Saturday, 11 October 2014

A reading. A response.

1 Thessalonians 5
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward allmen. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
25 Brethren, pray for us. 26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.
27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Withdraw from the world, and it will still find you out. Play dead and the bear of it, will sniff at you. It will seek to claim you as its meat. But you do not belong to it. You shall make no movement beneath its gaze. You have already fled to the furthest corner and it has found you. But you must flee with your brethren further than the furthest corner. And it will not find you. As it approaches, so you shall recede. As it ascends, so you must descend. Give your land to the enemy, it will destroy him. If every inch belongs to the world, then you must belong to no inch. Do not engage it. Do not look into its eyes. Do not learn its skills, do not take up its burdens, do not possess its things. Do not speak its words. Do not feel its emotions. Be patient with all men but know them from a distance. Make it so that there is nothing to be lost further from your life. Make it so that you are ready to pass into another world. This world will seek to bind you, and this world will seek to draw you in. Do not think to save any of the treasures which it has put in jeopardy before you, as if these did not also carry its mark. Let everything go. Keep quietly to the shadows. You have become accustomed to the shadows but you belong to another light, another tempo, and to another season. This blazing world of electric light will come on and on at you but it is not yours. You are in the shadows but not of them, you are of another light. Withdraw further there but do not avert your gaze from what comes brazenly towards you, smiling, open handed, with the sun at its back. Be kind to all men but do not hear what they have to say. You must watch for the world's approach as if for the flowing of the tide at the sea's distant edge. The tide will come quickly and from every side to drown you. Do not allow it to rise even to your ankles, or you will not outrun it.  You must flee before its touch as a mosquito rides the movement in the air made by the hand that would strike it. Do not hope to fight it, you cannot defeat it by force of arms. Nor can you outwit with your cunning. It knows you, it claims you and you know its knowing of you. But you do not belong here, you also know that by its expansion, so it will shrink. It will trip itself by its pursuits. But before its moment has ended, it will take many forms to call you forth, with threats and with enticements. It has precious words that it desires you to hear. Do not hear them, and do not throw words towards it, as if you wished it could hear you, as if you wished to enrage it. It will find you and it will rend you open. Remain in the shadows, then at last, it will become quiet and sickly, it will fall away, the internal rottenness will break open its skin and its force will spill uselessly upon the ground.