The Burning

The Burning

by Joshua Russell

From the black void a voice arose: I will go to hell and back for you, dear child.

Then God created the heavens and the earth, full well knowing the heartache it would cause him to have such beautiful little children (he could gobble them up!) and watch them cower before his gaze, think horrible thoughts, despise him, despise themselves, despise the very sky he painted for them.

And what’s worse, they would feel such incredible fear deep inside. Oh the heartache it would cause him! And no thing would separate them from him other than the ideas in their heads that they were not ready to think when they ate of that tree.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

That great and mighty tree would be fashioned into large beams, unbreakable by frail men, into a mighty machine. A torture device. This machine would pump all the terrifying thoughts of what God does to those who can’t manage his impossible standards into the heads of the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve. And the machine would be so powerful because it would be so close to the truth.

Yet so far from it.

For thousands of years the machine would be a standard for human torture. And few upon the face of the earth would find refuge from the terrible grinding gears and bone crushing power of the beams. And ooooh. How his heart would ache.

Then from the black void a whisper… “i will go to hell and back for you, dear child.”

And mankind would peer out through cataract eyes to see the beams erected into a new machine. The device so awful.

Created to destroy God Himself.

He used black paint on the sky that day. And even his children would often think it was his anger descending. The black clouds, fierce winds, earth torn open. For that was the one moment in all the infinite expanse of existence, that hell would enter the throne room. That heaven would enter hell. Black was the color of heaven that day.

You have traveled so far.

He said.

And I have let you fight the machine.

He said.

All by yourself you did it. You have searched through the knowledge of good and evil. All by yourself. And you went so far and tried so hard. And I was rooting for you even though I knew you would never make it.

You would never even come close.

I saw you from the black void and I spoke over you then. My whisper is a mighty voice of burning love. So fierce is my burning love it will go to hell and back. Because you need to have a new idea. I did not go there for a vacation. Or to satisfy my machine.

I have no machine.

I went there to show you how much I love you. I saw you from far off and I ran to you. I saw you from the black void before I created you and I ran to you from across the universe. And on the way, I stopped in at hell and broke those f*&^ing beams. I tore them into toothpicks for you to use at my wedding feast! Dear child I love you so much I went to hell and back for you, and what’s more?

I destroyed hell for you.

My death was a picture of the depth of my love for you! Can I do more? Shall I find a greater way to show you? I have already scoured the depths of the universe for the greatest way to prove my love for you.

That is why I rose again.

And I restored, fashioned anew, the imprint of me in you. And from your deepest heart there is the cry, “Abba, Father! I am not a slave, Father! The machine has been broken, father! I could hear the twisting of the beams and the cracking and splintering! And you tore those beams to shreds! You tore those beams to pieces, father! And you have given me the power of heaven.

Your power!

To set free the world. That whatever I touch, your kingdom joins the earth. The very soil I walk on is made new in your name. And everything the machine destroyed, you redeemed. You made it new.”

I am undone and remade by your burning love.

Your burning love.

Your burning love.

Your burning love…

4 Responses to “The Burning”

  1. allison kunle says:

    mr perry,i read with keen interest your comment about anne rice’s decision to quit church, and the back-up story of your family and all.very touching and insightful to say the least.maybe anne is misguided or just angry, but i believe her decision,though unjustifiable,has perspective!my concern is whether the “church” truly enjoys the community life or fellowship exemplified in the early church or a mere gathering of intimate strangers who, naturally, seek to relate somehow and then come up with rules tagged “biblical” in order to validate whatever they enjoy as “christian”!mr perry it is very difficult for some of us to see the church as “church” when it is radically not different from most secular institutitons known to man.this becomes more interesting when one discovers that “church” to the Apostle Paul and his kind was not necessarily a Noun(Place or Institution)strictly speaking but significantly a People,called-out ones irrespective of where they are or converge e.g where two or more are gathered “in His name” there i am in their midst”.the emphasis is not on a special place but on a special people.Unfortunately, History and those who sought to remain relevant in it have transformed “church” into a a kind of Mutant.whether we like it or not any good student of history who is unbised knows that the church as structured today is a sad simulation of its original structure.Call my mindset ‘old-fashioned’and im happy.The world has changed a lot,mr perry,so i passionately understand the passion of those who would frown at my flow of thought.People often say we should go back to the faith of our fathers, but our fathers are dead! And they lived 2000years ago.This is a contradiction becos people would consider my line of thought obsolete but desire to go back to the faith of our “dead” fathers.They probably desire this “faith” because there is a “knowing” in them that says,”something is wrong!” even if they cant readily place their hands on it.I wish i could do some exegesis on history but for lack of space and time it is a historical fact that even though we discourage it all the time, man has always thrown the proverbial baby away with the bath water!!!That is my own summary of church history.We threw away the good stuffs with the bad stuffs all in the name of “change” or “necessity”, or reasonableness. Now, to many, the truth is only an ideology which must not encroach on their reality.It is only good for arguments but “Life must move on”(sad).Mr perry, some cultures are worth preserving and even worth dying for.Some did. Sometimes i wonder why we give up on some practices so soon.is it truly because “change” is inevitable or man was not courageous enough to ward off secular influences?Anne’s decision has a perspective that we do not or will not look into because “life must continue” at all expense!!i do not validate her decision because her motive may be wrong but i concur with the fact that a fundamental substitution of THE BODY initiated and validated by papal authority and ill motives has been established, and unfortunately now enjoys historical longevity.Out of Church gathering or building should not necessarily mean out of fellowship.The former can be possible without the latter becoming impossible.It’s just a matter of understanding.Therefore, if Anne Rice feels compelled to enjoy fellowship with believers severed from the ritualistic sunday gatherings(provided she is convinced in her heart & is not unforgiving),then who cares if she has fellowship in the office,a garden,her room, a party,a prison or even in hell as long as they gather “in His name”.It is more about “His Name” and not “The Place”. Mr Perry can you and the 21st century church live with that?Even King David once said “…If I make my bed in hell, you are there”Psalm 139:8.WOW!!!
    Concerning the issue of the reaction of Pastor/Mr. G to the diagnosis of your mum’s condition at the time, i personally do not have any grouse.I believe in scientific solutions and proven intelligence because (1)i went to school,(2)i use it everyday and (3)they are testable and provable. But there is a caveat here.Can “chemical imbalance” or some psychological theory explain the cause of homosexualism?Or, better still create an “alibi” for sexual perverts?Maybe psychiatrists can explain why some people (serial-killers) are always just itching to kill just for the sport? Whether we like it or not some issues are only traceable to SIN and DISOBEDIENCE.To this extent mr perry i find your position for the “bipolar” stuff incapable of general application.And if you are a fan of the Bible that should not affect you much,should it?i understand the fear of people like Mr G.,maybe not the way they went about it. The excuses professionals give for such abnormal conditions may vary depending on the diagnosis but are similar in many respects.Secular intelligence is often man’s way of not only solving man’s problem but also a way of saying it is not entirely man’s fault i.e blame it on a provable cause which man “can’t” control rather than hang on to some “spiritual” and spooky rationale.We generally dont have the history of accepting the truth about what we cannot explain.Man has an incurable GOD-COMPLEX!That is modern-day idolatry:worship of human intelligence.Yes all these are at best my bizarre opinions,but which is not.i may be guilty of certain extremes but i’m only trying not to be guilty of “spiritual imbalance”.It is better to err on the side of caution Mr Perry but that is after you have applied caution!In all, that is my message:Caution, Caution,Caution!!!yours
    In His Body
    Allison Kunle
    A true Nigerian
    A patriotic African
    An Usual Believer .

    • reynaldo besana says:

      Mr. Perry, may I add this verse to what Allison Kunle (my apologies Allison, I can’t address you as a Ms. or a Mr. since I can’t guess from your first name if you are male or female)adeptly argued, to which I wholeheartedly subscribe, (thank God for Christians like Allison Kunle who can see the truth about worship than many of us who have Bible School education.):

      John 4:20-21, & 24 (NIV)

      “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is n Jerusalem.”
      Jesus declared, “Believe me woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem… true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth…

      You see, worship is neither a place (space) nor day (time). Organized religion fight over Sunday or Saturday as the day of worship. Granted that Saturday is Sabbath day or Sunday is the Lord’s day, there is definitely no command in the Bible for Christians to worship on those days. The Ten Commandments does not mention any day for worship. The Sabbath was meant for rest. Worship is relationship with God and the command is in singular number and it is not necessary that you have a group to qualify whatever you do, as “worship”. Each command in the Ten Commandments is targeted to a single person. Even in “group worship”, God looks at the hearts of every person, individually. like salvation, worship is singular in intent. We go to church to follow the admonition (not a command) of Paul “not to forget the assembling of ourselves” but even that was not meant for worship, although in a sense, worship is an element that naturally comes with it. The problem with organized religion is that it equates the rituals the priest or pastor performs as worship. And it is sad that people think if they don’ go to church on those days I mentioned, they have failed to “worship”.

      I repeat, worship is not bound by time or place.

  2. Abner Keyman says:

    I can relate to “The burning” very much for it represents my life’s testimony and the freedom from fear through Jesus’s love!
    It also reminded me so much of a inspirational letter of a dear late pastor and friend of mine who got kicked out and persecuted by the church of his day because his simple message of living and forsaking all for Jesus cramped their self-satisfied, sanctimonious holier than thou hypocritical style. He then started a soul winning explosion for Jesus together with the hippy counter culture youth whom in those days where despised by the churches and considered the scum and rejects of society. God often works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform!
    The letter is called.
    THE CANDLE
    1. IT SEEMED LIKE THE LORD’S REVOLUTION IS A FLAME OF FIRE OF A CANDLE IN THE MIDST OF GROSS DARKNESS AND THERE WERE MANY HANDS REACHING OUT OF THE DARKNESS–some reaching out for the light. It shone on their faces in the dark and they gazed with enthralled fascination as though hypnotized with joy. And others whose faces I could not see sought to quench the flame! But it seemed as though the principal danger came from those who were trying to make the flame burn the way they thought it ought to burn, in the place and fashion they thought it ought to burn!–And some said, “If you’ll burn the way we tell you to, we’ll put you on this beautiful golden candlestick where everybody will admire you!” So they were trying to lower this box right over the flame to box it in and control it, but the box itself instantly burst into flame and the candle burned right through and destroyed it!
    2. I TOOK THE BOX AND THOSE BEHIND IT TO REPRESENT THE CHURCH SYSTEM; and the hands which would seem to completely extinguish the flame to represent the anti-Christ world; and the hands that tried to snuff it out were only burned, and those that tried to channel it were scorched, and every type of control which was foisted on it was consumed by the flame.
    3. AND THERE WERE THOSE HANDS WHICH WERE EVEN TENDER LOVING HANDS OF CONCERN FOR SAFETY AND THE OPINIONS OF MEN, which were trying to shelter the flame,–the hands of those who felt they were well-meaning loved ones concerned for our welfare, but instead they were only smothering it, and causing it to smoke and to stink.
    4. AGAINST THESE HANDS IT STRUGGLED THE MOST violently to flicker out of their grasp! It seemed to wriggle between their fingers to burn freely. These are the strongest hold and presented the strongest challenge and danger to the flame! Those we love and who love us most come closer to putting it out than anyone else!–Well-meaning relatives and loved ones!
    5. THE WARNING WAS CLEAR. THE FLAME MUST BE FREED FROM ALL BONDAGE EVEN FROM THOSE WE LOVE, and who loves us, however well meaning they may be, lest in their smothering love they quench the fire. It’s a kind of smothering, protective love, the idea being that, of course, you must burn, but you don’t have to burn that way. You can burn here, or you can burn there or you can burn our way.
    6. BUT EVERY TIME THE FLAME TRIED TO BURN THEIR WAY, IT BEGAN TO DIE. It had to be free. It had to burn free, at whatever the cost and whatever the damage to the combustible system that tried to control it!
    7. There was one last thought: It seemed that the greatest concern of the heavenly hands which tended and truly protected the flame from all others was the supply of oil in the candle itself, which seemed constantly in need of replenishing by the hand of the Candle-maker and the Keeper of the Flame. I took this to mean the Oil of the Spirit–the Candle-maker and Keeper of the Flame was, of course, the Lord, and we are His Candle–dead without His Oil and the ignition of His Power– Or, smothering, smoking, and stinking, if not permitted to burn free in His Spirit. By burning free, it was destroying the hampering, controlling systems that sought to hinder it, and it was lighting the whole world!
    8. There were lots of people sitting around cross-legged on the floor like they were meditating, watching the candle flame, which is a lot like these kids do when they are tripping out. It just shows you that the Lord–He is able to be their Trip!
    9. The kids, thousands of them, were watching the candle flame and looking at it with such hope! Just as though it was their only hope–that little flame! They were so thrilled!
    10. BURN FREE, BELOVED, BURN FREE! LET NOTHING QUENCH HIS FIRE! And nothing shall! We shall set the world on fire by the Power of His Spirit to burn away the wood, hay and stubble, the dross and the chaff, leaving only the gold and silver and precious jewels for His crown!
    11. BURN FREE, BELOVED BURN FREE. YOU SHALL SET THE WORLD ON FIRE FOR HIS KINGDOM! And He shall give beauty for ashes! The eternal beauty of His Truth will rise above the ashes of their traditions and last forever in the Eternal Kingdom of God!
    12. HOLD FAST TO THAT WHICH THOU HAST, LEST ANOTHER STEAL THY CROWN! Let not the Enemy have dominion over you. For whom the Son hath made free is free indeed! Don’t let them rob you of the Flame of His Freedom. Don’t let Satan blow it out! This little light of mine: I’m going to let it shine!–No matter what they say or do, the Revolution for Jesus is Forever.
    13. COME, LET’S SET THE WORLD AFIRE FOR GOD AND ENLIGHTEN THE HEARTS OF ALL MEN EVERYWHERE to repent. This is your day. Let it burn! Tomorrow will be too late!

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