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“Thou Shalt Not Kill.”

This ancient commandment first purported to King Hammurabi in his Code (1755–1750 BCE), the sixth King of the first dynasty of Babylon, later influenced the Ten Commandments that Yahweh presented to Moses on Mount Sinai, between 1000-900 BCE. Later, Jesus of Nazareth enlarged on this commandment as found in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s gospel (50–100 CE). And still later, between 609-622 CE, the prophet Mohammed incorporated this commandment in the Quran, 5:32.

Temples, synagogues, churches, cathedrals, basilicas, and mosques have abounded throughout the world, its worshipers intent upon learning and practicing its sacred texts.

It could not be clearer: “Thou shalt not kill.” Yet, regard our global history, filled with genocides, wars, ethnic cleansing, assassinations, and back-alley and ransom shootings—And today’s killing eyes peering through slits of face-scarfs, trigger-fingers poised on new H & K G3 battle weapons.

It’s seems to be about unbridled anger, power, greed, and the obliteration of spirit.

We wait and ask Your protection and care with complete abandon. 

“It’s hot this afternoon. Would you like a Popsicle?—I didn’t know if I could offer you one,” I said to the delivery man, after signing the form for my monthly supply of oxygen tanks and supplies for my nebulizer. Tall, muscular, his blue uniform T-shirt rumpled around the collar, his khaki shorts besmirched from the day’s deliveries, I could feel a wide grin behind his mask as he loaded up the empty tanks on his gurney.

“That’s mighty nice,” he said in spirited deep tones that resembled preachers pastoring their flock. “You’re right. It’s been one of those days. I’ll take these empties to the truck, then come back.”

In no time was he again standing on my front porch; his choice: blueberry, received with a hearty “God bless you!” his dark eyes dancing like fireflies.

Although our exchange was brief, I was touched by his cheerfulness, his listening to my limits without my mentioning them, his touching my loneliness with God’s sweetness, and his enlarging my crimped world with meaning. Both us us knew we were loved unconditionally, within the particulars of those few moments: lightness buoyed our hearts and drew our gaze toward the Immense. It only took a Popsicle.

Around 4 A.M., I awoke with this loud dream:

It was 1429, a sun-filled afternoon in the town square at Orleans, France, resounding with jubilant hoots of victory. The French army, under the command of Joan of Arc, had just defeated the British and restored the Dauphin to his rightful place on the throne. She looked stunning, armored, and astride her white horse, her victory more of God’s work than her own.

The deafening noise of the dream hurt so much that I scrambled awake to the quiet of my bedroom where I sat up and caught my bearings. In 1977, I had spent an afternoon in the Old City, at Orleans, France, marveled at the equestrian statue of the Maid of Orleans, but it had little resemblance to the dream’s image.

The Joan of Arc in my psyche heartens me—yet another spirit guide to lead me through the pitfalls of my terminal illness, at times like a pus-filled enemy beset with fears and setbacks. The British enemies Joan contended with pale in comparison.

Indeed, in my depths wage intermittent 24/7 wars. Vigilance to prevent these intrusions from scabbing old wounds augments my chronic exhaustion and weakness. Each day’s challenge is to remain steadfast in faith to Creator God who has companioned me for over eighty-five years. That’s a long time to be around, I often tell Him.

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