Wednesday, May 07, 2014

To save a body...

Firewood Man mowed and edged the lawn.  [BLISS]  I sheared and clipped and shampooed the puppy dog.  [Lavender aroma therapy]  Lots of grooming took place today.  On the morrow, Marie and her mother are stopping by, so I wanted my fluff ball in fine form.

When he was here, I asked Firewood Man if I needed to water the worms again, since, really, all I have yet is a worm farm, not a raised bed.  Being all brave (i.e., not squeamish), Tim stuck his hand in the bed and dug down deep.  About four inches into the foot high bed, the soil was nicely damp.  He said that he thought it could wait until we get rain on Friday.  

Then I asked him if he thought the worms were okay, since I did not see any real evidence of them consuming the lettuce and the bread crumbs I put out for them.  In fact, Amos already has a deeply held belief that the raised bed is a place for me to put snacks, so I have to scold him off of it each time we go out.  Thankfully, he has not yet figured out he can just leap on top, so all he does is raise him self up and stretch out his expandable torso to reach the pieces of bread.  Wilted lettuce has no appeal for him.

Once again, Tim stuck his hand in the bed and searched around until he came up with a worm.  Then, he pretended to toss it to me, as he said, "Check it out for yourself!"  I screamed and leapt away from where I was standing.  It was a few breathless, heart-pounding, queazy moments before I noticed that Tim was laughing as he held out his hand.  In his palm was a worm, a very, very, very wiggly worm.  Clearly, at least one of my 250 guarantors-charged-with-keeping-my-herbs-alive had survived the transition to his new home.  Or hers.  I am wondering just how soon I should put in some ground up egg shells for that fertility boost.

It is difficult to fight my deep desire to plunk the three rosemary plants in the solarium down in the raised bed.  However, after a few days of warm weather, we are forecasted to go right back to overnight lows in the 40s.  I want to be as sure as I can that those little babies that I have been nursing in the solarium since January are not going to be zapped by a late cold spell.  Frankly, I am convinced that we are going to go right from a lingering winter into a blistering summer.  

Okay, Indiana does not really blister.  What I mean is that I am not going to have a nice spate of time where neither the heater nor the air-conditioning is running in my home.  Such a scenario does not bode well for my utility budget. Mostly, I have been avoiding the heat a bit foolishly.  Ask Marie.  She cooked with a red nose the other day because of the near frost conditions indoors.  Maybe that is why Amos is clearly addicted to the electric blanket.  Too bad all the firewood is long gone.

Saturday is the final symphony performance in the Masterworks series.  It is a four-hour musical fest, featuring Beethoven's Symphony No. 9.  Thinking about what I wrote about The Mission, I went looking for a clip of the sound track and stumbled upon this bit of wonder, conducted by the man who created the music.  Would that it were the Fort Wayne Philharmonic had an evening of fantastic soundtracks (i.e., played all three of my favorites)!

In the movie, the Guarani were natural musicians, valuing that particular blessing from our Creator.  Being a bit partial to boy sopranos, I just revel in the Guarani performance of Ave Maria for the cardinal during his visit.

The cardinal and the Portuguese governor have an exchange regarding on of the children in the performance:

Altamirano: [about native boy] Don Cabeza, how can you possibly refer to this child as an animal?

Cabeza: A parrot can taught to sing, Your Eminence.

Altamirano: Ah yes, but how does one teach it to sing as melodiously as this?

Cabeza: Your Eminence. This is a child of the jungle, an animal with a human voice. It if were human, an animal would cringe at its vices. These creatures are lethal and lecherous. They will have to be subdued by the sword and brought to profitable labor by the whip.

At the beginning, when the Jesuit Gabriel first attempted to broach the Guarani above the falls, he did so with music.  This is such an interesting scene, especially for one who lived and breathed the story of Jim Elliot when she was in college.  Elizabeth Elliot and her first husband were evangelical heroes then.  She must have had a bit of Lutheran in her, because at one of her talks

Anyway, the over lay of the scene above, at the end, you hear the cardinal speaking what he was writing in his final report.  With an orchestra, the Jesuits could have subdued the whole continent. So it was that the Indians of the Guarani were brought finally to account to the everlasting mercy of God, and to the short-lived mercy of man.

Here is a beautiful recording of that oboe solo played live:

Oh, how I savor the music of an oboe!  SIGH.

Nothing the Jesuits did ... or Guarani ... in demonstrating the community of faith that God created in the jungle could sway the cardinals mind on which way his decision would go.

Altamirano: Why must they fight? Why can't they return to the jungle?

Gabriel: Because this is their home. Did you know this was going to be your decision?

Altamirano: Yes.

Gabriel: Then why did you come, Your Eminence?

Altamirano: To persuade you not to resist the transfer of the mission territories. If the Jesuits resist the Portuguese then the Jesuit order will be expelled from Portugal. And if Portugal, then Spain, France, Italy... who knows? If your order is to survive at all, Father, the missions must here be sacrified.

Altamirano: [a native child talks to Gabriel] What are they saying?

Gabriel: They say they didn't want to go back to the forest because the devil lives there. They want to stay here.

Altamirano: And what did you say?

Gabriel: I said I'd stay with them.

In his report, the cardinal also wrote: Your Holiness, a surgeon to save the body must often hack off a limb. But in truth nothing could prepare me for the beauty and the power of the limb that I had come here to sever.

Sometimes I wonder if the Catholic Church ever looks back at choices like these, where the institution was more important than the Church itself.  In this instance, what was saved by the surgery?

Before the impending invasion of the mission, Mendoza, the converted mercenary, asks Gabriel to release him from his vows so that he can fight with the Guarani against the Spanish and Portuguese troops.  Gabriel is aghast, believing that doing so, that fighting, would me abandoning faith in God.  In the end, Gabriel and Mendoza both die.  One fighting and one leading a procession of Guarani singing and praying.  I do not believe that Gabriel's position—based on the fact that "God is love and therefore battle is not of God—was right.  But I also do not believe that he was wrong to walk in faith through the fire to his death.  Was not each man following his vocation in the end?

I also wonder how many churches today are making the same choice: institution over the Church, expediency over the Gospel.  I wonder, right now, what surgeries are taking place under the guise of saving a body, when, in reality, the surgery is destroying it.

I am Yours, Lord.  Save me!

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