Behind the Veil

BEHIND THE VEIL
July 26, 2008
        There is an unseen world that lies counter to the one seen, tasted and touched. Though some may make the claim, it is not an imaginary realm – no, it’s as real as our own world. Its boundaries are not fixed and immutable although we’re never quite sure where the edge of one ends and the other begins – like the ocean as it ebbs and flows with the tides. In this realm we can only get a brief fleeting glimpse of what lies there. A vague uneasiness, a faint sound or a sudden chill is what seems to be encountered the most, but the influence that this place has on our own world is nonetheless very real indeed.

     Terms like ‘supernatural’ and ‘the place between heavens’ are sometimes used to try to describe this place. Some believe that this is the dwelling place of what would be thought of as ghosts or poltergeists. The influence it has had on popular culture – even days of long ago when most stories were passed along in a verbal fashion – is not hard to mistake. The stories of the ancient campfire are not really so far removed from the one spun today – even as man has reached to the Moon and Mars in outer space and to the human Genome sequence in our own inner-space, we try to define the world that sits adjacent to ours.

Some are quick to claim alien abductions, lights in the sky or other such things to prove that life exists ‘out there’ beyond our planet. Yet these are the very one’s who can become so wrapped up in the fabric of science that when the subject turns to that which cannot be weighed, measured or tested they scream as if the very thought might somehow infect them with some strange terminal illness.

      Many years ago, the most learned men of science as well as church leaders believed that the world was flat. It was also believed that illnesses caused by bacteria and viruses were a result of someone’s lack of faith. Many insisted on a public trial, really a kangaroo court, for that one person who deduced that the Earth traveled around the Sun and not the other way around. As a result of his genius, Galileo had to renounce his theory of the Earth and Sun’s rotations to please the church and leading scientists of his day. He was still branded a heretic and lived under house arrest for the last years of his life. Has mankind really changed so much that the same thing could not occur today?

 Today we have so much knowledge that we are like the doctor who learned more and more about less and less until he knew everything about nothing. But the other part of that old story also fits our day and age – the good doctor’s learned friend, studied less and less about more and more until he knew nothing about everything. That said to be the difference between a specialist and a generalist. Where are we along this scale?

Even in this era – surrounded by machines and technologies that would have been declared magic or witchcraft just a dozen generations ago – we have become like the two doctors. How can we say for certain that we understand everything about the nature of our world when despite all of the advances in medicine when there are still 30,000 deaths each year from the flu? Or despite the ability to send two payloads of highly advanced technology to examine and explore the Martian terrain, we still have men women and children dying from starvation every hour of every day all over the globe? Not to mention the ravages of the likes of the Avian (bird) flu or the AIDS virus upon our scared psyches or the millions afflicted with as yet unknown illnesses and diseases that not only have no cure are as are yet un-named so little is known about them.

As example of what we didn’t know then but have since learned, consider the term hysterical; “Hysterical (1615) – from L. hystericus “of the womb,” from Gk. hysterikos “of the womb, suffering in the womb,” from hystera “womb”. Originally defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus. Hysterics is 1727; hysteria, abstract noun, formed 1801”. (From The Online Etymology Dictionary) http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=hysterical  

What is now understood to be in some cases simple personality differences was as recently as 200 years ago though of as something that only women suffered from and that it was a result of them being women. In this regard uncovering the world as it really is has helped the treatment of true disorders instead of just lumping them all together under one generic heading and calling it solved.

This knowledge was once beyond the veil.

     Denizens of that world beyond the veil – that we cannot see -might just be enjoying our inability to be the demi-gods we’ve convinced ourselves to be. But if that were indeed true, there would be no deaths on this side of the veil. There would be no children left by their loving parents on the doorsteps of a monastery to insure that the child would not die of malnutrition or be killed due to a cultural bias or social convention. The demons that inhabit that realm might be downright gleeful in what they see us do to one another. Even better if we claim that what we’ve done is in the name of God. We must again learn that murder is murder. ‘Imprisonment’ and ‘torture’ are just that. Not ‘mercy killing’, ‘abortion’, ‘confinement’ and a personal favorite, ‘re-education’. George Orwell knew that left unchecked, we ourselves would become Big Brother. The government alone could not become as depraved as we’ve allowed our own culture to become. ‘Man-boy love’? No way! That’s ‘pedophilia’ and ‘perversion’. ‘Planned Parenthood’? Not on your life nor that of the unborn child’s!

 The veil becomes so thin at times that we cannot as thinking feeling individuals ignore that which we know to be right and just when dictators kill their own citizens, terrorists – home-grown and from abroad -bomb civilian targets and we worry about how they’re treated while in custody. Again the veil grows paper thin and we see that there is indeed such a thing as Evil. Large Capitals – EVIL.

We’ve even taken the words that once meant one thing and bastardized them to the point that the meanings of thoughts written not so very long ago now have an entirely different connotation.

     “Gay” = “Happy”? I don’t know, but the folks who marched in the 4th of July parade recently seemed anything but ‘happy’ as they shoved their lifestyles in everyone’s face. “Homophobia” = “bigoted”? A phobia was/is something you’re afraid of – like spiders or snakes or heights or enclosed spaces. Now we’re saying that if you fear them you must hate them to the point that you want them dead or must consider them to be part of a ‘lesser species’ of mankind?

Where did that line of thinking originate?

Words that once carried an extreme emotional weight not so very long ago are not what they used to be either. The child ‘born out of wedlock’ is one in three kids in your child or grandchild’s classroom – maybe even your own. The adulterer (or adulteress) was not a person you wanted to invite to the family Thanksgiving dinner. Now they host the event.

Not offering judgment here, just food for thought.

Still have an appetite?

     We seem to have lost all capacity to feel any sense of shame for these things.  Anymore there no sense of remorse that we, as a culture, have become the ‘master and commander’ of our personal realm and answer to no one except our own self and selfishness.

That other realm behind the veil must be having a grand celebration here of late. Seems that the ‘Boss’ had all of them working double shifts, but all of their hard work paid off. We’ve gotten fat and lazy. We try to shake off our uneasiness, and write it off to the stress of living in “Our Modern World”. Screwtape should be proud of Wormwood’s accomplishments here in the last 100 years.

Only problem with this rationalization is that every generation in history believed themselves to be the ‘moderns’. Look at the Romans with their Coliseum. Very modern in it’s day. How about the Pharaohs and those grand pyramids at Giza? Wow, such a stunning achievement for that very “modern society”.

     Where is all of this going? Where are we headed as we rush headlong to become the history our children’s children will read about? 

The answer unfortunately to some extent is hidden behind the veil.

     There is only one thing that can cure all of these ills mentioned here; a personal relationship with the one true God. By taking a lifelong walk with the Son of Man – who can and does live within His children through the Holy Spirit. He said that He would be with us to the end of the age. Whether that means the end of the Earth or of ourselves, make no mistake, He left a comforter in the person of the Holy Spirit.

That is the whole issue at stake here.

Today, talk of anything ‘supernatural’ is tossed into the waste bin of popular culture and we end up with “Blair Witch”, “Ghostbusters” and “Ghost Hunters – Season 4”. 

     The true Holy Spirit or Ghost is not at all like that… the Holy Spirit is a real, honest to goodness “super – natural” being. This word, “supernatural”, meaning above that which is the natural world, was first used by those trying to explain just what it was that allowed the Holy Spirit to do His work in the church… true supernatural events that many have written off as being nothing but campfire ghost stories.

In a sense they are – but the campfire is really hellfire and the story’s not yet finished.

We will all know the final act after we’ve passed beyond the veil.

10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV

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CODA – Originally posted on myChurch.com – July 28th 2008.

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