“You are ancient, Gabriel, my son, but not so ancient as I.”
The voice was deep as the sea, firm as the earth, and full of the delicious music of heaven.
“You and your brothers must fight to protect this race of earth bound creatures. They are of the dust, as you are not, but I have put my breath upon them and in them and they will ascend, in the end, to a place of honor above you. Will you serve them and protect them, my son, for my sake?”
“Yes, Lord, you know I will.”
The assent was not only mine. Together the sound of our thoughts seemed to resound in the halls of his temple like a mighty shout. We were united, together in our loyalty and love for him who made us, our numbers diminished but our resolve strengthened for the battle that lay ahead.
“Ask,” he commanded with a whisper. He knew there were answers yet to be given.
“Will we be changed?” fearful, but strangely hopeful as well, came the question.
“Yes,” whispered the strong sound of his voice, “deeply, subtly, gloriously.” His excitement made our hearts race. “And the ones you must serve, even more. You will watch and be amazed and you will glory in the master you have chosen to follow. Listen to the song that emanates from the earth, from the hearts of men throughout the ages to come, for it will be sung by the angels of heaven.”
Gabriel listened. It was a petition, that song, a cry for help as well as a statement of faith. Lucifer could not quench the yearning in the heart of man and God would respond. Gabriel was sure of it.
“Ask further, my son.”
I could feel the listening presence of my brothers as their questions became my own, but it was my place to speak.
“I am troubled, Father….”
“Speak, my son. Your heart is known to me.”
Still, I hesitated.
“Is he, then, necessary to your plan, O Lord?” I could not say his name.
“No, he is not necessary but he is there, and he must be dealt with. And because he is there, he has become necessary for a time but only because of love and for my purposes and under my hand. The seed of rebellion is hidden in the flower of love. I choose to create in my own image and this possibility, too, is part of the creating.”
There was a holy pause, the voice deeper still.
“I have allowed this choosing in order to teach love, but rebellion is not a creation of mine. It is a new and evil thing, a creation of doubt and unbelief and evil desire. Rebellion maycome but woe to him through whom it comes.”
The sorrow in his voice shook us but it was still backed by anger and firmness of purpose.
“Lord, permit me…..”
“Ask, further, my son.”
“Lord, if we defeat him, will he one day no longer be necessary?”
“Observe the lowly caterpillar,” he said, his answer coming upon the soft winds of summer as we found ourselves in the midst of his new creation. “He is transformed through struggle and victory but has no need to return to the struggle when the transformation is complete.”
I was amazed. He had written the deepest truths of his mind into the very creation he had made. I would look into this much deeper when I had the chance.
“We are ready, Lord, to do battle on your behalf.”
The prospect of defending the honor of his presence with every strategy I could devise, thrilled me to the core of my being. I blazed with a ferocious light as my excitement grew.
“Gabriel, Gabriel.” The voice penetrated my enthusiasm like a sword piercing my heart. “You must first learn how to fight. Your strength alone would destroy the creation I have made. Follow me, obey me, move as I move and watch as the evil one is defeated by his own evil.”
The voice grew stronger.
“Watch as the keeper of my glory, who now would steal my glory, becomes the instrument necessary to display an even greater glory that will transform the universe.”
The voice spoke with a deeper and more powerful timbre than I had heard even in the days of artistry and creation. Something new had begun, a new day, a new history, a new experience of the glory of the Majesty who sits upon the throne.
The voice of the Majesty spoke like rolling thunder. “Let the Redemption begin!”
“Holy, Holy, Holy.”
The song burst forth in reply as row upon row of angels leapt into the air, stamping their feet and bowing their heads like an army of Zulu warriors preparing for battle.
The seraphim surrounding the throne responded with voices that rose in harmony, filling the heavens with song. The four living creatures, their tones as deep as the earth, added their joy to the celebration with their declaration.
“He is worthy! He is worthy!”
The excitement was contagious as the Holy Presence swept over the ranks of angels, filling them with the laughter and the tears of the truly happy.
And then it happened.
The Lord God, himself, rose from his throne while all of heaven grew quiet and watched. Slowly he stepped down and, with a heave of his mighty shoulders, swept his royal mantle from his back. Freed from the restraint, he lifted his arms into the air and snapped his fingers, once, twice, his whole body responding to the beat, his foot stamping its agreement into the holy firmament of heaven, keeping time while he began to murmur his song.
There were no words yet, just the sounds of joy and holy desire. His eyes were closed, his body swaying. As his fingers became more nimble, snapping out the rhythm of the song, his feet began to shuffle and skip to the beat. The murmurs of desire became words and names and declarations and the dance and the song took on a life of their own.
As I watched, I realized that this was the dance of life, the song of redemption. The words began to write themselves upon the sands of time, weaving their story into the history of earth. Faster and faster the Majesty sang and danced and snapped his fingers until, suddenly, all of heaven joined in with shouts of jubilation, singing and dancing around the Majesty and around the throne, weaving and stamping and shouting for joy.
“Let the Redemption begin! Let the Redemption begin!”
It had begun and we, the angelic hosts of the Almighty God, were ready for the battle that lay ahead.
The joy of the Lord God, himself, would be our strength.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by Bert A. Amsing. Used with Permission.
Excerpt from The Temptations of the Cross (A Novel) by Bert A. Amsing
Copyright © 2012 by vanKregten Publishers. All rights reserved.
Footnotes and references included in original manuscript.