The Story of Esperanza Reyes: Chapter 22

Chapter 22

They had sung a song together to end the feast. From there they returned to the rest stop outside the city that overlooked the lights. She said to them, “After I am turned over you will all run away.” Pedro turned to her and said, “Even if they all run, I will never desert you. I’m ready to go to prison and even death for you.” She just smiled at him and calmly said to him with tears welling in her eyes, “Before the rooster crows in the morning, Pedro, you will deny that you know me three times.” He got up full of frustration. “I will not! If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” The other followers agreed and proclaimed their loyalty. She looked around crying lightly. “Remember when I sent you out with nothing before? Maybe I was wrong… You are going to face so much hardship because of me. I have to go to my end here and now, but you do not. I thank you for your loyalty. I hope that the love I taught you will not result in your end as well, but be wary that it does. I do not wish this for any of you.” She excused herself saying that she needed time alone to meditate.

Pedro, Iago, and John followed her. She said to them, “Meditate here on coming events, that you do not fall prey to what will come. I’m very distressed, so much so that I think this is the end. Remain here, and watch.” She went on a bit further and fell to the ground. She cried out, “Divine! If you are willing take this burden from me. I know that this is what is to come, but if it be your will, don’t let me go through with this.” She continued to meditate and plead with the divine. She came back and found the three asleep. “Simon, could you not watch and meditate one hour? The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Again she went away and pleaded before the divine. She came back an hour later to find them asleep again. She went away again. The third time she came back and woke them. “Wake up for the time is come for me to be handed over. You will want to be awake for this.” While she was speaking to the three, a few vehicles entered the parking lot. Jaime, a few priests, and the county sheriff were in the vehicles.

Jaime approached Esperanza and gave her a hug. “Master!” Jaime kissed her on the cheek. After he let her go the sheriff ordered her to her knees with her hands behind her head. Pedro reached into his waistband behind his back. Esperanza turned to look at him sternly, “Pedro, no! No more violence. For all who live by violence will die violently.” She turned back to the sheriff and priests, “Have I displayed any violent tendencies toward you that you should have to bring police into this? When I was with all of you during the forum you didn’t lay a hand on me, but now that I’m outside and in the dark you come?” The sheriff cuffed her and put her in the back of his cruiser. They brought her to the chief priest’s house. Pedro had followed at a distance.

There was a crowd gathered in the courtyard of the estate. People were milling about and Pedro had joined those near the fire pit. A young woman saw him and said, “Aren’t you with Esperanza?” But Pedro denied it for fear of being found out. “I don’t know her from Adam.” He turned his back on her. Someone else spotted him and recognized him. “Aren’t you one of her friends?” they asked him. Pedro emphatically said, “NO!” He walked off a distance. Another in the crowd hear him said, “Hey, that guy is Mexican and from the hill country. I think I saw him with that Esperanza lady.” Pedro grew hot in the face. “I don’t know the lady you are talking about.” He turned again and as he did he heard a rooster crowing in the distance. Pedro remembered what she had said to him earlier in the evening. He left with tears streaming down his face.

Meanwhile inside the estate Esperanza was blindfolded some of the priests and rabbi spit on her. Others cat called her. Some groped her and said, “Prophesy! Which one of is did that?” They mocked her and hit her. They attempted to find people who would speak and testify against her in court; they found none. There were too many whose stories did not line up with fact. In the morning after many hours of this disgraceful assembly the high priest stood and asked her, “What have you to say against these charges?” She was silent and said nothing. Then the chief priest asked, “Are you the Messiah, Daughter of the Divine?” She said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, though you say that I am. I will not deny being the Daughter of the Divine.” The chief priest, knowing that this was as close to a crime as they could get from her, threw up his hands and exclaimed, “Do we need anymore witness? You heard her blasphemy what is your decision?” The crowd jeered and exclaimed “Execution!” The gathered crowd felt that this was enough to have her tried and executed. So they brought her out to the Governor’s office.

When the Governor granted them an audience, they accused her. “This woman is a traitor to our country and our flag. She is not a true American. She’s perverted our laws and is forbidding people from paying taxes. She has said all manner of horrible hateful things about our president Trump. She has called herself the true ruler. She said she was the Daughter of the Divine.”  The Governor looked at her and asked, “Are you the true ruler of these people?” Esperanza answered, “They have said so.” The priests and rabbi accused her of many things and the Governor asked, “Have you nothing to say in your defense?” Esperanza stayed silent. The Governor wondered at this. The Governor said, “I find no crime in this woman. All you have given me is hearsay. If you would like I can have a talk with her and pardon her (as this was the custom before the passover feast).” They cried out together, “Take this woman away. Pardon Ali Mohamed.” Ali was a young man who had been accused of terrorism and murder in Austin. The Governor asked, “What should I do with this woman then?” The crowd jeered and shouted “Execute her!”

<  Chapter 21  |  Chapter 23  >

Please follow and like us:

The Story of Esperanza Reyes: Chapter 21

Chapter 21

Esperanza’s last words to the the seminar were this, “Take care of yourselves. Don’t be weighed down with the cares and worries of this life. One day, all these things will not matter. It will happen suddenly. Be watchful, and be brave. You will be able to see all your work come to fruition.” As she finished up the other speakers began to murmur in the sidelines. She left unceremoniously and began to prepare for the feast of Passover.

This was the year of 2017 C.E. Donald Trump had been elected president the prior year and there had been many instances of unrest in the country. The priests and rabbi conspired to put Esperanza to death; for they feared how her message could topple the power they had over the people.

A Priest invited Esperanza and her group to dinner. There was a woman whom Esperanza recognized in the crowd. The priests and rabbi had used her as an example of a sinner, yet here she was perhaps to set Esperanza up again. When this woman spotted her she began to weep. She came and fell at Esperanza’s feet. She took a very expensive jar of oil and began to anoint her feet. She wept so bitterly that her tears wet her feet. She began to wipe them with her dress as well. When the Priest who had invited Esperanza saw this he said aloud, “If this woman were a prophet, she would have known who and what this other woman is. She’s a sinner!” Esperanza sharply looked at him, “I have a story for you, A certain banker had two customers who had taken out loans, one for $5000 and the other for $500. When they could not pay, he forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more?” The priest thought for a moment and said, “I suppose the one who was forgiven more.” She said to him, “Correct!” She looked down at the woman and asked him, “Do you see this woman? I came to your house, you did not offer me any refreshments. You did not offer any relief for my feet. She has anointed my feel with oil and washed them with her tears. She has shown me great honor. Honestly, her sins are forgiven. She has loved much. But he…” She turned to look directly at him, “.. who has been forgiven little, loves little.” She looked back down at the woman and lifted her up. “Thank you, dear. What you have done today, will be remembered always.”

At this display, Jaime, who was one of the twelve, thought it was time for Esperanza to settle things once and for all with the priests and rabbi, possibly even Ha’Av. Jaime slipped out of the party and met with the priests and rabbi who were conspiring against Esperanza. Jaime believed that if this was set up so, Esperanza would have no choice but to become the leader that Jaime believed her to be. Jaime met with them and offered to give her over to them. They paid Jaime $3000 and Jaime agreed to a peaceful confrontation.

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Esperanza sent Pedro with the group to prepare the feast for them. They asked her, “Where are we supposed to go? Should we return home or stay here in Austin?” She said to them. “Go to the grocery store. There you’ll run into a man trying to buy water. Talk to him and say your teacher has need of a gathering place. He will have the gathering room of a local synagogue ready for the passover. There you will prepare for us.” Pedro and the others set out for the grocery story which she had told them of, only half believing they would run into a man trying to buy water. Surprisingly there he was. They asked and just as she had said the room was ready. They went and prepared for the feast. That evening all were gathered together in the room.

She said to the gathered, the main group and new friends just made, “I have really wanted to eat this feast with you before I am to suffer. This will probably be my last meal.” She took the unleavened bread in front of her and she blessed and broke it. She passed it around saying, “This is the body of a new sacrifice, as the Divine made a covenant contract with Abraham, so is the Divine making new contract now. Take eat this is my body which is broken for you.” She took the wine glass from in front of her and said a blessing. She passed it around saying, “Take and drink from this cup; this is the blood of the sacrifice of the new contract that is being written between the Divine and man. As often as you drink and break bread do it remembering me and our time together.” This troubled all who were gathered as they did not know of what she was speaking of, yet. She turned to Jaime, and said, “Go and do what it is you have to do.” Jaime didn’t know how she knew about the conspiring but Jaime got up and left to go get the priests and rabbi. They sat and finished the feast together. Esperanza’s mood was dour, though the feast was lively and enjoyed by those gathered.

<  Chapter 20  |  Chapter 22  >

Please follow and like us:

The Story of Esperanza: Chapter 17

Chapter 17

While Esperanza and her group were traveling through Austin, one day, they walked under an overpass. This overpass happened to be a popular place for the homeless to “camp”. As they were moving through one of the homeless men recognized her. “Esperanza, teacher, please help us.” he called. When the groups eyes adjusted to the shade, she saw the skin lesions. She asked about them. The man who called out answered, “We cannot afford care, most of us have cancer of varying types. We are forced to choose between room and board, or treatment. Most of us chose treatment and go when we have enough for one of us to go.” Esperanza whispered to Pedro. Pedro pulled out his phone and began fiddling with it. She spoke to the man. “Gather all in your group, go and see the nearest oncologist. When you have you all will have room and board for as long as needed until you get back on your feet.” The homeless gathered their things and set out as a group as soon as they walked into the sunlight beyond the overpass those with skin lesions discovered they were gone. Those with pain felt none. The left to see the doctor. One of them when he saw that he was healed turned back. He ran and fell at Esperanza’s feet, thanking her. Now he was a trans person from female to male, which had him shunned by most in their group. Esperanza said to him, “Weren’t there more of you? Where are the others? Go, here is the address that you shall receive room and board, it will all be taken care of.” She motioned to Pedro who handed her his phone. She jotted down an address and handed a slip of paper to the man. She smiled and continued on her way.

As they walked on, Esperanza told her group a story. “There once was a judge. This judge was selfish and couldn’t care less about humanity. There lived a widow in the same city. This widow was constantly filing a motion for a restraining order against a man she claimed was stalking her. For a while this judge refused. One day he thought to himself, ‘I should just grant this filing so that I can have some peace around here, or else she will keep coming.’ Notice what the selfish judge says. The Divine hears your cries, and does not wait to answer them and give you what it is you need. When all is said and done, will you be selfish and not give to those who ask of you? How about this? Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Priest, and the other a banker. The priest stood and prayed aloud so that all may hear him. ‘Divine, I just, Lord, I thank you that I’m not like those sinners over there. I’m not gay, or trans, or a molester, or greedy, or even like this banker over here. I go to church every day, and I tithe 10%.’ But the banker, standing in the back corner, wouldn’t look up. He just stood looking at his feet. He prayed quietly in his mind, ‘Divine, have mercy on me a sinner!’ I tell you, the banker was more justified than the priest; for he asked and was given forgiveness.”

The group arrived at the convention center in Austin that Esperanza was teaching at. While getting things prepared, a senator for the state of Texas arrived at the convention center to speak with her. “My good lady, what must I do to have this life you tell your people about so often?” he said with an almost fake sounding southern drawl. Esperanza stopped what she was doing and looked him dead in the eye, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but the divine. You know the laws: don’t sleep around, don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t commit perjury against a neighbor, and honor your parents.” He said to her with greasy smile, “Why, of course, my lady. I have grown up in a Jesuit church. I’ve followed those laws since I was little boy.” Esperanza never broke her stare, “One thing you lack, however, sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and then you will have the life you seek. When you do, come and follow me.” The fake smile he gave to the media and crowds broke. He now looked stern and woeful. He said with a bit of a quiver, “Thank you for your time, miss.” He turned and hurriedly retreated for he was very rich. Esperanza went back to what she was doing. As soon as the Senator left the area she said to her group, “How hard it is for the rich to enter into life! It is easier for a rocket scientist to perform brain surgery than it is for a rich person to discover life.” Philip asked, “Then who can be saved?” She said to Philip, “What you think impossible is the simplest thing for the divine.” Pedro turned, “But, we left everything for you.” Esperanza looked at them and smiled, ” You stayed with me through everything. You’ve discovered life. You will give others life. People now look to you for life. There is not one of you who has given up everything for this message that will not receive life in return for what you have given up.”

She continued, “For life is like a vineyard owner who went out early in the morning to hire day laborers. After he was out purchasing supplies, he spotted some more laborers and hired them as well. After lunch he found more and hired them as well. Later in the afternoon after a meeting with his distributors he found more and hired them as well. When the sun was setting the vineyard owner went out to his fields. He called all the workers in. He paid all of them the same wage for the day, even the ones he hired early in the morning. Those who were hired earlier complained. He said to them, ‘Didn’t we agree on this price this morning? I’m giving you more than a fair wage, I choose to give them the same wage. What I do with my money is my decision. Or would you rather begrudge my generosity?’ Life is generous and completely counter to what many would believe. The last will be first, and the first will be last.”

<  Chapter 16 Chapter 18  >

Please follow and like us:

The Story of Esperanza Reyes: Chapter 16

Chapter 16:

Esperanza spoke on, “From long before the time of Yeshua Ben-Yoseph people have been trying to create the Kingdom of the Divine by force. You have tried to force the message of peace by violence and fear. That is not how this works. The law was given so that you may understand how to treat one another. That is a message of peace not of violence and fear.”

The Priests and Rabbi decided to fire back and trip her up on the law, “What about divorce? Is that lawful?” Exasperated, Esperanza turns to them again, “What does the earliest record of the law state?” The religious leaders returned with, “It says to give a certificate of divorce if requested.” She again looked hard at them. “This law was written for humans to act civilly together. If someone requests a divorce and means it shouldn’t it be given so that they can live peaceably in society? Laws are written for us to live together peacefully, not for us to be enslaved to them. This seems to be the one law you and people like you excuse the most. Why not the others?”

“Let me put it this way, there once was a very rich man. Outside of this man’s gated community was a poor woman who often liked to camp outside the gates as the lawn was well maintained and the walls provided shelter from the harsh wind. She also knew there were good scraps of food in the dumpster as the rich people within the community threw away large amounts of unspoiled food. Coincidentally, both the rich man and the poor woman died on the same day. The poor woman arrived in the Kingdom of the Divine, the rich man, however, saw only a desolate apocalyptic hell-scape. He turned and, as if looking through a frosted window, saw the poor woman and another figure with her. He called out to them, ‘Please! Help me! I only want just a bit of water. I don’t see any, how am I to survive in this?’ The figure spoke, ‘Don’t you remember all the wonderful things you had in life? Do you remember that this woman beside me had none of those things. Now she has all the good things she could want, and you have none. For the measure of a man is not in what he has, but in how he shares it.’ He then said, ‘Well if I cannot have those things now, send someone to tell my family so they will not end  up like this.’ The figure spoke again,’ They have the law and those who taught on the law for centuries. Why would they need another?’ The rich man spoke again,’ But they don’t listen to those things, I didn’t. If someone who was dead comes back and tells them though, maybe they will listen. ‘ The figure spoke again,’ If they don’t treat other people with love and kindness, they wouldn’t be convinced to do so even if someone from the dead were to tell them to.'”

On the other side of the park where they were gathered was a playground. Esperanza motioned to the children playing there. “Would you want to keep them from the Divine? Would you tell a child not to treat someone else with kindness and love because of ‘The Law’? No! You would let the children run to the Divine. For they know full well that all are loved, all are human. Unless someone comes to the Divine with a heart like that, they are doing it wrong. You would rather hinder that, however. I tell you whoever stops one like them from coming to the Divine,… Well, it would be better for them to shut their mouths and lock themselves away. Woe to them who do such! There is forgiveness though. Listen to the voices of those who tell you that you are doing such, if you do you will be forgiven.” One of her friends, Pedro, shouted, “How many times should we forgive these creeps?” Esperanza smiled with a reproving, but humorous smile. She spoke loudly enough for all to listen. “You should never stop forgiving. When you stop forgiving you’ve become just like them. You would close the gates to the Kingdom to even just one, you have become just like those who would keep children from the Divine.” Pedro blushed and got lost in the group of friends. The teachers could say nothing. They burned with rage and stormed away.

When she returned to her friends, they lauded her. They asked her, “Can you teach us more of the Kingdom, so that we can speak like you?” She said to them kindly. “You already know of the Kingdom. With a little bit of work, kindness, and love you can change the world into the Kingdom. The world doesn’t change suddenly. It doesn’t happen with signs and fanfare. You wouldn’t be able to point and say, ‘Oh, look there’s the Kingdom.’ It’s already here, you are making right here, right now. This gathering is the Kingdom. Things may get bad. They always do, but never stop loving and being kind to one another. Don’t stop accepting people for who they are. You are going to encounter all sorts of people like these. People who worship power and wealth above all else. They will say they are followers of the Divine, but they only lead people away from the Divine. This message is dangerous. People will despise you for this message of love and kindness. Don’t go back to how you were. If you want an easy life, you can have it, but you would never be happy. Instead, never stop forgiving, never stop loving, and never stop treating others with kindness. If you do, you will be filled with life.”

<  Chapter 15  |  Chapter 17  >

Please follow and like us:

The Honest Faith: Context

Okay, let’s play a game. I’m going to reference a couple of pieces of pop culture and you try to guess where they are from before reading on where I’ll post an answer key below. Okay, you ready?

  1. Chaka when the walls fell
  2. Winter is coming
  3. Don’t have a cow, man!
  4. I’m in a glass case of emotion!
  5. Alonsi!
  6. Blessed be the fruit! Praise be!
  7. (said while arms spread) EAGLE!
  8. The only thing better than a cow is a human! Unless you need milk. Then you really need a cow.
  9. May the Force be with you!
  10. Bah! Humbug!
  11. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
  12. I have been, and shall always be your friend.
  13. Ye’r a wizard, Harry!
  14. faster than a speeding bullet, Stronger than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
  15. With great power comes great responsibility.

These pieces are pictures of our culture. I started off with a hard one, and if you got it extra points to you because that is the one I want to discuss. There is an episode of Star Trek the next generation that delves into language, story, and analogy. The crew of the Enterprise D is out to broker a deal with a race that only speaks in analogy. They only use stories to speak to one another. The actions taken in those stories are what they mean and how they wish others to act. I really wanted to do a full study on this episode with most church groups that I worked with.

I think one of the biggest things I took away from this particular episode is how when we only speak in Churchenese that people never really fully understand what we are saying. I wanted to have that discussion with other Christians at the time. This was until this past year when I started to strip down my beliefs and find out what really was worth keeping. I have to be honest, since college, I never have seen the Bible as a literal and historically accurate book. I love the Bible. I believe that it is completely true about the nature and character of the Divine when taken as story, narrative, poetry, and speeches. Though when I started out on this new journey of Honest Faith. I started to take a deeper look at the man Jesus. I wanted to find out who this historical person was outside of all the myth.

I did a lot of study on this in college, I even had roommates who sort of worshipped John Dominic Crossan. But I never went fully into this study of who the real man was. I knew that there were popular stories at the time of Ceasar’s being born of god and called the son of god. Even the Egyptians said that of their Pharaohs. There were other god men at the time. The Pagans and Jewish people all believed that Divine beings could become human and humans could become Divine. I also even learned that the Jewish people were all monotheistic. That was until recently. Recently I’ve been listening to an audiobook called “How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee” by Bart D. Ehrman. There is a ton of information in this book and it’s probably better read than listed to as I keep having to pause to digest the information I was taking in.

In the Book Ehrman within the first two chapters talks about what the Pagans and Jewish people believed and were sort of like during the time of Jesus. I say sort of because it’s all from archeology and writings from the time period and we can probably never truly know what life was like for them unless we somehow invent a time machine. Ehrman starts by talking about Apollonius of Tyana who was a contemporary and also rival story to that of Yeshua. (What’s funny is he’s also quoted on the wiki page I linked) He also talks about how Apollonius was, according to his myth, born of a virgin who was chosen by the divine, performed miracles, and even resurrected from the dead. He uses this to emphasize that the pagans also believed in divine beings becoming human. He goes on to talk about how the Jewish people were not Monotheistic but rather Henotheistic. They believed that there were many gods but only one who deserved honor and worship. His book illuminated a lot of things for me thus far, but I want to focus on the one big point of this all, CONTEXT.

In his book, Ehrman describes some of the contexts on how to use the gospels as source materials to find the historical man Jesus. He doesn’t delve too much into it and he points out to other source materials for people to go further into that study. His most important point of it all, however, is context is everything. This is the reason why I bring up modern pop culture and the reason for writing this week. Have you ever noticed that when taken out of context people can use quotes, words, passages, and even verses to mean whatever they want them to mean? Let’s take number 8 from above. The show (hint) did not receive great ratings while it was on the air, even though in my opinion it was one of the most awesome tv shows. Out of context, it doesn’t mean much. It seems like someone is comparing humans and cows. Out of context I could say that the speaker was standing on a farm and looking at a heard of cows. Since it’s on tv you could probably picture that. You probably even pictured maybe a whole police crew at a crime scene next to a herd of cows, because in our modern context procedural crime dramas dominate our pop culture landscape. If you know where the quote came from, however, you know that none of that is accurate at all. The same is true with how we read the Bible.

If you have been lucky enough to live in a cave and never had any preconceived idea spoken to you or given to you about the Christian Bible, and were given a copy without chapter markings, verse numbers, book titles, and footnotes. How do you think it would read? Besides probably giving up at the whole “Begats” part, what would you think this person would take from it? A story of a people who were slaves first to death, then to the gods of their fathers, and then to the ancient Egyptians (and more) who are constantly saved and redeemed by this Divine being working through humans. Finally, after about midway through, you come to this shift. There are four similar but different stories about this preacher in Isreal about 300 to 400 years after the last thing you read. One of those stories is way-way out there in abstractness. The message seems to remain the same only instead of physical slavery items this preacher guy brings up abstract slavery of the mind to something called sin. You know from the context of the past reading that it is mostly those things that separate a person from God. Yet, this preacher doesn’t seem too concerned about those rules or laws. He seems more concerned about love for everybody. There is an immediateness of what he has to say because as you read the end is near and is coming. After his stories, there are stories of his followers. Everything after is letters from those followers and a weird story of a vision that someone had that is sort of in a letter. Have you ever thought objectively about the Bible in this context? Have you ever read it without someone giving you context beforehand? Have you taken it out of context yourself?

One of the things that I’m finding as I’m searching for Honest Faith is that context is everything. Through my writing, podcasting, and social media-ing I’m finding that context is key to almost everything. You can’t really understand what someone posts unless you know where they are and what they are doing. You can’t really understand people unless you know the context of their lives. How are we 2000 years after even the writing of the Gospels, which by the way the first was written about 30 to 40 years after Jesus’ death, supposed to really understand this man? None of us grew up in rural Isreal around the beginning of the Common or Christian Era. None of us really have a full context even for the rest of the Bible.

The reason I write this today is not to get all thoroughly intellectual on you. I write today because recently I’ve seen a lot of people using the Christian Bible to harm other people. They take verses and passages way out of context and use it as a sword. It was never intended to be a weapon. In fact, as I’ve been searching for this historical Jesus guy, I’m finding that he probably would have very much disliked that. I write because I feel deeply that we have lost the plot completely while reading and studying this book. That we need to find better and more historical context to gather what the writers were really trying to convey. Not just with the Bible, but with almost anything that can happen. The point of my post today is this “Context is EVERYTHING”. Thank you for indulging my intellectual aside for this weeks post. You are not alone, You matter.

 

ANSWER KEY

  1. Star Trek- The Next generation
  2. Game of Thrones
  3. The Simpsons
  4. Anchorman
  5. Doctor Who
  6. The Handmaid’s Tale
  7. Scrubs
  8. Fringe
  9. Star Wars
  10. A Christmas Carol
  11. Romeo and Juliet
  12. Star Trek- Original series second movie “the wrath of khan”
  13. Harry Potter
  14. Superman
  15. Spiderman
Please follow and like us:

The Story of Esperanza Reyes: Chapter 13

Chapter 13

Esperanza was again teaching a large crowd. One of the many who were gathered asked her to settle a dispute. He asked, “Miss if you would, my brother will not share the inheritance with me.” Esperanza laughed a bit at this, “Who made me judge or divider of wealth? Listen, don’t measure your life with golden rulers. You cannot truly live if you measure your life with wealth or stuff.” She then saw that there was some misunderstanding at this so she told them a story. “Imagine a wealthy wall street banker. This man is single and has no immediate family. He buys all the most wonderful things that money can buy. He has a nice penthouse apartment overlooking the city. He has all that he could possibly want, but he still felt uneasy because he was alone. One night he has a heart attack. As the pain subsides and he contemplates his own mortality he realizes how fruitless his life must be. He has stored up so much wealth, but who would gain from it all when he passes? Shouldn’t he have used that wealth to help others?”

She continued teaching, “So again, why worry so much about those things? Does worry put food on your plate, or clothes on your back? I know there is so much anxiety that is built up for you by our society; to have more, or be more. I know, believe me. But think about the wild animals. Do they worry about planting or where they are going to find food? No, they go looking for it and most find what they need. How much more do you think the Divine cares for you. Not that it will magically appear, but if you go looking for it. If you work for it, you will find it. So may wealth and riches not add to your worry. There are other things to worry about. Worry instead if your neighbor has enough to eat. Worry instead that your friends have the clothes they need. Instead, seek the Kingdom of the Divine. By worrying about those things you seek that kingdom. The Divine will be present with those who use what they have to provide for those in need. Instead of storing up wealth, store up experiences, love, friendship, and charity. Keep doing these things we have talked about. If you give and give and give of yourself until you can give no more, you will be ready for when you are in need. Those you have given to would happily give back to you in kind. Always be ready to help those in need, as you have been given much, much is needed from you. It is like a store owner who leaves his employees in charge while he is on vacation. The store owner did not tell the employees when the vacation would end. Would the employees just slack off and leave the store unlocked after hours? Do you think the store owner would be happy? What if they did what was expected of them and more? What if they gave the extra to those in need? Would the store owner return happily? Of course! For with great power comes great responsibility. If you have been given much, much will be expected of you. So do it. Give what you have. This message is dangerous because it flies in the face of those of power. I have not come to comfort the power structures. I’ve come to light the fire of rebellion. I’ve come to tear down the walls.”

She said this with unease as she could tell that those in power knew this. She was dangerous to their power and they would do what they needed to stop her. She saw the signs of this as more and more came to her lessons. They often would stand in the back or on the outskirts of the crowd with scowls. Not once would they participate or listen. She knew this message was one that would catch fire. She spoke anyway.

She continued, “You know what is right. You know how to treat your fellow man. Why do you pretend not to know? I’m telling you the time is coming that you will have to answer for how you treated one another. You have heard about how the Governor has imprisoned and even deported those who have protested? Some are being executed for crimes they did not commit. Do you think these people are worse than those who say nothing? I tell you unless you stand up and treat each other with love you will suffer the same fate. What about those who were working on “The Wall” between the USA and Mexico who died when it fell on them? Do you think they were worse people than anybody else? No, they weren’t. All people are worthy of love. It’s like an orange tree planted in a yard. If the person who planted the orange tree sees that it does not produce oranges wouldn’t he cut it down and dig it out? Unless you love your fellow man, regardless, you are like the orange tree. Unless you give of yourself without agenda, you are like so many unfruitful trees.”

<  Chapter 12  |  Chapter 14  >

Please follow and like us:

The Story of Esperanza Reyes: Chapter 12

Chapter 12

She was meditating in the morning. When she had looked up, one of her friends asked her, “Can you teach us to meet with the Divine?” She thought for a moment and said, “When you meditate quiet your mind and think on these things, Divine, who is both outside and within. May I love as you are love. May your love fill me so that all I need is provided for. Teach me to love like you do so that I may not harm any other. May I even love those who harmed me. I know it is easy to forget to love, may I not grow lazy or weary of loving. Which of you would turn away a friend in need? Even in the middle of the night? None of you would because they are your friends. It is like that with the Divine. The Divine is not a cosmic slot machine. Instead, the Divine is more like a parent. If your child asks you for a fish would you give a snake instead? Or what if your child asks for something to eat, would you give them rocks to eat? Though not all is within the Divine to supply. Meeting with the Divine is for you. It is for you to think about all your needs and questions, and quiet your mind for a possible answer.”

One day as she was curing a man who had an addiction, the crowd had been so impressed by her. There were some from the synagogue and the churches. They were terrified by her. “She must be from the devil. No one can just cure addictions! This power must come from hell.” She turned to them. “How can I be from the devil? Can the devil cast out the devil? A house divided against itself will tear itself apart. If the devil is divided against the devil how can he stand? If I cure things from hell, how can I do it in the name of the devil? What if you are wrong and I’m from the Divine? Wouldn’t that mean you are calling what is of the Divine, evil? I’m not doing this just as a parlor trick. I’m also looking to get to the reason he turned to drugs in the first place. If I just cure his addiction, he will eventually go back, because there is something that caused this to happen. So instead maybe if you asked how you could help this man stay clean and cure the deeper pains, maybe you would see the Divine in what I do.” Those who called her the devil, became angry. “Give us a sign then, to show us that you are from the Divine.” She rolled her eyes and sighed heavily. “Why do all of you place the burden of proof upon me? You are the ones who called me the devil. Maybe you are the ones who need to prove what you say.” She took the opportunity to teach a lesson about Jonah. “The people of Nineveh were despised and said to be of the devil, yet they ended up listening and understanding the error of their ways. How would you believe you were wrong even if I show you a sign? Would you purposely hide good things, just so that you would be right? Be careful when you deny the good that you not fall farther into evil yourself. You pretend very well to be good, but even as the prophet Isaiah said ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ You deny the love of the Divine in order to look good in front of other people. You may keep your traditions. I’ll follow love. These people from the synagogues and churches are the type of people who are all about looking good in front of others. That’s like washing the outsides of dishes, but not the inside. Seriously, You tithe your money, but you completely neglect the justice and love of the Divine. Those were the important things that you forgot about in order to look good.  You love the best seats in the synagogues and churches, woe to you. You are like makeup on a pig, woe to you.” A lawyer stopped her to point out, “Teacher, by saying this aren’t you also judging us?” But she went on, “Woe to you lawyers also! You and those like you load men with burdens hard to bear, yet don’t help one iota with those burdens at all. You, the priests, and rabbi all hold fast to these rules and regulations that cause nothing but anxiety and pain for people. You didn’t listen to those who came before me. Instead you killed and silenced all who spoke against your evil, greed, and corruption. You have taken away the key of knowledge and treat those who follow you like idiots. Yet you do not know anything about that which you proclaim to know either!” As she said this she walked out of the venue in which she was teaching. From that point on those she spoke against conspired to silence her.

She met during this time with her friends. “Beware of these lawyers, priests, and rabbi they are going to lead many away from the Divine with their words, but it is just so much hypocrisy. The truth will always come to light though. Nothing that is hidden will stay that way for long. They may want to kill or silence you in other ways, but the ideas the truths will come out. Do not worry about them, because the Divine will not forget about you. The Divine knows that you know and speak the truth. You are special in the Divine’s eyes. People can say what they want about me, but those who speak against what the Divine is doing in you, they better watch out. The Divine will be with you, even when they try to kill or silence you.”

<  Chapter 11  |  Chapter 13  >

Please follow and like us:

The Story of Esperanza Reyes: Chapter 9

Chapter 9:

During one of her lessons, Esperanza told this story.

Listen! A family was needing someone to make meals for them as they had no time to do it for themselves. The first person they hired was the least expensive and had no experience. The food that that person made was immediately spit out for the corn was uncooked and the chicken was dry. Another cook had made a meal that was hard as stone, so a bite could not even be taken. Another had bits of eggshells and rocks in the beans. So that some of the food was good, but not all of it and made it hard to consume. Then they found the person they needed. They found a cook who made a glorious meal that fed them for first and second servings, they even had leftovers for lunches.

Esperanza looked out over the crowd and said, “Those who are able to consume, let them take it in.” After the lesson, when it was just Esperanza and her group, they asked her, “What does that mean?” She looked at them with a loving smile. “You already know all the secrets I have to tell. The best way to teach this many people is through stories. For those who understand, they will be given more understanding. But those who don’t understand, what little understanding they have will be wasted. So whatever I do or say they won’t understand, but rather think that I mean what they say.” She opened her arms wide to them and smiled. “You are all so lucky! You get to hear what kings, presidents, and prophets wanted to hear.”

She went on to explain the story to them.

Okay, here is what it means. The food is the what the Divine has to say to the Divine’s people. The cooks are those who study it. The first cook is someone who has only studied a little and tries to use what they know, but fails. The second is one who has studied but completely misses the point of what they have studied. The third is one who has studied and understands, but gets the message mixed up with all manner of bad thinking. The last are those who study, understand, and keep studying so as to always prepare what the Divine is saying for others to consume easily. Nobody when turning on a light puts a bowl over it, or hides it so that it cannot light the room. No they make sure it gives the most light to make the room bright and welcoming. The truth will always find a way out. Those who study will always bring the truth of what the Divine is saying. Don’t ever think you’ve done enough study. For those who begin to understand, more understanding will be given.

One day, Esperanza and the group decided to go out on a rental yacht to do some fishing and relaxing in the Gulf of Mexico. As the day went on they were having a great time and Esperanza fell asleep in the cabin of the yacht. A great thunderstorm developed and began to pummel the yacht. It was being tossed from side to side. The pumps failed and the bottom of the yacht began to fill. with water. Peter and Iago went to wake Esperanza. “Teacher, We are all going to die!” She groggily woke up and made her way to the deck of the yacht. She looked around and yelled out “STOP!” Just then the rocking slowed and the winds stopped. The clouds parted and the sun shone once more. She looked at her group and smiled, “Why are you afraid?” She patted Peter on the shoulder went back into the cabin and promptly fell back asleep. The group marveled at this. “How did she do that?”

They docked later that day off South Padre Island. There at the docks, she was met by an addict. His clothes were ripped and stained and he looked like he hadn’t had a good meal in months. When he saw Esperanza he cried out and knelt before her. “Why are you here, Daughter of the Divine?” He twitched a bit and scratched the back of his neck. “Are you here to torture me?!” She took his hand in hers and looked him in the eye. “What is your name?”  He said, “They call me tweak, because I take everything. Please don’t make me stop, it’s all I have. Just send me to prison, they have good stuff there.” At this, she lifted him to his feet and gave him a hug. She whispered in his ear and suddenly he transformed in front of their eyes. His body stopped convulsing and his mind seemed free. She looked him in the eye again. “The prison system will not help you, they hurt those like you more than help. Come let us get you a good meal and some clothes, you can tell me about why you feel that drugs are all you have.” They went and had a lovely dinner after they bought the man some new clothes and gave him the opportunity to clean up. He told them all about his life and his losses. About struggling with PTSD after he returned from the service in Iraq. He told them about how the VA was so backed up they couldn’t help him and the only thing that calmed the rage in his head was the drugs. But that rage was gone now. He seemed like much calmer person. When it had come time for the group to leave, he begged to come with them. Esperanza smiled comfortingly and shook her head. “You have more important things to do here. You are no longer needed as a soldier. Instead, your family, your community, and this world needs you as who you are now. Go find that your place is here among those who need you now as you are.”

When the group returned to Leakey there was a great crowd that had gathered to greet them. One of the Rabbi’s named Jeremy came and fell at Esperanza’s feet. He wept bitterly saying, “My daughter is dying. She has cancer. We… We’ve been to every oncologist and they can’t do anymore. Please, I’m desperate.” She went with him and the crowd followed. As they were going there was a man who fought Leukemia for many years. He had suffered through doctor after doctor, treatment after treatment, remission, and reappearance for more than seven years. He had spent all that he had on doctors and treatments. He now lived on the streets as he could no longer afford treatment or housing. He heard reports about Esperanza and came up behind her in the crowd. He reached out and brushed her jacket. He thought, “If I touch even the hem of her clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately he could feel the fresh blood coursing through his veins. Esperanza, feeling that power had gone out from her, immediately turned and looked around. “Who touched my jacket?” Philip said to her, “Uh there are tons of people here, we are kind of crowded?” The man knowing what had been done to him came ashamed and raised his hand. She looked at him and smiled. “Because you believed, you have been healed. Go, be free.”  At that moment Jeremy’s phone rang. He answered, and began to shake. The phone call was his wife telling him that their daughter was dead. Esperanza placed a hand on his shoulder, “Don’t worry, I’ll make it better.” She told the crowd to stay behind only Jeremy, Iago, John, and Peter were allowed to come. When they arrived at Jeremy’s house there were many family members weeping. She looked at them and said, “Don’t cry, she isn’t dead, but sleeping.” They grew visibly angry at this but Jeremy held them off by holding up a hand. Esperanza turned and went to the daughter’s room. She took her hand and said, “Child, get up.” Just then she got up looked at Esperanza who ushered her back to the front rooms. There she saw her mother and family. She said in a groggy voice, “Mommy, I’m hungry.” At this, the crowd gasped. Esperanza told them all to say nothing about this event.

<  Chapter 8 Chapter 10  >

 

Please follow and like us:

The Story of Esperanza Reyes: Chapter 8

Chapter 8:

As Esperanza and her group returned to Leakey, a police officer approached the group. Some were filled with fear at this. The officer approached Esperanza he said, “Miss, my son… He’s lying paralyzed at home. I think he’s becoming sicker. I need help.” At this, he began weeping and hiding his face.  Esperanza put her arm around him and comforted him, ” I will come and heal him.”

The Officer looked sternly at her, “You don’t have to come, I’m not ordering you or anything. I just… Just say a word and he will be healed. I know it. I just do.” At this Esperanza looked at him with amazement. She turned back to her group and said this, “In all of my travels I don’t think I have met someone who believed in me as much as this man.” She smirked, Peter pulled out his phone and began to record, “I tell you many will gather at the table and see those they have not listened to but should have. You will see that had you listened, you may have believed like this man does.” She turned to the officer, “Go home, your son is healed.” At that very moment, the officer’s phone rang. He answered and immediately collapsed in a joyful weep. He looked up through tear welled eyes and managed, “Thank you!”

Shortly following that encounter, Esperanza and her group were in a city called Brady. There was a large crowd gathered as she yet again went viral. As they were walking down the street there was funeral moving out of a church. The pallbearers were carrying out a coffin of a young man. This young man was the only child of a woman who had been widowed. There was a large crowd with her as her son was killed in the line of duty while serving in the military abroad. When Esperanza saw her, she had compassion on her and said, “I understand. I’m so sorry.” She went and touched the coffin, the pallbearers stopped where they were. She said, “Young man, get up it is not your time.” Just then the coffin rattled. The pallbearers set it down and backed away in fear. He opened the coffin and sat up. A large gasp of fear went through the crowd. He rubbed his eyes, and looked at his mother. He asked, “Why are you crying?” Esperanza slowly retreated and left. The crowd began asking after her, “Where did this woman come from? How is she able to raise the dead? This is certainly the end times!” The story spread far and wide. Many questioned the validity of this story. Many took it to mean all manner of things.

Some of Juan’s followers found Esperanza in Brady. They asked her, “Are you the Messiah, or should we be looking for someone else?” They had asked her this question after her lesson and had seen her sit with many following the lesson hearing, healing, and sharing with those who gathered. She smiled at them and said, “Go tell my cousin what you heard and saw here. You saw those who have been paralyzed walk again, the blind regain their sight, those with Auto-immune diseases cured, the dead raised, addicts cleansed, and the poor fed and given a chance to succeed. These people are amazing for not taking offense at the things that I have said and done.”

After Juan’s followers left Esperanza spoke again to those gathered about her cousin: “What did you expect when you went out to see him? Were you expecting something grander? Were you expecting the spectacle of it all? There is more spectacle at the white house. There is more spectacle on television. What then did you want from him? A prophet? Yes, that he is. I tell you not a person alive or dead is greater. Though even the least of those in the Kingdom of the Divine are greater than he is. For all that has come before we have witnessed people trying to bring about the kingdom by force. There are those who try to force themselves into the Kingdom, but I tell you he knows the way. He taught about it. Those who listened to him know all are welcome in the Kingdom, no force is needed.”

When they heard this many turned to each other. There were still many gathered. Many who were considered sinners and unworthy. There were many in the LGBTQ community. There were drug dealers, prostitutes, porn stars, and more who had been shunned by even the most accepting of Jesuit churches and communities. They turned and rejoiced because they had been symbolically cleansed by Juan. Though there were still priests and rabbis who were gathered. They rejected what Esperanza had to say because it threatened the power systems that benefitted them.

Esperanza continued, “How should I put it? Many these days act like children pointing fingers and mocking those they disagree with. For Juan, who did not go out eating and partying with others and led a life that was ‘Holy’ they said he was from the devil. For me, who goes and eats and drinks with all of you they call me fat-ass and a drunk, a bleeding heart liberal snowflake! Though you can really see who is wise, and who isn’t.”

Soon afterward, She traveled on throughout the hill country of Texas meeting, talking to, and healing many. She brought the good news that all were loved by the Divine. The twelve were with her. There were also some others who had become close friends, these were some who had been set free from addictions and illnesses. There was Mary who spent the most time with Esperanza, as she had said Esperanza gave her life back to her. Chad was also with them, he was the husband to Joanna, the assistant to the Governor of Texas. There was a gender queer person named Sam, and many others who also accompanied the group on many journeys.

While Esperanza was giving a lesson to a large group of people, her family had come to see her. Sam had come up to her during the lesson and told her, “Your mother, father, and siblings are here and asking to speak with you.” She took the opportunity to use it in her lesson, “Who is my family?” She looked out at the crowd gathered and motioned to them. “Here, this is my family. Everyone who loves their fellow man, everyone who cares for the life they have been given, and the world they live in; they are my family. For when we care for what we have been given, we are connected.”

<  Chapter 7  |  Chapter 9  >

Please follow and like us:

The Story of Esperanza Reyes: Chapter 7

Chapter 7

One fall Sunday afternoon, Esperanza and her group were at a park. They were grilling hot dogs and hamburgers. There was plenty of food and drink for all. Everyone was having a wonderful time. A rabbi and a priest happened by and called Esperanza out from the group to talk to her.

They asked her, “Your friends are drinking on a Sunday, what if someone comes by and takes a picture of that?” She turned and asked them, “Are you more concerned for my friends, or for how they appear? Did you ever read that story about how David was in need and hungry? How did it appear when he and his friends ate the bread that only the Priests were allowed to eat? The weekend was made for human beings to not worry about appearances or anything else but to take time to relax. I suggest you do the same.” She turned and returned to her friends.

On another Sunday, Esperanza was teaching in a large Synagogue in San Antonio. There was a man there who had crippling arthritis. Both hands were worn and shriveled. The priests and rabbi watched her, to see if she would heal the man. They watched her, to see if she made the whole service about her supernatural healing gifts. Esperanza noticed them watching her intently. She looked at the man their eyes kept darting to and she invited him to stand where he was. She turned and looked at the priests and rabbi, “Is it against your religion to stop a service and help someone who is in need? Is it better to go on with the service and let someone suffer, or is it better to stop and help?” They stared back in silence. She turned to the man and asked him to stretch out his hands. As he did the bones set back into place and he bent his fingers without pain for the first time in years. The priests and rabbis left in a big show of storming out, mumbling to themselves about what had just happened and how to destroy her credibility.

After the service, many came from all over Texas to be healed. Esperanza had Peter ready the truck so she may stand in the bed and not be crowded by those that had gathered. She healed all that she could. She talked with each of them until late into the night. Many came seeking healing and someone to notice them. She noticed them all. She saw them right where they were. She saw beyond the masks they wore and disguises they put up to keep others out. She healed not just the physical, but the spiritual and emotional pain as well.

After such a day, she retreated to the hill country. She needed time alone to heal herself. When she returned, she met with those she called friends, who had followed her and become her closest allies. There was Simon who she called Peter, Andres his brother, Iago and his husband John, Philip and Natalie, Levi, Thomas, Jaymee the daughter of Alfredo Jimenez, Sara who was very knowledgeable about religion and texts, Jessica who was Iago and John’s adopted daughter, and Jaime who was the the one who turned Esperanza in.

As Esperanza’s story went more and more viral, more and more people came to hear her speak. She had to start holding lessons in large auditoriums and convention centers. She would always take the time to sit and talk with those who came, though. Her friends would feed them and take care of those who gathered. One particular Sunday, she gave this lesson:

Great are the poor,
for they own the kingdom of the Divine.

Great are they who weep,
because they understand what it is to suffer.

Great are the meek,
because they will be the great leaders of the Earth.

Great are they that study,
because they will understand that which needs understanding.

Great are the merciful,
because they themselves will recieve it in kind.

Great are those who love and care for others,
for in them is the face of the Divine.

Great are those who make peace,
because they are truly the children of the Divine.

Great are those who get put down or beaten up for doing the right thing,
because they know what the Divine really wants.

Great are you when you encounter difficult times for doing the right thing,
don’t worry about such things because you did what was right and good. Many people will say and do horrible things to you, but don’t stop doing what is right. Love even those who do such things, be kind to them who hate you. When they go low, take the high road. It will show them that you are human, and thus you should be treated. If you only love those who love you, how does that make a difference? If you only give to those who have “earned it”, how has that made a difference? Love your enemies, be kind, and give freely expecting nothing in return. That will show that you are one with the Divine. Be merciful, even as the Divine is merciful.

Don’t judge people. Don’t condemn people without knowing them. Forgive people. Give freely! Why do you want to judge people without knowing them or even yourself at all! How can you judge someone when you have so much wrong with yourself as well? Work on your own faults, and don’t worry about what other people are working on.

Do good! Be known for doing good! For a good tree gives good fruit. So should you give good things. Be the apple tree of good. Give good apples to all who need of them. The good person out of good treasure of his heart produces good. Everyone who does good to his fellow man is strong and can weather anything.

But to you who are rich, you have already won your prize.

To you who have eaten your fill, you will be hungry one day.

To you who laugh at others, you will suffer one day.

To you who appear to have it all together, watch out because the truth will come out.

You who injure those who do the right thing, who do good, you are shaky at best. You can’t weather the storms that are coming. When you are in need it is these who will be the ones who help you, they will not turn you away like you did to them. So get it together. You only claim to do good to appear good. If you have no intention of being good, why do you pretend? When we are with the Divine many of you will say that you were good and were kind and loving, yet you be found lacking a single good deed.

After this lesson, Esperanza again spoke with many, healed many, and was present with all who wished her company. In early evening Esperanza and her group returned to Leakey to again stay at Peter’s house.

<  Chapter 6  |  Chapter 8  >

Please follow and like us: