No Easy Answers | Sojourners

No Easy Answers

I took the scroll from the angel's hand and ate it.
It was honey sweet in my mouth, but when I swallowed,
my stomach turned sour.

-- Revelation 10:10

Let's take the episode with a kind of rueful literalness, the times being evil. Conceivably, things went like this:

Myself: What, eat a scroll? But why, what's the message?

Angel: Say, for starters, Matthew chapters 5 to 8, especially that chewiest, least digestible bit of all, the one that sticks in the throat, gags, positively will not go down. The one about loving enemies.

M.: Sweet on the tongue, you said?

A.: Well, you know ourselves. Pacifists, but only between wars. Like being vegetarians, but only between meals. All that sweet talk, all those infant-formula sermons. Then all that cozening up to money and the power boys. Very little remembering, so much forgetting. No context. Now, it's said, we have guns and butter, guns melting into butter! Marines as angels of mercy! Smart bombs on providential missions!

But what about the Word, the Word? It grows weightless, a wafer on the tongue. It melts into white spit. Never reaches the gut, the heart, the bloodstream.

M.: Sour in the stomach, you say. What an image: Someone crouching in a corner, half-mad maybe, chewing away at an inky foolscap.

A.: A touch of madness in a mad time. Try it. It might drive you -- sane.

M.: Sanity maybe, catastrophe for sure. Contra naturam, that diet of yours. Belching. Vomiting even.

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