Sorry for the delay, guys... This is yesterday's post. Today's post will be later...
Around me, there was a stir of air that was not merely a breeze blowing through the garden. Despite serene faces, the sera-ina’s fans were all moving much more vigorously than necessary. On my left, Monnen’s attention was not on Itasas or his talk, for all that his eyes were on him. His attention was on me.
I knew this would happen. Or I should have. Every Aitzas with ambition would try to get close. Thank goodness the Pages of the lip had spread how I had snubbed Ilian. The Fortunate Fifty were not stupid and would pick up that I was very different from my father, but they wouldn’t immediately know how to appeal to me. They hadn’t yet figured out that a faster route to power would be to get elected in their districts and become one of the four hundred forty-six members of Assembly. Monnen was still doing what he had grown up with.
It made me want to shake him… and his friends who would be crowding his heels… now that he wasn’t chasing around after Ky with his tongue hanging out. I checked myself. That wasn’t correct or fair either. He’d been perfectly civil, both to her and to me. I took a deep breath and told the beast growling inside me to shut up and turned my attention back to Itasas. His kind of talk… his kind of teaching… I liked. It was interesting… and merciful. I had had a belly full of justice from 2nd Amitzas. Now I needed a lot more of what Itasas had to say.
“I would never venture to comment on my betters,” he was saying. “But since I can now read the greater Holy Books as well as my own, I have learned a great deal more about what we call the divine. Our Gods are, as far as I am concerned, our great joy. It makes perfect sense to me to be in awe… full of awe or aw-ful when contemplating the divine sparks of all creation.”
“It makes no sense to be afraid of the Ten.” He bounced to his feet and began pacing. “Fearing Gods is like an ant being afraid of being stepped on. The ant’s fear does nothing to change whether it is stepped on… unless it becomes paralyzed and does not run out of the way. In that sense we have more control than we think we do.”
“Gods will do what They choose. Because they love and care for us, their creation, I am certain that like good parents and family… aunts and uncles… who have control over children’s raising… They are careful of us.”
“Rather than being an instrument of control, the Gods tell us over and over again in the Books, that They wish us to be free. We are the elect, the chosen. It does not mean we are the only chosen, but They made us. And They made us with a tremendous capacity for joy.”
He sat down again. “If the Gods are truly what we believe Them to be then They are our parents. What father wishes his children to fear him, to run screaming away from him? No. Any good father rejoices in his children running into his arms. Any mother rejoices to hear her children laughing with joy. If I may be so bold as to reduce the Gods to the mortal level of mere parents, then I contend that They are made glad, when we are. In every Book there are verses where the Ten say they enjoy us. They enjoy creation. They are full of joy far more than They are full of wrath, if one goes on mere mentions.” His smile was full of mischief. “And there are sufficient priests who are thrilled with the idea of sitting and counting the number of times wrath is mentioned versus how many times joy is mentioned in the whole Book of Ten.”
He got a laugh from us all at that and a few people nodding and murmuring in agreement. “My God is a creator, a maker, a singer, a composer, a joker. He is filled with joy more than with grief or rage or wrath. I contend that human beings are created to enjoy life. To enjoy fulfilling work. To enjoy each other. We are much better at hurting one another, very much like children in a play yard. When we are young, we have not yet found out the joy… or the enjoyment of mutual help and assistance, we are filled with joy only for what we have RIGHT NOW! It is only later, when we mature, that we find out that there is far greater joy in doing things like loving, sharing, not hitting; in short doing all the actions of grace that make other people want to be with us. We enjoy being with others rather than being alone.”
“Now I realize I have wandered a great deal in my little talk here and touched on a number of things that I could speak of in much greater detail… and in fact I shall probably take this speech apart and actually make a number of sermons out of it, for my temple, but at the moment I should stop talking and let you talk. Are there any questions or comments you’d like to make about what I’ve said?”