The monks on the Isle of Estillyen are renowned for their dramatic readings based on Scripture narratives–readings that are featured in the book Messages from Estillyen. The twelve readings will now be offered here for viewing. One reading will be added each week, in conjunction with the launching of the “Lucifer’s Speech to the Netherworld” essay contest.
Update: All twelve readings have been added! Read them all. Ponder the message.
“Those who swear to follow no one follow at least one. They follow self. Self is full of words lodging in the heart. Did you ever think of your heart that way, Voice? A repository you are. Words have willed their way,winnowing hrough your mind, rooting in your heart. They move you. They accuse you. They excuse and abuse you. There’s so much more to words, Voice, than intonation and resonation.” – excerpt from “Centering in Christ”
“READER: Words are thought descriptors. They project thoughts from anonymity. They transfer thoughts into messages. Messages move the world. . . .
VOICE: When does a message become a message, anyway?
READER: When it leaves its origin and transfers meaning in another place. That’s the mark of a message.” – excerpt from “Let Them Go!”
“READER: God thinks. Does he not? Certainly he does. God thinks in ways beyond knowing, thoughts ever flowing. Creating, communicating, ordering, searching, weighing. In God’s reckoned way, he said this to that, and light was let; the formless formed; the earth was born. Divine thoughts through and through give equilibrium its balance, hold everything together. God never quit, never went away. He’s always there.” – excerpt from “Piercing Words”
“Around the crosses three Freeze [death’s signatory] had surely crept, circling all their bases, waiting to leap, sensing time and pulses faint. Then upon the center cross Freeze leapt. Climbing up on crimson stain, Freeze moved to seize the One with the wordy plaque and thorny crown—the envy of the hill. It was time for pulsing to end its marathon of life. No more pulsing, no more coursing of the blood. Thick darkness draped o’er the land, eclipsing the sun.” -excerpt from “Stop Doubting and Believe”
“The atmosphere on this chilling-killing day was mournfully convulsive. At least it was for some, but certainly not for all. It was a day of retribution for the religious elite. Their fortitude had paid off. They had won, or so they thought. Good riddance was the mood, a chance to finally shake their fists at this dangerous zealot threatening to destroy God’s temple.
For the disciples, bewilderment is the word most appropriate. They had left everything to follow, to learn, to become disciples. Their Redeemer was destined to die. They watched and listened as their Lord, so confessed, hung before them, dying.” – excerpt from “Remember Me”
“Down the Mount of Transfiguration Christ moved, no longer mysteriously incandescent, far above on the mountaintop. With his disciples Peter, James, and John, Christ made his descent with divine intent. Toward the plain below he headed, drawn down by humanity’s gravitational pull. Want and need were ripe for harvest. People were in pain. The oppressed and possessed mingled in the lowland that day, waiting to see in Christ a bit of hope they might profess.”– excerpt from “A Cry in the Crowd’
“The Transfiguration is a story rich with imagery conveyed by words. It’s one of the most amazing stories in all of Scripture. The Transfiguration is saturated with substance, shedding a certain light found nowhere else in the sacred texts.
The centerpiece of the story is the transfigured Christ. The Transfiguration dispels any notion that Jesus of Nazareth was a kind of ingenious messiah figure who functioned with spellbinding zeal and clairvoyant wit. The image of Christ transfigured is that of his divinity permeating his humanity.” -excerpt from “Get Up–Don’t Be Afraid”
“Listen to a few ancient words from Solomon by way of Ecclesiastes: ‘There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.’ Words of wisdom, these words remembered, not lost and forgotten. For most words this is not the case. As time’s pendulum swings, the words of most men, and those of their kin, disappear without a whisper.” – excerpt from “The Word Became Flesh”
“Voice, dear Voice, intricacies of the cosmos are never still. The uninvented is there invented. Wisdom and divine intent swim along, tethering everything together. The notion of heaven being a boring place arises from people with the naiveté of plants.” – excerpt from “Lips Unclean”
God is not squeamish about reality—and the cost of suffering matters greatly. Belief is purified by pain. The world knows pain aplenty, and numerous are those who suffer, many wretchedly so. A message of truth, void of pain and price, would be most suspicious and remiss if offered to a world of suffering souls. God’s message is not that sort. – excerpt from “The Scroll in the Fiery Pot”
READER: Words broken, loosed from medium and message, lay on the ground, speaking still. Curiously, they became a message new. With diffused meaning, words and letters called out from the heap.
The collective shatter formed a new kind of meaning. The message was more like an eagle’s nest fallen from its cliff. In the eagle’s nest, babies chirped. Chirping want, chirping fear. The shattered stony bits lay chirping, too. One by one, stones chirped of shame and confusion. – excerpt from “Picking Up the Pieces”
READER: Adam and Eve lay netted in nightmares on Eden’s soil: Reproach of conscience seized and squeezed their tortured souls. Long was the night that lingered to consume the light. hours of eerie, thick darkness crept, gifting its chilly blankets of doubt and despair. Reeling nightmares rendered perplexing, macabre images, which elbowed hearts deeply troubled. – excerpt from “Did God Really Say?”