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Mythic Passages - The Magazine of Imagination - Copyright 2008

Fragrant Offerings
© 2008 by The Society of the Transfiguration and Sr. Diana Dorothea

Medieval angel with lily"Alle-looooooooooo-ia! To the Most Holy and Gracious and Super-fabulous Lord of Hosts, Eternal, Everlasting, and Totally Cooooooooool!" Angel-Strong-in-Capacity-for-Righteousness-and-Upholder-of-Perfection-in-Everything sang out while soaring wildly Heavenward. The overjoyed angel landed with a flourish, wings glistening with excitement. The Heavenly Host shared Scrupe's delight.

"You seem pleased, My friend," commented the Triune One mildly.

"Wait until You see all these!" Scrupe warbled, gesturing enthusiastically to a herd of great winged horses laden with gifts. The horses landed happily, curveting, prancing, and neighing praises with glee. Wings held gracefully aloft, they bowed their heads and bent their forelegs in homage. Rising in unison, they followed Scrupe to the Altar on which fragrant offerings burn forever before the Throne of Grace and from which blessings flow.

The All-Knowing Majesty takes pleasure in anything created ones long to share, even though it is already Known and has been through all the Eternities. "Show Me, beloved."

Scrup beckoned imperiously, and the first winged horse trotted forward. Carefully, Scrupe unwrapped a loving sacrifice. A chocolate cupcake decorated with sprinkles rested on the angel's hand. "This is from little Bobby Fitzroy. His sister scraped her knee and was crying. Bobby really loves chocolate cupcakes and wanted this one, but he gave it to his sister to make her feel better."

The entire Host of Heaven exclaimed in awe over the beauty of the sacrifice. Bobby's guardian angel blushed happily. Guardian angels learn early how important chocolate can be to humans.

Guardian angels exchanged high-fives when Scrupe unveiled offerings from two sisters, both struggling with weight. Each agreed that, when she was tempted, she would pause, ponder, and then pray for the other. Their pact was making a difference for both of them as they took each tiny step forward in shared support and accountability.

Amidst great rejoicing, Scrupe unwrapped sacrifice after sacrifice. Each was precious, costly, and unique. Each was the cause of great celebration. Angels rejoiced over many of God's children who had prayerfully laid down their own wrong-doing, ceased blaming others for their choices, sought forgiveness, and done what they could to make amends. There were multi-colored jewels of sacrifice from people who care tenderly for others. Great blooming flowers of joy came from the offerings of tongues stilled in the face of temptation to speak judgement, unkind criticism, sarcasm, gossip.

It took five of the winged horses to carry the offerings of humbled pride as various of God's children admitted their need for God and one another. Willingness to admit to having been wrong about something, willingness to let someone else have their way, willingness to try a different approach — all of these sacrifices, humbly offered, were received with gladness.

Winged horse"And here," Scrupe exclaimed, barely able to speak for joy, "are some I never dreamed possible!" Thirty-nine of the glistening horses, wings shimmering in the Uncreated Light of Grace, came forward at a flying gallop, pulled up in excited unison before the Altar and bent their knees with a flourish. The other angels excitedly joined Scrupe in removing the gifts the horses carried and carrying them in triumph to the Altar. The Angelic Chorus began to sing splendid Hosannas as sacrifice after sacrifice was placed on the Altar, and the Love from those gifts poured out as healing balm on those of God's children who are willing to receive it.

"O Most Wondrous and Redeeming Lord, there was a whole bunch of Your bishops from all over the world. They came together and talked and, even better, they LISTENED to each other. They prayed together. Most of them admitted that they didn't know everything, and they studied Your Word TOGETHER! They really wanted to hear YOU, not just themselves! Here are some of their most humble sacrifices! Look!" Scrupe poured out a shimmering stream of vulnerability. "And see these!" Costly compassion sprung from willingness to see and share each others' pain, to reach out in love.

"Here is humble willingness to do what is right, no matter what it costs. And here are prayers more numerous than the sand of all the seas in all the worlds, really seeking truth and what you want, and asking You to lead and really meaning it! And here..." Scrupe's loving eyes began to overflow with tears, "...these are the offerings of deep sorrow for those who would not come together to Your Table, and prayers of most self-giving penitence and intercession for all the divisions in Your Church."

All the Host of Heaven fell silent in wonder and astonishment. At a sign from the Lord God, Scrupe reached for a flame from a great Star -- the Star that dances close enough to Earth only to bring tidings of great joy — and let the fire consume the offerings. The healing, redeeming fragrance of such loving sacrifices, sweeter than any incense, poured blessings over the most lonely souls and the most hurting parts of the earth.

"Totally AWESOME!" Scrupe exclaimed. "I'll bet they don't even know what joy they are giving us!"

The Source of All smiled as angels, winged horses, saints, and all the company of Heaven sang and danced in celebration.

"Alle-loooooooooooo-ia! To the Most Holy and Gracious and Super-fabulous Lord of Hosts, Eternal, Everlasting, and Totally Coooooool!" sang the irrepressible Scrupe.

"Amen," the Heavenly Host responded, joy and amusement flowing through the eternities.

Sr. Diana Dorothea is a nun in the Community of the Transfiguration, winding up her work as the Bursar in preparation for a move from Cincinnati to Northern California. She edits The Transfiguration Quarterly for the community, and has authored several Scrupe stories.

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