March 31, 2006

The Light-Bearers

After age upon age, he crawled back from hell to heaven and prostrated himself before the throne and asked, “Lord, when can you forgive me? I don’t ask to be allowed back here, to be your angel of light again. I’ll go back happily if I just know I’m forgiven.”

The Lord pondered for a long time. He had been waiting for this from the beginning. It was the crossroads of the whole journey. If he welcomed back this rebel, this prodigal son, there would be joy throughout heaven, all differences would be unified, the light would be unbearable to human eyes. The whole earthly show would have to close. That kind of existence would be over, and some new kind would have to be created.

But that was the trouble: he would miss this world he’d made. All those half-lit humans stumbling against each other, searching in the dark for the road to him, missing it by miles or inches, and in the process stirring their poor clay into such shapes, such unexpected, unprecedented works. What would they do next? He wanted to see all the acts of their play, and only the first one or two had been staged yet. Would it be right to send the rebel back just to keep that going?

Of course there was no question of sending him back forgiven. It would not only be unjust, it would turn the whole thing into a charade.

In a flash the idea came: “I will forgive you, yes, if you will forgive me.”

The rebel staggered back in terror. “I, forgive you? No, how can I -- how can you ask one of your creatures -- “

“Who else deserves to forgive me? Look at what I’ve done to them. Just to have made them in the first place, loaded down with death, and all the pain that comes from fearing it. You are the only one who can speak for them. Of all my creatures, only you and they know what it is to be cast away from me. Do it, and then go back and do what you can with them.”

Lucifer brought himself full upright and took a deep breath. “Lord, I forgive you, we all forgive you.”

On Earth, a flash of new light crossed the sky, for less time than anything else had ever taken, and people looked up and asked, “Did you see that? Was there something or not?”

The two reunited forces waited to see what would happen.