Haven on Earth
Part 1: This book's 48 chapters are like sunlit stairs leading to a door, wall and sky. How is that?
The first reading is a step by step process. This reading leads us to open a new door, an opening onto a new comprehension. We can then reorganize the book, we centre it around it's theme. That's the challenge. That's the wall. If we enter that wall we will find our selves within a small world or city. To oversee that small city is to bring a certain measure of sunlight into our environment. Realize a wall can become other than solid boundary it can become rather a timely challenge. That vision is our sky. The longer our stay in this small city the more our need to water the garden growing our food, and we may ask our selves, Am I alone here? Are we alone here? We can become aware of the need for community. We may become like people within organic walls of an organic garden. Possibly a small refuge city or haven. Within our city there will be perhaps smaller groups, and our city will be among others. We can inhabit our understanding. This book makes a suggestion: our interpersonal lives will grow as we tend to them, as we live together and we learn together.
These 48 chapters in our newer vision for the theme of this book could become symbolic for 48 small rural towns. Their old, old, step by step order might in our new renewable vision become organically alive, aligned in the light of our cooperation, in relation to each other and in relation to that which has not yet been related or as of yet been comprehended. Perhaps as we learn to enter beyond or rather within the walls of our old linear thinking we will together meet and here arrange and rearrange our understanding, our lives in a more lateral comprehensive settlement of people and kingdom.
Part 2: Kingdom and Covenant for the Twelve Tribes of Yisrael will always mean more than legend. We have lost the Tribes to legend, specifically the Legend of the Lost Tribes. We dream, perhaps simultaneously, a Mythical Dream of them coming together. This Dream has an influence upon us and therefore the Covenant and Kingdom of the Twelve Tribes is Still Alive in Us. Not only do we imagine regaining the Twelve Tribes, we dream of belonging to them. We dream of belonging to our extended family, a family that can truly extend itself, to our real selves and friends, and as a kind clan of families among other kindred clans.
Imagine Living among peace makers and among us also prophet dreamers. Perhaps we, living in groups of rural towns say 7 towns, could begin to contribute to our vital tribal life and in so doing revive our Tribe among Tribes and Kingdom. Why seven towns to revive a Tribe? Actually 7 towns for the revival of two Tribes and 49 towns a Kingdom. Here follows the context of that Creative Writing Suggestion:
A long time ago . . . In a distant generation within the Kingdom of our collective soul . . . Among us, within our 12 Tribes, was another Tribe called the Tribe of Levi. We gave to the Tribe of Levi towns to live in. The Tribes of Yisrael gave to their brothers the Levites from their own settlements. 42 Levite Cities and in addition 6 Refuge Cities, 48 in all. These 6 Refuge Cities were to be arranged so as to be located equally available among all 12 Tribes. The laws governing these Refuge Cities are numerous. Among those laws is the law of immediate access. It required careful planing in the positioning of these Refuge Cities, such as equidistance from all other tribal towns, good quality roads for quick and safe passage and thorough guidance by way of signpost and escort. Possibly, these special cities were arranged in such a way that each 1 of the 6 Refuge Cities was to be stationed between every 2 Tribes of the 12 Tribes. Possibly, every 7 of the regular Levite Towns or Semi-Refuge Cities were settled within the boundaries of every 2 Tribes. Following this line of thought, perhaps the role played by 7 Levitical Semi-Refuge Cities was similar to that of the 6 Refuge Cities among the greater 12 Tribe Settlement and Kingdom. Was there a 7th Refuge City, a 49th Levitical City amidst the Kingdom? Was the greater comprehensive plan, one for Sacred Place? 'The Place which He shall choose . . . To cause His Name to dwell there', a Seventh Refuge City or we may call it a Seventh Haven, was that the planed for Haven on Earth? The Settlement of the 12 Tribes in the Land and among them the settlement of the Levites, was a thoroughly progressive process. This Movement toward a final and comprehensive Haven was most definitely the Plan.
Part 3: The Portable Sanctuary, which entered the Land with the Twelve Tribes, had to make camp at first. Within the context of its tent, bars, guide ropes and pegs, the potential Seventh Haven and Refuge City contained the Ark of the Covenant. Within its festive, forgiving, serene and enchanted Courts the Sacred Alter. Even when the Levites had been properly settled the Portable Sanctuary still remained camped, as it was not yet settled in the Kingdom, in the Chosen Place. For most probably 400 years after the initial Tribal Settlement of the Land, the unfinished settlement of the Sacred Tent of Meeting shone brightly, brilliantly. The Sanctuary housed in tent clothes was a clear message to a multifaceted people, a people of a destiny unfinished - our destiny. We may have asked ourselves, To be or not to be, centred or multi-centred, what's the difference? The Sacred Space or Place in us, round us, gathering and timing us - with all who are we and who we are, can that be us, ours and the beginning of our destiny?
In David and Shlomo's time the Seventh Haven became Temple. This Seventh Haven was later called by the name of its city, Yerushalayim, a forgiving Refuge and a Sanctuary City. The Temple in our lives stood for about 400 years following the transformation of the Portable Sanctuary. Did Yerushalayim play centre to a transformation in the Tribal Nation?
The foundations for Temple were being prepared. An act of invitation for more than mere visitation. We hoped to secure amidst us the Indwelling Presence, G~d of the House of Yaaqov. The peoples of diversity were together involved in the university of Temple. Under David, as shepherd boy become warrior and king - a new entity was evolving. It was the House of Yaaqov becoming, a unified nation to be made up of the 12 Tribes and the Levi. David, beneath the Prophetic Shmuel and the Anointing Horn of Sacred Oil, became the Archetypal Kingship. David united the Tribal Landsmen, had given birth to Shlomo, to the Architect, to the Royal Throne, to the forging powers of common war and spoil, plenty of it. In parallel to the Powers and the Immediate was the Emergent Centralizing Culture. Dominated by King was the Civil Court and above all was the Assembly of the People, the Seventh Year Festival Education, to be partially re-enacted every New Year at the New Cultivative Court with Sanctuary. So then, did we have Haven? We had an Ideal - The symbollic structure to recognize the providence of the Fully Present, within a semi-divine boundary. We children had organized our brotherhood. We newly accepted upon our collective self the Ancient Divine Unity of the Fathers.
Part 4: With the passing of King David's son, King Shlomo, that nation's emergent culture began to split into two Kingdoms. The Ten Tribes in the Northern lands became called the Kingdom of Yisrael and later became known as the Ten Lost Tribes. The two Tribes of Yehudah and Benyamin, located in the south, became known as the Yehudim - meaning the Jewish people. The Yehudim at that time were the remnant guardians of the Sanctuary but eventually they lost their 'Potential' Seventh Haven too. The Yehudim gained though, with their Seventieth Year Finally of Babylonian exile, recalled in the festive Purim - a salvation post war and a reunion post exile. The remnant Yehudim with some or perhaps many of their lost brothers remained as remnants of the 10 Lost Tribes.
As the remnants of Yehudah and Yisrael returned from their First Exile they began to build the Second Cultivative Sanctuary. This time Military Sovereignty was the foreign one 'anointed'. Warring nations began to play and whirl like a spinning driedle, a divinely appointed role. Together with the revolving of nations, likened to planet spheres, was the dotting and dating of inspired signature. Living prophets and prophecy ended as their message began. So the divine Law of the Jewish People became an evolving culture codified. In time a process of aligning historical precedent, giving clearer form and distinct declaration to Legion and Kingdom. Every action, personal or communal, wish, dream or prayer would find a divine ruling among the lines of a divine drama.
Part 5: In the time of Ezra and the Scribes and in returning from the Babylon, the centre of First Exile, the Minyan of ten men took on a new and particular form. The Minyan of ten men became little priests and jury in a miniature sanctuary and court. It still is the custom set aside, or set in our midst to centre us, for the reading of Scripture, the gathering for ordered prayer and publicly performed commandments such as the wedding and the circumcision. To what precedent was the forming of a group of ten families for the general organization of Torah life?
In the time of Moshe and the generation of our fathers and mothers in the Sinai Desert, as we left the Egyptian exile, we formed groups to offer the redemption sacrifice and exit together the archetypal slavery. We prepared and sustained groups to receive the Torah. We were organized and counted for assembly, including for strategic military defence in these groups. This basic group of families was once a common and fully contextual practice. The group of 10, called at that time Eydah, meant an assembly for activity or for the settlement of a case, an investigative, presentative and traditional court for claimants, judge and jury. Together with the Eydah group of 10 were groups of 50, 100 and a 1000 organized families.
Part 6: To clearly understand how exactly the smaller or larger groups conducted themselves, as groups, is purposeful research. However the ideal Minyan, or Eydah, took on a particular form at the end of the First Exile, this is clearly seen from ready sources in the Talmudic code of Jewish lore and law. Minyan, means a particular number, of people in this case and came to mean not less than ten, derived from the laws of Eydah. Now likewise, potentially in the ending of this Second Exile the practice of Eydah and the organizational forms of Eydah in their particular sizes of Minyan, 50, 100 and a 1000 could still become among us inspirational, seminal and guiding, conduct and spirit for renewable, sustainable community.
The Levite Cities and Refuge Cities, were they ever renewed? What ever happened to the organizational customs practised by 50 families, 100 families, and 1000 families, all groups of families and communities somehow? For the grouping of towns and Tribes in relation to Levite Towns and Refuge Cities, where oh where have our holy images gone? What are our Sacred Organizational Patterns?
Part 7: The elusive Seventh Haven, I believe, will comprehend the Six Refuge Cities. Each City, I believe, will be unique and like an average size rural town. Though a Refuge City is an ideal among actual living communities it begins as a thought, splendid, shining, a sanctuary. Let it finish like a home, a community, a Haven. Refuge Cities will, I believe, centre rural towns and each rural town will combine several unique groups in Assembly, in Teachings of community, in personal and interpersonal Living.
The Image of Mankind in the Likeness of G~d, can we know it and live by it? Step by step we will do that which appears to us as purposeful, promising and compromising. In short we will act likewise, wisely. Then together we will open a new door to the comprehension of the divine in our lives. Today, the spirit of the model Tribe, the model Town, the model group of friends and the model rule of 'love your neighbour as yourself', starting with one's own marriage partner can be found and practised. Today we can look for and practice that spirit together. I have written this book to encourage us.