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The Lord's supper

Source: Matthew 18:20


As your nature is generous, give generously of yourself; and let a double measure of spirit descend upon my light and upon my shadow.

Flowing forward over the floor of the nave, the Jabbok River branched to the right just in front of the choir stalls and continued toward the south transept, which could be reached by means of a ford. Beyond the choir stalls and over the apse rose Mahanaim, a low hill where there seemed to be an encampment and where lighted shadows moved.

Approaching the ford, I saw a man seated on the other side. I crossed the ford to reach him. I saw that he was writing with his finger on the cathedral floor. It was written, "The one who gives to those who ask lends to God. And my Father honours debts with gratitude and recognition."

As I was wondering how God could imagine owing anyone anything, the man added, aloud, "Keep awake: God is strong, and silent."

At that moment I realized that a ceremony had begun and that those at the top of the hill were begining to come down toward us. Their descent illuminated the Gothic arches like a silvery sky, so that the cathedral pillars seem to be supporting infinite space.

Indicating the lighted beings who were coming down toward us, my host said, "These are my people. Their hips are out of joint."
And indeed I saw that each of them limped. I asked why they were lame, and my host answered, "The hand of God was heavy upon them."

I looked toward the altar and saw the officiating priest raise the bread overhead and utter the words invoking the work of the Spirit. Behind me, I noticed the rumbling rising torrent. Closing my eyes to see it better - and wondering how that could be - I realized in looking inward that my spirit was void. Within me there seemed to be nothing at all; only this cathedral existed for certain.

Keeping my eyes closed, I prayed, "Let there be light." And I saw God's light be light, and I saw how warm and welcoming the light was. Now the nave was swathed in a luminous mist that expanded upward. Opening my eyes and looking toward the ford, I saw that the water had overflowed its banks, flooding both the ambulatory upstream and the side aisles downstream. The message engraved on the floor was visible no longer, as if debt itself had been wiped out.

My host took me by the hand; it was a strange feeling, as if I had suddenly grown larger. He guided me toward the altar, where the lighted beings had already arrived, blending their brilliance with the light that had just been created and that had its source within itself. Already, the water covered my feet. Then he let go of my hand, took the unleavened bread from the altar and broke it. The water kept rising.

My host dipped a piece of bread in the wine and offered it to me. As I took it, my heart was stung with pain by something sharp, as if a thorn from his crown had pierced it. I had the impression that the blood coming out of this wound was his, and that this blood was like molten rock. Startled, for a moment I attempted to flee, but he had taken my hand again and was holding it firmly. Then, at once and by one being, the water invaded the entire building. An unexpected alchemy blended and bonded the water with the light and the air, and this wondrous substance overflowed skyward. It was possible to breathe this light-filled water, and I had the impression that, if I swam long enough, I could reach the vault of heaven.

Around us swirled the lighted beings of Mahanaim.

I brought the bread to my lips. As I swallowed it, something dark formed at the top of my head. This darkness spread swiftly, separating me from light of all kinds: in a second, everything around me turned to black. The blackness was so dense that I could no longer see even my own hands, but I felt my host firmly holding one of them. All my senses were plunged into darkness; only that hand was like an island.

Objects were bare; the meaning the light gave them had vanished. Soon the whole universe would dissolve into nothingness, first ceasing to exist, then never having been. In this infinite void with no beginning or edges or ending, someone was holding my hand. Firmly.

All the trust a human heart can feel, I felt. In that trust was all my fragility, and all my hope. That hand was my eyes, my path and the promise of things to come. I was no more than a heart beating in his hand. If I ever let go of that hand, I would be irretrievably lost. I was wretched; I was not alone.

Then to my right there was a loud noise; at the same time daylight began to flood my eyes. A large stone that had been rolled closed was opening, violently letting in light. It took some time for my eyes to adjust. My host had disappeared. In front of me was something like a long table, its base seemingly cut from the rock. On one side of the table lay a carefully folded cloth; on the other side, a long strip of fabric, laid flat. I came out of the sepulcher. Before me the nave opened up. I moved toward the apse. I, too, decided to climb up to Mahanaim.