come and they all died. The Religion of helplessness and hopelessness, was NOT for me, so I kept looking.
I saw and heard the dead eulogized and memorialized. Some were great, near great, just common folk and some were despised. But all of them still had at least a few that sorrowed for them, pretended to cry or were happy at their departure saying, “Good riddance.” And I heard religious leaders proclaim that those embalmed, dead and lifeless before my eyes, were not dead, but alive with God. How cruel I thought and unfair to us that remain. We that are left must continue to bear the slings and arrows of humanity and inhumanity. Even if the dead were hated, they are better off than us poor, pathetic creatures, fragile and miserable. We the left-behind, continued to struggle and even with good intentions, were paving our own roads in hell, in the slim and unverified sliver of hope for, heaven’s door. How much rather better, to go nowhere at all! For to the dead with no coins laid on their eyes (or our eyes), for the ‘Boatman’, without consciousness or conscience, is this not the bliss of ignorance! The Religion of ignorance, favoritism, partiality, inequity was NOT for me and I, I kept looking right there.
Then I looked at the words from the same book these religious leaders read from. I heard them say that the dead which were before me were dead and I could see they were dead. I heard the tears of those left behind. Some were mournful, some pretended and some smiled happily. And I heard and saw these preachers contradict that the dead were not dead, after they had just read and said they were. And they said they were not dead, but alive and living elsewhere, not needing their shells. And these preachers talked of resurrection and I thought, if these dead were alive, why would God need to return and pick up their dust and bones? Is this not what it means to be raised (resurrected), from the dead? And then I heard my own pastor say, “The whole duty of a minister is to be intellectually informed for their congregation.” I supposed none of this was NOT spoken from some callous hearts; not abject hypocrites, but attempts at empathy, to comfort the mourners? How were we, was I, comforted in knowing the dead were alive and we alive were born to die? And the dead were alive? And the words the leaders read were, the dead were dead and yet they said these were alive! The Religion of stupid and the illogical; false hope and false comfort was NOT for me, so I left, got out and kept looking somewhere, anywhere else!
Then I thought, “Eat, drink and be merry”, cuz’ some tomorrow, I’m gonna’ die anyway, like the ancient Epicureans. But then I thought, surely there is more to life than just feeling and sucking the marrow and all the juice out of life, as much and as fast as I could?! The Religion of burning my candle at both ends, depravity, debauchery, self Indulgence, self-contentedness; total wholly selfishness, was NOT for me, so so I kept looking, but with barely any strength left to continue. It amazes me how fat I can become and yet how weak it makes me so, yes, I kept looking.
Then I discovered people who don’t believe anything (atheists). How mindless, irresponsible, how blissfully ignorant. And I decided that the Religion of nothing, no purpose or reason for the reasons and passions for life or that non-religion was NOT for me, so I kept looking, then nearly crawling, for lack of strength. A mind spent on arguing is one starving, so yes, I kept looking.
Then I discovered the really insane people who can’t decide or even make up their minds as to what they believe or don’t believe (agnostics). And Religion, that Religion or the i-dunno’-religion, the I don’t want to say yes and be wrong and the I don’t want to say no and be wrong either. This without a mind Religion, insanity was NOT for me, so I stayed blind, deaf, and dumb, looking nowhere.
Then I was found! And my empty hard heart, soul, and mind were pierced and shattered by these words-
“Don’t you know that by his stripes you WERE HEALED?”
Then I came to discover that I already was a Christian; that Christ was already in me, and that the riches of this mystery was, Christ in me, The Hope of glory (future). I found the best of both lifestyles (reason and passion), and the balance of reason and passion for my past, present and future, plus hope for an everlasting life of joy, health and wholeness! I found when I so concentrated on these things- focused, without allowing any distraction in, I was calm and as pure as undiluted and undisturbed water, while the storms of life raged all about me. And my whole life was quickened– physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I have been healed often to the absence of any possibility and without medical explanation. I am alive when I should have died several times that I know of and perhaps more than I know?!
I have been filled according to my appetite. My questions all answered to my satisfaction. I overflow my fullness. I know what and why I believe what I believe and can show the same to anyone that desires to know the hope that is in me. This I can show that they can be filled according to their appetite and their questions answered to their satisfaction and their filling full, can overflow from them too!
I no longer look anymore! Whew, if you only knew how much time, resources and life this saved and saves me!
Then I discovered I have the best possible life going, even if I’ve succumbed to something so foolish and explained away as rapture of the deep and unrealistic euphoria, going nowhere! 🙂
But daily there are proofs and sometimes I prove them to myself and others see them in me too!
Then one day I will discover that I’ve been gathered together– dead, alive; here or there. Then, I’ll one day meet Jesus Christ, in the air!
And now I hope, to see you there! To the some I KNOW. I’ll be gathered together with you!! To all the rest, I hope to see you there!!! Until then, The Gathering Place (our home), is purposed to be like a miniature or mini-gathering together, until the real one or the big one occurs. 🙂
What’s in a Name?
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
Hebrews 10:25 KJV
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
I Thessalonians 4:16,17 KJV
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”
II Thessalonians 2:1,2 KJV
Don’t stop looking, you’ll be found if you want to be!
Oh, and what and where is real comfort?
“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
I Thessalonians 4:18 KJV
The Gathering Place,