Stadium Saints - D ... Sunday

(Please read the brief Introduction if you are not familiar with the flow of this series.)

Suspended in the perfect place for viewing, the spectator continued to watch. Eyes dulled with sadness, heart torn with distress, yet still there would be no action.

The ubiquitous calendar cycle had returned to Sunday. Inside the Stadium the spectator canvassed a more genteel, less frenetic pace and a significant reduction in commerce.

Traders still traded, hawkers still attempted sales yet much commerce was simply closed. It was unavailable to both the covetous and the profit seeker; after all it was Sunday!

Nevertheless the Sunday busy-ness of the Stadium still provided a relentless opportunity for distraction from the Groom, who still slowly and silently walked forward toward the gates.

Friends of the Groom who had been seated were diligently catching up with Him, although the task was not hard. They did not want to lose sight of Him at all. They saw His movement, so they followed. They had learned well, that it is always wise to watch for and then follow the movement of the Groom.

As they briskly passed their friends, so assiduously examining the words on the cross shaped altar they called out and waved. There was no response. Recognition ignored and their departure unseen. The blood stained words on the cross still too occupying for their friends to also see the movement of the Groom.

All this the spectator continued to witness with a strengthened disappointment and an elevated rage.

Concurrently there was the gentle trickle of the faithful into the mausoleum of worship. The mausoleum's verdant verge simply a contradiction to the anachronistic activity contained within. The richness of the exterior a lie to the poverty of the activity contained within.

The Groom stood on the lush green lawn preceding the mausoleum. The stained glass windows reflected a delightful dance of light to all those inside. The light and warmth that was outside simply appeared as a most pleasantly filtered light on the inside. Yet, it was engaging to the eyes.

As the Groom stood still, it was easy for his pursuing followers to catch up.The Groom will never run ahead of His followers. In fact, He was now waiting for them, hands outstretched and warmly welcoming. Their loving eyes reached back to Him. His heart smiled as wide as His mouth, so too the Spectator's.

While waiting for His friends the Groom's outstretched arm was bumped by latecomers entering the mausoleum. They were neither aware nor engaged by this light collision. The Groom is always in a place that He can be found. This is deliberate.

Standing ahead of them, slightly elevated on the stone steps, Ritual invitingly beckoned, as the Groom's outstretched arms were inattentively brushed aside. Ritual looked particuarly attractive and well-adorned that bright Sunday morning.

Seated inside in their customary places were Avarice, Envy, Ill-will and Resentment, dutifully waiting for Worship. They had saved a seat for the welcoming Ritual. That morning there was a visitor sitting near Resentment. Neither one communicated at all. Instantly they had disliked each other, in fact Jealousy was often alone.

Resplendent in the colour of darkness and under the mantle of Pride the priest arose to begin the worship. The organ piped ancient sounds to desiring ears and the few remaining outside brushed discourteously past the Groom towards the beckoning Ritual. The Groom stood before them in their haste, so deeply longing to meet with these people who claimed they belonged to Him. He held His arms outstretched until they ached as much as His heart. Still, this current pain was absolutely insignificant compared to the pain He had previously endured for them. Risen and glorified yet still resisted! It seemed so unfair, so gross an injustice to His loving mind.

The spectator now is in a raging silence. Their heart too aches to a depth they are weary of feeling.

The Groom had cast His eyes diagonally across the lush green and saw the empty steps. Ritual was now seated with his other well satisfied friends. The Groom moved into the entrance foyer, which really is at the back of the building. This is how the ancients designed them. Those present did not see Him or even knew He was present. They were entirely accustomed to worship in His absence. The priest saw Him but failed to recognise Him, as he flipped to the next page. The ritual must be conducted correctly. After all the Groom had been outside and unsheltered for a long time now - there was nothing in His appearance that would attract the priest to Him. Realistically too, the worshippers had failed to see Him, so why would their shepherd be any different?

Curiously unseen (except by his closest friends) Ritual had moved silently to stand and then kneel beside the priest. Ritual was very self-satisfied, feeling smug, safe and important because of his company. Ritual did see the Groom now and smiled an unobserved (by the congregation) and condescending smile. At this point Ill-will rises from his seat and kneels in solidarity beside Ritual.

The small number assembled all had their backs to the Groom. They still conducted their form of worship, but it was not His form of worship, it couldn't be - because He was not welcome.

Literally unnoticed, as the priest, Ritual and Ill-will kneel with eyes closed, the Groom silently spins around and leaves. Patiently and lovingly His friends wait for His re-appearance, although He is never far from them. They beam when they see Him - He beams inside.

Secretly each of His friends had cherished the dream that He may find other friends in the mausoleum too, who would turn to Him and follow Him out. Naively they had not understood that a mausoleum is the home of the dead.

The spectator had observed all, rage multiplying and response nearing.

Ezekiel Ch 8 - 18/07/09

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