Peeling the Onion: Week 5

If you have a sense of déja vu,

Of dreamlike repetition,

Try the image of burrowing back out through the onion –


Start the week, Monday,

With the Lamb on Mt Zion –

Just as the dragon is on earth from the celestial showdown,

Now the Lamb is crossing the gap to the conflict arena of earth


The 144,000 are singing praises –

I see and hear it as the same chorus

as were sealed to survive tribulation

The accompaniment is heavenly –

Coming from the celestial court,

 yet audible in Zion



Refocus in the middle distance,

Between the sublime and the mundane,

3 angels’ announcements,

then the voice from heaven

audible signals to any with ears to hear.



Again in the middle distance,

Between the sublime and mundane,

One like Son of Man, on a cloud

3 angels in turn coming from the celestial temple

till two with sickles, one with fire,

are ready to reap the earthly harvest



 Recall your 7 angels, 7 bowls, with 7 plagues –

You imagined them, construed them in your mind,

When we entered this layer weeks ago –

With the 7 angels, lamps, trumpets, eh?


Friday and Saturday,

We get the bowls of wrath,

The harvest of the grapes of wrath,

5 poured out Friday, 2 Saturday



Our problem comes from histories of interpretation:

Linear chronological scripts, with serial events

Instead of the original kairos ‘fullness of time’ vision

pre-millennialists and post-millennialists

Imagining a vanguard of 144,000 saved

Who leave the rest of humanity to burn in tribulation


How can you read this week

Without hearing the soundtrack:

‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’

or seeing John Ford’s movie with Henry Fonda,

or turning the pages of Steinback’s novel,

‘Grapes of Wrath’?


Replay that cut of digital data

To see and hear it again,

Re-presenting something ultimately true

About what’s fully human, and fully divine

In the Lamb, and the chorus


What happens ‘when worlds collide’?

If the mirroring and echoing,

Between celestial court,

Through Mount Zion,

Re-presented to the world

Is premonition, and memory fragment?


People living through adolescence –

And through senescence –

Have been my best guides

To that liminal territory,

Those frontiers…


Let’s not ‘explain’ the poetic

Let’s just enjoy the reruns,

Carving the neural pathways,

Till they are familiar enough,

That we see the shape we first missed


I’ve been playing with the onion all this century –

Taken from Elizabeth Schüssler-Firoenza’s commentaries

Visualized in concentric circles,

In labrinths (that feel like mazes)


Where can you hang the inconceivable horrors,

Of apocalyptic moments in our world,

When every attempt to ‘explain’, let alone justify,

That meaningless violence?


For today, however,

I’ve used my 500 word quota,

And skirted the edge

Of mystification

Rather than mystery


Don’t give up

because the guide is blind and lost!