Disciple of Thecla
12/18/13 at 09:40 AM 0 Comments

Story: Graffiti in Heaven

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Photo: Flickr/Damian Gadal - Creative Commons

Note: for the holiday season, I have posted this little story for everyone to enjoy. I hope yall enjoy it!

....

Michael the Archangel entered the office of Gabriel, trumpet-bearer and second-in-command of Heaven. God always reigns first. Gabriel has authority over the secondary matters “Hey, Gabriel, did you know that Baruchiel has been painting graffiti on all the walls? And still painting right now.”

“Baruchiel? Graffiti?”

“Yes, come and look.”

Gabriel followed Michael to a certain wall where Baruchiel painted busily.

Michael told him, “Baruchiel has been inscribing this ever since he returned from delivering the message to those shepherds. I’ve never seen anyone so obsessed with graffiti before.”

“I see nothing wrong with this. A good message.” Smiling, Gabriel walked off back to his office.

“Gabriel! What about the graffiti itself? Should we have graffiti in Heaven?”

#

All the other inhabitants of Heaven considered Baruchiel’s graffiti a nuisance precisely because it was graffiti. Angels, archangels, cherubim, and seraphim would awaken to find the walls of their abodes covered with a singular phrase written in bright multi-colored paints that they never chose for their dwelling. If they went to watch the warrior angels wrestle, they passed by graffiti. If they went to listen to seraphim compose new songs, they passed by graffiti. If they wanted to play a sports game, the graffiti easily distracted the contestants.

And because this problem was a matter of second or lesser importance, all their complaints went to Gabriel. Gabriel shuffled their complaints to the side and passively ignored them. Eventually, Jegudiel marched into the office of the trumpet-bearer: “Have you heard all of Heaven demanding that you command Baruchiel to stop and remove the graffiti?”

“Baruchiel’s writings are perfectly moral and suitable for Heaven. Nothing wrong with what he writes.”

“Have you ordered that the graffiti remains?”

“I have made no command concerning it. Neither for nor against.”

“And do you approve of the repeated defacing of personal and public property?”

Gabriel flinched. Poor Baruchiel! Gabriel did not want to disturb the joyous angel’s excitement over his message, even though the graffiti - simply by being graffiti - annoyed and irritated all the others.

Jegudiel saw Gabriel’s hesitation and spoke sternly, “Well, keep in mind how we disdain cleaning and repainting our own homes because of an uninvited angel’s unwanted self-appointed decorations. This hesitation of yours shows no love to us. If this only a matter of immoral speech, God would intervene and handle the problem. However, other laws and regulations remain necessary for us to have order and harmony. This a problem that you must resolve.”

Gabriel felt sorrowful at Jegudiel’s harsh tone, even though the warrior angel spoke a necessary truth. After work, he joined his friend Phanuel, and the two walked together toward their own dwellings. Gabriel admitted to Phanuel: “I do feel bad for everyone…”

“Yes…” Phanuel agreed, “All of us now spend more time cleaning than having fun…”

“But there nothing wrong with Baruchiel’s message, and this a message that God and I gave to him.”

“But not through graffiti. And Baruchiel delivered the message to the shepherds months ago. The chosen family has already moved south. All in Heaven loves the message that Baruchiel has delivered to the shepherds. All of us rejoiced when we heard the message. The method of the current delivery remains the problem. No one complains about the content of the graffiti - only that the graffiti covers personal and public property. Should these markings remain all over people's houses? If so, could only Baruchiel graffiti, or can anyone else? All of Heaven have questions that only you must answer and problems that only you must resolve.”

#

Gabriel knew he needed to speak with Baruchiel and resolve the problem. The next day, he attempted to do this. Upon seeing Baruchiel so busy in his delight at having this message, Gabriel lost his resolve to resolve the matter. Instead he sent Baruchiel down to Earth to observe and bring a report about the Child.

When Michael heard of Baruchiel’s new mission to Earth, Michael pleaded with Gabriel, “Please, no more shepherds.”

“No more shepherds,” agreed the trumpet-bearer.

While Baruchiel had been off on his assignment, the entire host of Heaven engaged in a massive clean-up effort to remove the graffiti. Later, Baruchiel returned with the report: “Crawling already!”

“Wonderful!”

“I bent down to see Him close-up, and He looked up at me. He smiled with this wide, happy grin. And His eyes so bright! I think He knows me!”

“Splendid! I would like to visit Him.”

#

Baruchiel quickly resumed his graffiti. Once in his painting, the blessed angel did not realize he had run out of wall until he began painting the face of another angel - now rather angry - through the open window. The angry angel grabbed hold of the ladder supporting Baruchiel and pushed it backward.

Baruchiel strengthened his grip on the handles and smiled very pleasantly on his way to the floor. This would be merely a temporary discomfort in the pursuit of what he loved. Nothing would deter him.

#

When Gabriel returned from visiting the Child - so adorable! So brilliant! So wonderful! - the seraph Hadarmiel urged him toward a certain wall. “Do you see this? Now, secular graffiti!”

A poem about the sun through the clouds.

“Who wrote this?” asked Gabriel.

“I know not. Perhaps Uriel or one of his friends. Perhaps a cherub.”

Now, Gabriel started to see that graffiti might become a problem. The prolonged presence of Baruchiel’s graffiti had presented the problem of a slippery slope for others’ own graffiti. In the meantime, he still lingered and procrastinated over ordering Baruchiel to stop. More problems arose. Two cherubim had taken it upon themselves to prevent anyone else from painting. The two stationed themselves just outside the paint house.

Gabriel went there to resolve the problem cherubim. “God has given us an infinite supply of paints for our amusement whenever we wish to paint.” Gabriel then commanded the two cherubim to leave their self-assigned posts. The two obeyed. Gabriel returned to his office. Four more cherubim soon took their places to prevent anyone else from entering.

#

To halt the graffiti temporarily, Gabriel sent Baruchiel down again to observe and report on the Child. “Already trying to walk!” came the report. Gabriel felt very pleased to hear that. “But every time He falls down, His mother always picks him up and carries Him!”

Later that evening, Gabriel told his friend Phanuel, “Hm, I should send someone down to tell His mother not to carry Him whenever He wants to walk. He needs to learn how to carry His own weight first before He can carry anyone else.”

Phanuel inquired, “Gabriel, do you actually want to micromanage the Child’s upbringing? He is her firstborn… and God did choose her, so let Mary handle the smaller details. Too many angelic visits might make her anxious and nervous, or even terrified of the small things.”

“This the only opportunity I have! No other heavenly creature has the opportunity to be involved in the childhood of God. And God has only one childhood. I shall make the most of it.”

“Yes, and speaking of Child… and of graffiti…. The Child was born almost a year ago now. Just as God has given Mary authority over the small details, you have authority over the smaller things of Heaven.”

#

Meanwhile, cherubim continued to replace the ones who Gabriel dismissed. Soon, no one expected Gabriel to resolve the problem cherubim. Since he refused to resolve the problem of the graffiti, he might not resolve the problem cherubim. Cherubim and warrior angels decided to join together to tackle the graffiti problem themselves.

The next day, Gabriel stood up from his office chair, stretched, and decided to look out the window. A horde of warrior angels approached one of the many lakes within Heaven. The first thing he noticed that that their swords dripped red.

Swords should not drip red in Heaven.

These swords dripped red.

Startled, Gabriel rushed out to meet them. At the lake, the haggard and exhausted warrior angels and cherubim proceeded to wash their swords. From their expressions, they seemed as though they had emerged from a battle.

“Michael! Michael, explain the meaning of this.” Gabriel noticed that the swords also dripped blue, green, and yellow. Then, he realized that colors had splashed over the bodies and faces of many warrior angels there.

Michael looked up from the lake. The military commander surveyed his soldiers. Then, he looked again at Gabriel. “There has been an incident in the paint house.”

Gabriel stood agape.

“Many paints had been spilled… Truly, God gave us an infinite supply…”

Gabriel stared and waited.

“I… I don’t want to talk about it anymore…”

#

After that incident, Gabriel finally began to strengthen his resolve to end the graffiti problem. Before he fully strengthened himself, God pressured him into ending it and thus ended the archangel’s procrastination.

Concerning the progress of the Child and events on Earth, God called all the Heavenly habitants together and informed them of all the important things He wanted them to know and reminded them of many other important things. Then, He concluded with: “Now, if any here have questions or statements, state them now.” God already knew any statements or questions they had. The heavenly habitants would feel better voicing their own opinions or inquiries.

All the angels, archangels, cherubim, and seraphim cried out: “The graffiti! Please, do something about the graffiti!”

Gabriel glared at the audience. How dare they disturb God with a trivial matter!

God spoke sternly, “As everyone here knows, I have given authority to Gabriel concerning the lesser matters of Heaven. Gabriel has proven himself derelict and slothful in making his decision. If Gabriel does not make a decide within the next seven days, then I will appoint someone else who will make the decision.”

Gabriel jerked back. Of all things under Heaven, what could that mean?

#

Bewildered, Gabriel spoke with Michael and Phanuel about God’s warning. “This makes no sense. Once God appoints someone, the only way that person can leave his position would be to resign. God cannot appoint anyone else to my position. If God appoints someone else with the position currently filled, that would be God changing His mind, and God never changes. This cannot be possible.”

“Well…” Michael ventured to say, “God never said that He would replace you. Only that you have been derelict in your duty and that He would appoint someone to make one decision.”

Phanuel added, “Dereliction of duty means that you have disregarded the duties God gave you. The complaints about graffiti should have never went to God.”

Gabriel snapped, “I know that!”

Michael added, “And if you disregard your duties, you disobey God’s commands to you… The complaints went to God because you have disregarded your duties. By refusing to make a decision, you have disobeyed God's command to take authority over the smaller matters of Heaven.”

Gabriel’s jaw dropped open. Suddenly, he understood fully how God would appoint someone else while another held the position. God would punish Gabriel for his disobedience and thus create a temporary vacancy. During the punishment, another would serve that position for the interim - in this case, making the decision about graffiti. The other appointing would not be God changing His mind, neither would it be replacing; the other appointing would be God filling a temporary vacancy for the interim, and therefore, a temporary appointing until the conditions have been completed. Once the punishment ended, the interim would step down and the disciplined archangel would resume the position.

Gabriel risked punishment. All on account of graffiti. And not even his graffiti at that.

Phanuel pleaded, “Gabriel, you only need to make a decision. What decision does not matter as long as you decide definitively about the graffiti.”

#

Six days, Gabriel spent in panic. For two days, he wavered between rebuking Baruchiel or doing nothing. On the third day, he struggled to find solutions. Certainly, there must be some way to make everyone in Heaven happy - not only Baruchiel happy; not everyone except Baruchiel happy. All in Heaven must be pleased with whatever decision he would make.

On the fourth day, he searched for a compromise solution. How could Baruchiel keep his graffiti while no one else had any graffiti?

On the fifth day, he thought he found the solution and mulled it over.

On the sixth day, he went to Baruchiel at Baruchiel’s heavenly abode.

“Gabriel! What an unexpected honor!” the blessed angel motioned to the couch.

Once he took his seat, Gabriel said, “I came to discuss your graffiti.”

“Yes?”

“First off, I do love your message. Brilliant and beautiful.”

“Oh! Thank you!” Baruchiel clasped his hands together close to his heart.

“Very proper and suitable for the increase of scripture once Jesus grows into adulthood and fulfills His mission on Earth.”

Baruchiel beamed with joy.

“Yes. As a matter of fact, after He has fulfilled His mission, there will be a new set of holidays. The message on your graffiti so wonderful that it will be known as holiday decorations!”

“Oh!”

“First Baruchiel, because your graffiti now holiday decorations, the only time suitable and proper for these decorations stays during the holidays. These must be removed when not in the proper season.”

“I shall clean them up immediately!” Baruchiel leapt from the couch and prepared his cleaning supplies.

#

The next day - seven days after Gabriel risked punishment - God gathered all the heavenly habitants together for another discourse on how things went on Earth as well as His plans and expectations. Near the end, He said, “Seven days ago, I commanded Gabriel to decide about the graffiti. The graffiti still remains…” even though Baruchiel had spent all the sixth day cleaning, there had been simply too much graffiti.

Gabriel froze in terror.

However, the host of Heaven cried out, “No! No! Keep Gabriel!” “Please, we like Gabriel!” “Please, let him stay and don’t hurt him!”

God replied pleasantly, “Very well.”

Gabriel slumped down with relief. God had frightened the archangel merely to let him see that he once again had good standing with the others. Also, everyone benefits from the Fear of the Lord. Such fear brought an end to the graffiti problems. May Gabriel never procrastinate again!

#

Shortly afterward, Gabriel stood alongside Michael and Phanuel. All three watched Baruchiel happily clean up the graffiti in anticipation of the future holiday.

Michael commented, “Well, that problem finally has its solution.”

Gabriel agreed. “Somewhat of a shame, though, that Baruchiel has to remove it. A beautiful message.”

Phanuel added, “Yes, a very beautiful message, and all should hear it for all generations through a better and more appropriate manner of conveying the message.”

The graffiti that Baruchiel had painted all over Heaven:

“Born this day in the City of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill to men.”

Just as it is written in the Gospel of Luke:

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the City of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: you will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:8-14)

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