Minnegeddon — New York City and the “Babylon” of Revelation 18 M4B*

 

Though born in Chicago, I grew up in Fairfield Connecticut, not far from New York City.  My parents were transplants from South Dakota, so, of course, everything about NYC was exciting to them.  Once we had settled in from the transfer from the Midwest (my father was a metallurgical engineer) we started taking day trips to New York.  One of my fondest memories is of going out to the Statue of Liberty on a foggy morning, watching the astoundingly beautiful monument emerge from the fog as we drew close to it, the golden flame in contrast to the gray drizzle. As I grew older, of course, I wanted to live there.  Who wouldn’t?  Fairfield was tiny, the area had nothing but a charming “seashore” (the Long Island Sound) strewn with seaweed and mussels.  I also sensed that New York City had a darkness, a mystery of sorts, that intrigued and puzzled me.

In early September 2001 I was giving flute lessons at a school for home-schooled students one day a week.  It was across the river from us, in the St. Paul, MN area.  As the school year had just started, there were new instructors.  One of them had a fairly simple last name, but I was unable to remember it correctly.  For some odd reason, I kept calling her Ms. “Huffman”.  I was puzzled, to say the least. Usually, I either remembered a person’s name exactly and forever, or not at all.  This was a bit different.

Every evening I read a chapter of the Bible before bed.  Sometimes there seems to be an inclination to focus on one chapter.  At that time, it was Revelation 18.  As I read through the terrifying prophecy of a city that would be sunk beneath the sea I wondered what it would feel like to see people covered in ashes, and asked myself what sort of disaster would take place in ‘just one hour’.  I tried to imagine how those with ships would stand far off and look at the smoke of this city’s burning.

On September 11 2001 I was sipping coffee, watching CNN, preparing for the day, when the news came in of a plane hitting one of the World Tower buildings.  It must have been a small plane, off its course, I remember thinking.  I don’t recall if anything to that effect was said by a newscaster. Then they showed footage of a gaping hole with smoke pouring out one side of the building.  I recalled for a moment something I had read about their construction long ago, when they were built.  The Twin Towers had ‘load-bearing walls’. One of those had been severely breached.  Below, the first responders seemed stunned and somehow terrified.  Although everyone was hoping for the best, the portents were there.

As news of the Pentagon hit came on the air I decided to still leave (I do not know why) for a dermatologist appointment not far away — it the city of Chanhassen, which is home, ironically, to a large golden pyramid-shaped temple connected to a group called Eckankar.  That temple had always given me an eery feeling; even more so that day.  When I went inside the doctor’s waiting room there was total silence — no TV, no radio.  I felt that I was in a time warp; but at least I was able to take a deep breath for a few moments.  After the routine appointment I went out to my car and turned on the radio and started up the car for the drive back home.  Stations were jumbled on top of each other.  The news seemed almost incomprehensible — both WTC towers had fallen, and a fourth plane had crashed into a field in Pennsylvania; ironically, not far from where I had once gone to school. I was unable to process all the new information, and began to become lightheaded.  I was on side roads by this time and drove carefully, ready to pull over if necessary.

When I returned home, of course, my husband confirmed my worst fears, and the news channels carried nothing else but this disaster.  Our borders had been breached for the first time since Pearl Harbor by, we were quickly told, a group of fanatics.  Two of them had trained at a place called “Huffman Aviation” in Florida.  When I heard that, I began to shake. I went back to Revelation 18.  The entire area near the WTC towers was covered in dust, and everyone looked like mummies.  The cameras panned on lower Manhattan from CNN in New Jersey, showing at a distance the smoke of its burning.   Every one of us watched, helplessly.  And for some reason I even now do not understand, I began to praise Gd — not for the attacks, but for preparing me to see that no matter what happened, His hand was also there in the darkness.  I think He held the buildings up as long as possible to get as many people as possible out.  I wondered if this tragedy would bring the city of New York to its knees in true repentance.

That was not to be — instead, they have rebuilt.

So could 9/11 have been a heads-up?  How about, also, Hurricane Sandy, which actually changed direction and headed directly toward New York City, creating terrible calamity?  Over 300 students at Fairfield University became homeless as a result of its assault on just that small section of the shoreline of the Long Island Sound.

New York City still stands.  But for how long?  Will it become true in reality at some point that “the sound of …flutists…shall not be heard in you anymore?”  Rev. 18:22(a)

*M4B=Mozart For Believers

 

 

 

 

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Oh, let’s make fun of the libretto to Die Zauberflote…:-0 M4B*

Throughout the 200-odd years since Mozart’s last major opera, The Magic Flute, was premiered in Vienna on September 30, 1791 (coincidentally, the day which, at midnight, ushered in, thanks to the machinations of a real-life “Monostatos” and his cohorts, the recent lockout of players by the Minnesota Orchestra), there has been scarcely a music critic anywhere who hasn’t felt comfortable and probably had a good laugh taking potshots at the libretto.  Not to be outdone, the curiously anti-Mozart movie Amadeus decried the magic flute, magic bells, etc, as ridiculous. Perhaps we should ask the MO’s own Sir Neville Marriner about this, as he was involved with it!  The point of the objections seem to be that nobody on the planet should take the libretto seriously, unless they want to join the tin-hat UFO believers, or perhaps those who believe JFK was killed by a conspiracy!  In short, it is just not musically-correct to look at the libretto of this opera with an objective eye, much less try to determine what a genius such as Mozart was thinking of when he agreed to it.

Here is one example of a typical ‘analysis’, at a musical website:

http://www.musicwithease.com/magic-flute-synopsis.html

I have emailed them to let them know that them analysis is a little shortsighted.  That will probably get a chuckle too.

One character in the opera though, who, to my mind, is severely undeveloped, is that of the snake that appears in the opening scene.  It is so terrifying that Tamino faints, and the handmaidens of the Queen of the Night have to kill it for him.  Then, of course, the feathered Papageno enters into the fray, claiming that it was he who was the hero.  A charming scene, no doubt; but somehow Wolf seemed to be missing the point!  This is a terrifying creature.  It might have better been described as a dragon than as a snake.  However, there is, in the Bible, a great and terrifying snake — it is called Leviathan, and is found in the book of Job.  Leviathan represents an evil spirit, or presence, that entwines itself in our faith and in our finances, and seeks to work ill in both.  In fact, one of the most difficult and torturous areas of Christian life seems to be just that — being grounded in faith while not being devoured by a love of money.

In my life, having lived through this opera, viewing it from the inside, I can say without a doubt that this snake is possibly the most powerful long-term character in the opera.  In fact, it is the snake, or dragon, that gives power to the Queen of the Night and to Monostatos.  This Leviathan has insinuated itself into the lives of everyone I know, trying to get them to turn against Gd’s will for them.  And, as I am aware of how some of the characters ‘should’ act, it has been incredibly distressing to watch them ‘morph’ into something ugly.

So, when we decide to take a look at the libretto to Die Zauberflote again, perhaps we might at least give pause, and acknowledge that, perhaps, there is some sort of mystery here?  Something beyond our simple understanding?

Just a thought…:-)

M4B=Mozart For Believers

 

Minnegeddon and the awesome burden of Die Zauberflote…M4B*

When I was a child, playing the flute, I had no idea of the chaos that was occurring around me.  It seemed to me that most that heard its lovely sound were taciturn. I later learned that was the spiritual equivalent of gnashing their teeth.  Others simply wept with tears of joy — my Grandpa Gardner, for one.  At the time, I thought he was simply pleased that I was given a gift of music.  Now I realize it was much more, even, than that…

Now I realize with sadness and even dread that there is a terrible burden connected with playing die zauberflote.  Its sound and presence causes many to stumble and behave badly.  Even my most precious loved ones have fallen prey to this devastating reality.

There seems to be a mystery attached to this — again, something I was not able to put together in a coherent manner as a child.  Apparently, I am supposed to be conditioned to allow people to use die zauberflote against Gd’s will.  I perceive this conclusion (though it is false) as the expected consequence of the persecution and even torture that included poisoning on the part of my birth family.  I was also conditioned by them to ‘believe’ a false gospel. Later I learned that my Mother, at least,  was very possibly an apostate “Christian”.  I was apparently supposed to be a helpless fool — someone who was not ‘good with money’ and so ‘needed to be taken care of’.  A sort of Man-Can whom the underworld of music could use at will.

After countless interactions with supposed ‘professional’ musicians I have little doubt that it is this misconception that fuels their disrespect and even at times palpable contempt of me and their attempts to sandbag and dead-end me at every turn.  From the moment I met the person at the hub of what I call “Monostatos” — a bass player (the lowest of the low!) I had the distinct impression that, for some reason, it was ‘either me or him.’  The two energies — that of die zauberflote (a gift of shalom) — and that of worldly players — could not exist together.  I gradually came to understand that Gd was asking me to start over, and to find players who were comfortable with me and die zauberflote.  That has not been an easy task, and I can recount a series of episodes, either comical or sad, depending on one’s viewpoint, to attest to this difficulty.

So as I move forward with what I call Minnegeddon it is with sorrow and awe, for the warm reception that I once anticipated for someone having a direct connection to Wolfgang Mozart has been tempered and refined by the knowledge that during his lifetime most not only wished him dead, but a handful may have acted upon that ill-intent. So what I once envisioned as a rapturous revival is now revealing itself to be a stark and even morbid reality that die zauberflote and I will face no more love and grace in the future than we have in the past.  The thought of almost everyone stumbling over it is almost more than I can bear.  But I came across this Bible verse, that speaks to the heart of what is happening — “I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.”
http://biblehub.com/romans/11-11.htm I have read it many times, but did not understand before that it does, in fact, contain an alternative to simply stumbling and falling.  It contains the boundless gift of love that is our Gd, that will go to the ends of the earth and back again to bring us close to Him.  I have seen that in my own family, even with my own precious children.  I know this to be true.  And that gives me confidence to move forward…

M4B*= Mozart For Believers

 

 

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