God’s Love and the Unfaithful Bride
Two weeks ago, I received a powerful vision, both visual and verbal. Some of it was personal, including some specific instructions. Some of it was communal. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but I’ve decided to share the parts that are not personal in nature:
I am the root and the branch; I am the seed and the seedling. I am the dark and the light. At my command, the rains come and the sun appears. I am, and there is no other. Wherefore then do you ask, “Why?” I am the why, and the what, and the how. In the sunset see my hand, and likewise in the dawn. I am the soil and the sky, and I am the flame that burns in all life. Above all, I am love, for without me there can be no love any more than there can be breath. You, created in my image, were made to love. Go, then, and love this world as I do—every person, every beast, every plant, every river, stone, and mountain, for they are mine as you are mine. Love them as I love you, for so I love them also.
The land burns, therefore flee to the water. Immerse yourself in it and let it wash over you. Let it cleanse your heart, for when the fire has passed there will be new life, a new world built on the old foundation. Walk in it with wonder, my children! Walk in it with innocence and awe! For as it once was, so it shall be again: all things made new. For I will burn away the scourge of greed and cunning, of fear and violence, of self-centeredness and self-reliance. I will do a new thing, such as has not been done since the beginning, and you, my children, will have another chance. The slate will be wiped clean of all your sins, if only you will confess them and renounce them.
Look how high they are heaped! Like straw waiting for the fire they choke the fields. Like refuse they clog the streets and even the rivers! Leave them behind! Then you may be spared when the fire does its purifying work.
But woe to you who cling to the old ways, the ways of sin, who say “Lord, I am forgiven” for that which they do not confess aloud! Do you not know that promise goes two ways? Would you not divorce a spouse who is unfaithful time and time again? “I love you,” she says in the morning, but where is she in the evening? When she thinks I am not looking, does she not get drunk on the wine of her lovers? She sings to me, but she dances with them. “But surely,” she says, “he does not know.”
Unfaithful bride! You come to me, and I smell stale wine from when you drank with them, the blood from when together you slaughtered my lambs for your feast, and the scent of a luxurious perfume that I did not give you. You still wear gold jewelry given to you by those you lie with! No, you have no shame.
And yet I love you still, for the bride that you once were.
This, then, is what you shall do if you wish to reclaim my covenant: get up from that soft chair in which you lounge. Strip from your body your soiled clothes and the jewelry given to you by your lovers, and lay them on the straw outside. Walk naked to the water—yes, naked in your shame—and cleanse yourself of the stench of your adulteries.
And as you cleanse, I will burn the straw with all the evidence of your unfaithfulness. Then return to me, washed and born anew—for then your nakedness will be innocence—and I will clothe you. Sit at my table and I will feed you. Embrace me, and I will love you. Look only to me, and my covenant with you shall not be annulled, and it shall last forever.
And as for you, mortal, it is time for you to choose. Too long you have walked the line between us. You see her unfaithfulness, yet you beg me to have mercy. It is by her own hand that mercy will be gained or lost. And you, still by her side, do you excuse her harlotry? You have seen her wear the crown and turban of her lovers, and still you would stay my hand?
Choose, mortal, choose! For if you stand by her in her iniquity, you shall suffer her fate. Beg indeed, but not of me! Beg the drunkard to give up her wine, the harlot to give up her lovers and their gifts. Take her, then, to the water and wash her, if she will. But do not look to me, for her future is of her own choosing.