Clarence Interviews Michael Bray (Anno Domini 3024)
28 January, 2014
After passing his first millennium in heaven Bray meets Clarence. But first, a little background for the conversation is offered. The faltering western world of the early twenty-first century imploded upon its own cultural corruption as the nations completed their apostasy from the Christ whom they had worshiped and whose laws they had formerly honored. Christian civilization – His Kingdom come – blossomed in new places over the next millennium – in China, India, and predominantly the African continent.
Angel: Well, well, we finally meet. I am so glad to welcome you and I am sure you are happy to be here! How were your first thousand years?
Michael: The saying is certainly true: “Time is no more.” Once you get here, eternity is quite, well, “timeless”- beyond the ecstasy that we imagined in the Old World. The best in that World’s music, art, or drugs never came close, and I hardly notice the years go by except for taking an occasional look back into it. Whenever I take a peek at the Old World I am reminded of the Quest, the Battle. And that Time, though it is no more for us, still draws my attention and arouses – I don’t know what to call it but – an anxiety.
Angel: Well, that is strange, indeed, but quite understandable, especially from our vantage point. We angels are deployed, as you know, by the Mighty One to participate in The Fight that continues until the Great Consummation, which the Enlightened on earth call Judgment Day. Your affections, as with all postmortals, however, are directed elsewhere – here. You are engaged in everlasting learning of the things of the heavens and the nature of the Mighty One. And yet, you speak of an “anxiety” regarding things of the Old World. I have heard of such a condition among postmortals, but have not had occasion to meet one who actually experienced it. Is it fair to say that you undergo a kind of . . . distraction?
Michael: Fair enough. Strangely, for all the wonder and peace, there is one thing missing and – I dare say – somewhat missed.
Angel: What in heaven could that be?
Michael: Well, Conflict. The Fight!
Angel: And? How is that something to be missed?
Michael: Certainly for us the Fight, I realize, is over. I did not mean that I feel any lack. All is quite copacetic here: hitherto unseen sights; unheard songs; constantly some new ethereal wonder to discover and probe. Such sights and sounds do stimulate the spirit. We are, moreover, ever schooled in and occupied by the learning of all manner of wondrous knowledge; knowledge of every order – of creatures and their parts, of the winds and atmosphere, of the planets, and of the seas – not to mention things pneumatic. But the senses, absent the resurrected body, cannot apprehend the sublimity of such knowledge. It is through the body that one feels particula sensations when there is joy and excitement and anticipation. Ecstasy is enhanced through the body’s wonderful nerves and other sensors. We can only imagine what it will be like at the Final Resurrection when we get our bodies back, glorified and incorruptible.
Angel: Well, we wouldn’t know about that. I guess with our incorruptibility we had to suffer a trade-off. You humans got all the feeling, but the existential burden was just too much for you. You just had to taste that fruit!
Michael: Yes, the arrangement of those billions of neurons was yet quite another feat of the Mighty One and His demiurge helpers. The sensory powers of our kind contrast with yours. Human senses are – well – otherworldly, as we used to say. (It does seem a strange term to use on “this side.”)
Angel: So, all is well with your soul, minus your issues concerning incorporeality?
Michael: Well, generally so. Of course we haven’t even begun to probe all the wonders of this new environment. There is always something new! This place, with the plethora of exalted beings in the company of the Mighty One, along with His abiding Presence constantly draw and fill our spirits with joy and love and peace. It continues to exceed our ever expanding imaginations!
Angel: Okay, but still, a body at the Final Resurrection would be an “upgrade” in your experience here – a general improvement to an already sublime, ecstatic, and beatific existence. Right?
Michael: Yeah! And I am hoping that one more thing comes from the Final Resurrection.
Angel: And what is that?
Michael: Well, I hope the new body and all that it brings will utterly engage me in something that fills a certain – uh, well, a “void.” That is the best way I can put it.
Angel: What void could you possibly be referring to? That which is still to be learned, perhaps? Some speak of “concrete” versus “abstract” knowledge. Both we as well as you postmortals possess the abstract, the metaphysical virtues in all their fullness. You know Truth and Justice and you experience Righteousness and Mercy and Life. But the “concrete” knowledge of those things accessed by bodily senses – your chief philosophers in Time spoke of “existential” knowledge – shall be yours and never ours. At the Final Resurrection, you will enjoy such extraordinary knowledge as may be fully realized only by a perfect body. The two apparati will come together for you as the body encounters all the fullness of God phenomenologically. This is an aspect of resurrection life that we angels will not know. You are blessed in your redeemed humanity, Michael. Indeed, I could be jealous were I not sinless!
Michael: Wow, Clarence. I have gained an understanding of these things since finishing my Course, of course, but you put you put the matters so intelligibly. And I have to say again that you were quite dumbed down in that Jimmy Stewart movie. You are, to be sure, a fascinating fellow, eloquent as well as a insightful! They did a fine job in that screen play getting the main points across – eleemosynary works, as you well know, are revealed in the God-Writings to be the kind which are administered through the agency of angels along with their ambassadorial deployments – however, the lack of any reference to the role of angels as warriors for the Mighty One was a stark omission in that film as with most of the literature of the Old World.
Angel: Yes, our troops have filled that role in human affairs since the Fall when some of us were sent to guard the Life Tree and prevent humans from feeding upon it. Even as recorded in the Writings, warrior angels have been engaged in some rather brutal deeds. Two were commissioned to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. A millennium later, the “Angel of the Lord” went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians,” as the God-Writings say, inducing Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, to return home to Nineveh. I rather preferred my role as the guardian angel jumping into the cold water to save George Bailey. It is much more popular with the human cases I have to deal with. You know everyone likes to be liked. And I prefer that as well to being feared. And yet, I do realize that it is necessary to fear that which is Holy and Good, even as we Fear and Love the Mighty One. You cannot truly love Good if you do not hate Evil. You cannot love what is Right and Holy if you do not hate that which is Wrong and Perverted.
Michael: Certainly, Clarence, and that brings us back to my subject: The Battle. It was our primary and daily occupation. We were always in a struggle and it was that contest which set that age apart from this one. We contended for Truth and Justice. We preached the Word in the face of opposition and pleaded the cause of widows and orphans. Fighting characterized our mortal life then, but now our life is without conflict. Our attention is given to exploration and probing the depths and wonders and love of the Mighty One and . . .
Angel: And yet there are no regrets, no sorrows, no lamentations. With us you breathe in His beatific goodness and life even as we feed and learn all the more – endlessly. A spirit is indeed aroused and motivated, but we can only imagine what it will be like for you postmortals when you get your bodies back on Resurrection Day.
Michael: You have spoken to the point. We probe still with our minds in quizzical pursuit of understanding and yet our purified and exalted station allows us to examine and know the Truth without suffering sorrow or regret. How free and painless we are in our intellectual growth, and how good and provident is our Mighty One. Mighty, indeed, is He in love as in all things good and holy.
Angel: Well, I am flattered that you think I have spoken to the point, but have I answered your questions to your satisfaction?
Michael: Well, I cannot deny that I do abide with a strange sentiment. I cannot call it regret or lamentation. As we know, every pertinent recollection of people and events of the Old World which might produce such a disparaging sensation is “blocked” by overwhelming joy from His great Provision for us. Gratitude swallows anything that might urge the smallest sorrow or the slightest yearning.
Angel: Well, give me some specifics, if you would, regarding this “strange sentiment.” What – if I may be so bold – are the matters troubling your spirit? It seems, indeed, that you are quite overcome by such a “slight yearning.” Better, perhaps, to ask in a more “earthy” way: “What’s eating you?”
Michael: Well, I think often of those who remain back there. I don’t know why my thoughts go toward that World. I have plenty here to do and I know that there are some of your associates who are enlisted in full-time service of the Mighty One in behalf of those who are being rescued. And I know it is not the employment of postmortals to attend to the Course of the Redeemed. It is not our vocation neither to mind nor to meddle therein.
Angel: True enough. So explain. You have your place here with all the beatific splendor and the everlasting, increasing knowledge and joy in the Mighty One who is not only Mighty to save – as He has so demonstrated – but Mighty to love and care for us. And yet you say you are missing what? The Fight?
Michael: When I do think of those yet in the Old World, I think of what they have that we have here as well. It is much the same. They have Peace and Joy and Love and Zeal and Hope as we have here with the exception of Hope. We only lack Hope as we are here already. We have arrived at the place hoped for so we hope no more. Indeed our Peace and Joy is fulfilled.
Angel: Right! You lack no good thing. All is complete. You are delivered from condemnation and corruption. You are eternally secured by the Might One who is mighty to save! Here, here!
Michael: Yes. And what peace there is in knowing that one belongs to Him forever! Praise is unhindered by a world in rebellion against its Creator.
Angel: So what, again, is this “void” that is “eating you”? The “Fight!” you say.
Michael: Well, it is clear that the Fight is extensive in its reach into all areas of human endeavor. It begins with the soul but it proceeds to action, to the bringing of all things into submission. All our deeds and all laws and all standards are brought to His feet. He reigns and that majesty subsumes all things, all minds and all institutions and all governments. All is brought under His lordship.
Angel: Yes and that is evident. When the seed is first planted into the soil of human hearts and institutions it grows and spreads over all of culture and government. Its roots and branches penetrate and extend over all things.
Michael: But the story doesn’t end there with everyone living happily ever after.
Angel: No. When the tree dies for lack of watering and pruning and from the disease of false teaching, it decays and is overgrown with wild vines and replaced by weeds. So you have seen as you have looked down into your Old World and glanced at the past millennium. Your country and all that was the Christian “West” began to wither under the influence of the so-called Enlightenment. The Law was rejected and the Tree of the Kingdom was replaced with bad seed of Lawlessness which produced the weed of “modernism.” But this weed could not sustain the post-Christian world. The freedom it had known under the Light of the Law was lost in the Darkness of Lawlessness. And this Lawless was accepted under the delusion that liberty was being advanced!
Michael: Yes, the West fell into chaos, poverty and misery, but as the Mighty One is faithful to the ancient covenant with Man since Noah, the Light shone in new places where the Message had been planted and watered for many generations. In the Third Millennium the Kingdom was manifestly established in Africa, China, and India. The seeds were planted in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in many nations there and they began to grow into the establishment of Christian Civilization – His will done on earth.
Angel: Yes, Precepts of the Faith were established there as the foundation for the social and political orders of a large part of the far Eastern Hemisphere. So, the Sons of Adam learn over and over the folly of Lawlessness on the one hand and the Goodness of God and his Statutes on the other. Such is the purpose of History, that all ways apart from that of the Mighty One may be explored and found wanting.
Michael: Yes, we seem a bit slow. We must, evidently, explore every imaginable alternative to the Straight and Narrow.
Angel: Right. Human folly would be funny if it weren’t so pathetically tragic. So what is it, again, that you miss? Something you don’t like about it up here? No sin. No corruption. No death. No misery. Something you miss in that?
Michael: There is a certain sentiment; it almost approaches a lamentation. It is a collection of thoughts about things that could have been. Deeds that could have – ought to have – been done.
Angel: Those might be endless if one gave the theme it a bit of time for contemplation.
Michael: I don’t mean little things: words here or there, some good to have been spoken or others better to have been held back. I mean deeds. Even as the Motto of Maryland, the state where I spent more years than anywhere in the World, declares, Fatti Maschii Parole Femine. I could have been more manly” so to speak in my deeds and less about talk.
Angel: Indeed, it is the Word and the preaching of it which has eternal power, the strength to transform the very spirits of men. There is nothing “womanly” about words. And you certainly know by now that such Italian expressions need the light of the Mighty One’s Word for clarification.
Michael: You know as well as I that works are the proper expression of obedience to the Word. Deeds! They do speak louder than words. Labor Omnia Vinci, even as the ancient sages declared. Even the blind recognize this truth. Work wins it all when it comes down to it. Our Rescuer worked for our salvation and he was pleased to do so. We were, in fact, ransomed by that priceless Blood, but we were not bought for no end. We had callings, purposes; we were fit for specified tasks and endowed with gifts from heaven for the achievement of the same.
Angel: Yes, and you well understand that Truth. Did you not blow up the Houses of Hell? Did you not rescue the innocents from death? How we cheered! The heavens rang with jubilation! Those ministering spirits assigned to the concerns of the womb children were especially ecstatic, sending forth the first cries of celebration which then spread to the rest of the heavens.
Michael: The record stands. Our generation abandoned the Law. And while those “I could haves” have been blotted out along with all sins of omission; and while guilt has been washed from all who have entered here, there is something about the Fight – whatever shape it takes, physical or metaphysical – which energizes and satisfies those engaged in the war of the World. It must be carried on. The battle must be engaged. That is the feature which defines Time for those abiding in that realm. His own were born for battle. Once they have passed through that Time – that opportunity, it will never come again.
Angel: Understood. I get it, already. But even still, you were a “top dog”! You were one of those, as I say, who destroyed the Hell Houses! What are you whining about? – if I may be so earthy in my assessment here of your concern. Like a sheep, you did the Master’s bidding, going in and out of pasture as He guided you, taking up the task before you like a true carpe diem kind of disciple. You blew – I say – those damned Hell Houses away! How we rejoiced here in heaven! What a show it was for us up here! The Lord’s Army Angels were especially entertained. I remember it well! As a faithful prophet, you took up the task of the moment and did the bidding of the Spirit.
Michael: Thank you, Clarence, but you must also recall something. I was living at a time when the rate of Womb-Child Murder in my country was 1.5 million each year in Annis Domini 1980s. We had visual evidence and electronic communication which made the truth evident. Many eyes were opened and the truth was proclaimed vigorously in what became known as the Rescue Movement. People repented of evil and spared their children. Others continued that turn into the New Life and were baptized or they returned to the Folds from which they had strayed. And those who passed into this Side took frequent curious glimpses into that World until the Great Judgment came upon that nation bringing that epoch to its close in the mid twenty-first century. But so much more could have been done during my term in the World. Indeed, I did so little in view of all that I knew and the opportunities the Mighty One provided. Indeed, I am all the more blameworthy for failing to do more of that which I knew to be right and good. The Fight could have been as big as those with a zeal for the Truth wanted to make it.
Angel: Of course there is always more that could have been done. That goes without saying! What is your point? Take a quick look at the record. Seven Hell Houses were destroyed in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Delaware for which deeds the God Deniers credited you and some of your disciples. It was a year of jubilation in the heavens as men were rising against the tide the Anti-Christ accession which had followed the national rejection of the Mighty One and His Law. 1984 was a very good year.
Michael: It was, indeed, exhilarating. There is a certain pleasure found in the action of destroying the instruments of innocent bloodshed. A cool million in 1984 American dollars was divested from the abortion industry in those seven explosive events.
Angel: Yes, there was much rejoicing in heaven, especially among the angels assigned to those womb children. I can testify to that. Indeed the hosts of heaven were rejoicing in many places in what was America that year: viz., in Texas, Georgia, and California as you lit them up like an offering to the Mighty One. And He was happy to receive it. You and your fellow servants delivered His precious children from Satanic murder. Let us speak here their precious names: Thomas Spinks and Kenneth Shields. There were other places that year where deliverance was brought unto the innocents by Matthew Goldsby, James Simmons, Kathryn Simmons, and Kay Wiggins in Florida. Oh, there were many more whose names have brought joy and cheers into the archways of the heavens.
The next year you were not as prolific, but salvation to the innocents was brought to jurisdictions known as New York, North Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Ohio, and California through the agency of John Brockhoeft, Dennis Malvasi, Carl Cenera, Frank Wright, Jr., and Donald C. Pryor.
Michael: A couple dozen Hell Houses among the thousands in what was known as America where I lived on earth is not much. So much more could have been done! I, alone, might have demolished a couple hundred rather than a couple dozen.
Angel: Well, of course! You defective mortals never meet the highest standard. There is always a little more that could be done regarding any deed. And this is the very point regarding the work of the Mighty One. He has accounted for all of your transgressions as well as your sins of omission. All of it!
Michael: I realize that point. But you are missing my point. I was not concerned about being delivered from the Mighty One’s wrath. I understood His love enough that I rested in the confidence that I was His forever. And this I knew while in the Old World by means of His Word and His Spirit all confirmed in the assurance experienced through the Community of Saints. It was not His love with which I concerned myself in the World. It was the opportunity to bring Him glory, the glory that was His, and of which He was and is worthy. I sought to magnify His glory through my life and through His own Body, the Church. There was much to be done and much left undone.
It was grand purpose. It was a Good Fight to fight. And I miss it.