Beanery Online Literary Magazine

March 24, 2009

God’s Message to the World



Joe F. Stierheim


      Dona-el called to the brethren. “Come! Come here! Quickly!”
     The brethren ran up. “What is it?” they asked breathlessly.
     “I’m talking to God!” Dona-el answered.
     “What?” The brethren wondered—had Dona-el gone mad?
     “I don’t see God,” one of the brethren said. “Where is He?”
     “There,” Dona-el said, pointing at the sky. “In that cloud. He spoke to me out of that cloud.”
     The brethren stared at the sky, at the cloud Dona-el indicated. It was just a cloud.
     “I don’t see God,” said the brother. “It looks like just a cloud to me.”
     “God spoke to me,” Dona-el insisted.
     “He didn’t,” another brother said. “You just imagined it.”
     “I did not. He spoke to me. I’ll prove it.” Dona-el inclined his face toward the heavens, looking at the cloud. He raised his arms upward. “God!” he called. “You spoke to me but the brethren do not believe me. Speak to me again so that they can hear and believe.”
     There was silence.
     The brethren laughed. They began to walk away. “You’re a dreamer. God never talked to you!” They continued laughing.
     “Yes, I did!” The voice coming out of the cloud was gentle yet strong, soft but forceful, quiet but deafening. “I did speak to your brother, Dona-el, and now I speak to you.”
     The brethren stared, dumbstruck, as the voice flooded over them and then, as one, they fell on their knees. They prostrated themselves on the ground. Only Dona-el dared to look toward the heavens at the cloud, dared to utter words. His voice quavered but it was loud and clear.
     “Oh, God, You have answered me! Thank You! Thank You for answering. Thank You for showing the brethren that I was telling the truth.”
     The rest of the brethren did not move. Dona-el became emboldened. He was the only one of the brethren who was not afraid to talk to God—the only one who could talk to God.
     “Oh, God,” he said, “I am Your servant. Tell me what I can do to serve You.”
     “I have a message for you—all of you,” the voice from the cloud answered.
     The brethren hesitantly peeked at the cloud. Dona-el raised himself to his knees. He spread his arms wide in supplication. “What can we do, God? Shall we pray to You?   Shall we offer sacrifices? Just tell us what we can do and we shall do it.”
     The voice from the cloud rolled over the brethren. “I want you to love one another. I want you to love all men everywhere!”
     “Your wish is our command, God.” Dona-el raised his arms toward the cloud, his fingers spread wide in a dramatic gesture of praise. “Shall we build You an altar, God? We shall build You an altar of stone.”
     “Just love one another,” the voice from the cloud said. “Just love one another.”
     One of the brethren raised his head and in a loud whisper to Dona-el said, “We could do penance. Ask Him if we should do penance.”
     Dona-el was irritated by the interruption. He was the one who was talking to God. Still—the idea had some merit. “Should we fast, Lord? We could make everyone fast for as long as you want.”
     “Just love one another,” the voice from the cloud repeated.
     “How about a feast?” The suggestion came from another brother who was bold enough to sit back on his haunches and talk directly to Dona-el.
     “We could set aside a day for a feast,” Dona-el proclaimed, relaying the idea to the cloud. “We could have a fatted calf—music—singing. We could build an altar and have a feast on the same day every year.”
     “Listen to me! Just love one another!” It sounded as if a note of frustration was creeping into the voice coming from the cloud
     “Not just an altar.” All of the brethren began to come up with ideas. “A building! A real building.”
     “A nice one, with columns and arches and everything.”
     “How about a dome? Domes would be really good.”
     “Just—love—everyone!” Frustration was apparent in the voice coming from the cloud.
     “We could use marble.”
     “How about gold?”
     “Gold! Nothing but the best! Silver, too!”
     Dona-el strode to a small knoll. He stood commandingly on the mound, face lifted toward the cloud, while yet maintaining a fitting air of reverence and adoration. “We shall build You a grand house of worship, God. I shall see to it myself. It shall be of the finest craftsmanship and of the finest materials and it shall come to be known throughout the world and all who behold it shall be overwhelmed by its glory and they shall know Your glory and they shall fall down as we do and worship You.
     A huge sigh came from the cloud and then the voice sounded one last time. “You guys! OK. Do what you want. You’re going to do that anyway.” Then the cloud began to shiver and shake and boil and with one great poof of steam it flashed and disappeared.
For a long moment the brethren stared at the place where the cloud had been.
     “Boy, that was something!” one commented.
     “A miracle!” said Dona-el with authority.
     “Let’s tell everybody,” another said.
     “Yes, we must,” said Dona-el. “We must spread the word and we must begin to plan the grand house of worship we promised God.” With a flourish he strode off the knoll toward the village. The brethren scurried to keep pace with him. “I have much to do. It is a great responsibility building a house of worship for God,” Dona-el announced.
     “Why is it your responsibility?” one of the brothers asked.
     “Well, why not? Somebody has to take the responsibility and after all God spoke to me.”
     “God said the message was for all of us,” another brother reminded.
     “He spoke to me first,” reasoned Dona-el. “It’s only logical to assume that He expected me to take charge.”
     “He said everyone,” a voice from the middle of the assemblage repeated.
     “Do you think he meant everyone?” another voice asked. “I mean, are we supposed to tell everyone in the whole world? Are we supposed to love everyone?”
     “That’s what He said,” another brother replied.
     “I don’t think He could’ve meant everyone,” another commented. “He couldn’t have. Especially not those guys from across the lake. They’re a bunch of clods.”
     The conversation was quite rapidly getting off the subject and too much concerned with inconsequential details. It was time for Dona-el to retake authority. “We shall start immediately on work for the house of worship. I have in mind a site down at the bend in the river. With the river right at hand we could have baptisms and all that sort of thing. We could build a whole complex—call it Miracle Cloud City. People will come from everywhere. It’s expensive property but we can take up a collection to buy it. We’ll get everyone to donate.”
     “Doesn’t your cousin own that property, Dona-el?”
     “So what difference does that make? It’s fine property. A great location!”
     The voices faded as the group of brethren disappeared over the hill.



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1 Comment »

  1. […] God’s Message to the World […]

    Pingback by Spring Resurrection. Easter Resurrection. | CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS — April 20, 2014 @ 3:01 am | Reply

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