Then the LORD said to Moses, “When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the LORD a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you count them.” – Exodus 30:11-12 (NIV)

*   *   *

Precisely how do we pay a ransom for our life? By living fully!

Upon graduation from college, in my most social-activist period, I wondered how American society could possible afford High Art while so many went hungry and homeless – domestically as well as internationally. Then I began to see everywhere a desire for expressiveness – in every ghetto, ghetto-blasters and even pornography as extensions of some deep prompting. Murals and blues bands, too. To say nothing of infusion of professional sports, to which every ghetto youth seems to aspire. So within a larger context, opera and museums and other Establishment operations came to lose their exclusivity. Mankind needs to reach into the realms of thought and imagination – the spirit; anything less reduces our existence to nothing more than economics and finance, which would only impoverish everyone in the society.

Yes, it would be wonderful if we were all so spiritually deep that pure worship and our daily work of gardening and cutting firewood would be sufficient. (Well, we would still need our stories to give them perspective. And our poems. And our songs and hymns and … ) But from experience, we can see that too often what resulted from enforced exclusion of color and harmonics and imagination from our lives leads, over time, to extinguishing personality – our gifts, as a group, are diminished and rather than loving delight, a bitter boredom sets in – bringing with it, the backbiting profits of Satan. Which brings us full circle!

*   *   *

This is he, who baptizeth his People with the Water of Life and Regeneration, and sealed up his Love to their Souls, by giving them his Flesh to eat, which is the true Bread that cometh down from Heaven. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

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