West of Shinar


West of Shinar
by Blindman at the Gate

God said, “Let there be.”
Existence. Life. Awareness.
Good, very good.
A man called Mankind.
A woman called Mother-of-All.
They bore and wore the Imago Deo.
Walked in the Garden with God.

Then something went wrong.
Paradise lost.
Moved to an apartment east of Eden.
They had babies.
Called them Cain and Abel.
Farmer and Shepherd.
But the landed gentry murdered the nomadic herdsman.
The killer lied to God (and himself) about what he had done.
“I didn’t murder my brother — I just killed an enemy. It had to be done.”

Oh, Cain.
A marked man.
An exiled wanderer.
Built the first city.
Founded civilization.
Established the pattern.
Every king and kingdom followed suit.
Pharaoh and Caesar.
Egypt and Rome.
Call it all Babylon.
They had bricks for stone, slime for mortar.
(Masonry and weaponry. More like Mordor.)
The children of Cain, the sons of Nimrod—
They built.
Pyramids and Parthenons.
But always the bodies were hid.
So it was. So it was. So it was.

But those Jews…that seed of Abraham—
They had their poet-prophets.
Who spoke of a Prince of Peace.
Of swords and plowshares.
Lions and lambs.
Of course they were just poems. Weren’t they?

Centuries roll by.
A birth in Bethlehem.
King of the Jews.
Magi seek out.
Herod freaks out.
Babies are killed.
Rachel weeps.

Years roll by.
First the Forerunner, then the Main Attraction.
Good news!
The government of God is at hand!
Not so quick.
The empire strikes back!
Condemned, crucified, killed.
Dead and buried.
Behind Caesar’s seal.
But God overrules!
Raised on the third day!
What does it all mean?
For the first time in forever it’s not a lion, a leopard, a bear, or a wolf—
But a Lamb who sits on the throne!
Worthy is the Lamb!

Redeemed civilization (New Jerusalem) is the City of the Lamb.
No banners or anthems or monuments or memorials—
To hide the bodies of the slain.
For it was the Lamb who was slain…but lives again.
The dragon-accuser still says, “They’re not your brothers.”
(The ancient lie that crouched at Cain’s door so long ago.)
But the dragon-accuser is overcome—
By the blood of the Lamb and the word of testament.
For the faithful would rather die than return to the ways of Cain.
Worthy is the Lamb!

Meanwhile outside the City the fires of war keep burning.
Call it what it is, call it Gehenna, call it Hades, call it hell.
But to those suffering from the suicide of a self-inflicted flame—
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!”
“Change your clothes, change your mind, and come on in!”
The Spirit and the Bride and the Lamb all beckon…and wait.
For her gates will never be shut.


(The artwork is New Jerusalem by Diane Fairfield.)