A Defiant Love – Part 3
A Narrative of the Holy Trinity’s Posture Toward Humanity
As the two stood holding one another, Joanna’s voice rose next to them, softly and clearly, “I’m going back.”
Sophia and Jehovah turned slowly toward her. “You can’t be serious,” Jehovah said while Sophia’s mouth hung open in disbelief.
“Of course I’m serious,” Joanna replied. “I didn’t accomplish what I went to do. I need to go back and finish what I started.”
“Yes, well, absolutely,” Jehovah replied, flustered. “I know there’s work to be done, but not now. They’re not ready. Wait. Later generations will be better equipped. They’ll be able to receive you.”
“Ready?” Joanna blinked. “Ready? No, of course they’re not ready. That’s the point. If someone were ready for redemption they wouldn’t need to be redeemed. If I wait, the time will never come. No, the time is now. Right now.”
Sophia and Jehovah stood silently. They looked from Joanna to each other and back. As much as they wanted to, they couldn’t disagree. Joanna’s presence in the world changed the very fabric of it in a way that their presences never had or would. But she hadn’t gone to change the world as such; she had gone to change what it meant to live a human life. Without being recognized for the prophet-savior she was, and without a community to carry on the Spirit after Joanna’s time on earth, humanity’s sin remained unredeemed.
As the hard truth of Joanna’s words washed over Sophia, she slowly sank to the ground weeping. The toll on her was enormous, and it showed. If Jehovah was Joanna’s father, Sophia was her twin sister, and the pain she felt was crippling. Joanna rose from the bed, her bruises already fading more quickly than Sophia’s, and knelt next to her, drawing her into an embrace.
“It won’t work,” Sophia argued through her tears. “It won’t get better for them, look ahead, Joanna. There will still be war, sickness, death, destruction. Your being human won’t annihilate Satan. It won’t work.”
“Look farther ahead, Sophia,” Joanna said gently, patiently. “Our work will not be fulfilled until the end of story, and—you know this—the end will not begin until I start it.
“The violence of sin is too great for humanity to survive it,” Joanna continued. “They need me to show them divine justice, mercy, and healing. It’s the only way out of where they’ve found themselves.”
“They will kill you,” Jehovah said softly, a statement of fact.
“They will kill my human body, but then I will show them the power of resurrection. Let them kill me so that I can defeat death for their benefit.”
Joanna and Jehovah looked to Sophia, who shook her head, tears streaming. “What did we do wrong?”
Jehovah and Joanna knew that Sophia, the very soul of creation, blamed herself for the violent state of the world. It was this sense of guilt that had hardened her as she witnessed generation after generation self-destruct in greed and jealousy. From before the beginning, the Three had been bursting with such joy at the works of their hearts, but it had been Sophia with her deeply felt intuition and unique intimacy with creation who had been the first to experience the agony of loss as, one by one, their children turned away. The bruises on her body only obscured the deep scars she bore.
The seer, Jehovah knew that Joanna’s sacrifice really would finally tear Sophia asunder. He also knew that is what it meant for God’s power to be greatest in humanity’s weakness, for what cost Sophia the most was not in fact her sister’s pain, but the hearts of the people who perpetrated it. However, it would be this final rending of herself that would loose her presence in the earth in a new, more powerful way. It would be tandem to Joanna’s initial salvific work and change the course of humanity.
“We loved them well,” Jehovah said tenderly. He shared in her grief and he longed for wholeness for their own sakes as well as for humanity’s, and yet he was certain he didn’t regret their decision to gift humans with free will. “We loved them well,” he repeated after a moment of quiet; then continued, “we gave them freedom, and they have embraced it with all their might. Our beautiful children, so filled to bursting with life in all they do, good and bad. Onto whom would we lavish our love without them?”
After sitting quietly together for some time, Jehovah asked Joanna, “What would you like to do next?”
“I want live a fuller human life on earth. I want to start out as an infant and grow up—with siblings, neighbors, schoolmates.” Sophia and Jehovah nodded, listening. “And I need to go as a man this time.”
Sophia looked skeptical. “Joanna,” she said. “Be realistic. Do you honestly think that’s going to make a difference in people’s ability to receive a message of radical revolution? It’s the content that makes people angry, not the packaging.”
“No, the packaging does matter—I had no social clout as a woman. As a boy I’ll be able to go to school and interact with religious teachers. It will be a more effective route than entering society as an unknown adult—or as a baby girl.”
The Three were quiet for some time as they reflected on the acute pain they were about to enter into once again. Jehovah mourned the loss of true partnership and community in the early days of creation. Sophia felt the ache of her muscles and bones and looked down at her bare arms, lightly running her fingers over her bruises and the scars beneath. Joanna was scared and defiant at the same time; unlike her partners, she had experienced oppression firsthand. She gazed at the horizon and knew she would never be the same.
The very air surrounding them crackled with the intensity of their emotions and they were finally of an accord, ready to act. Sophia spoke for all of them, calling the angel Gabriel. He appeared opposite her and, nervous in the highly charged space, remained silent and expectant.
Sophia made eye contact first with Joanna and then with Jehovah for their final assent. They each nodded in turn and Sophia, eyes moist, looked at Gabriel and said, “We have a message to deliver to the first disciple. Go to Mary and tell her that she will give birth to a baby,” she paused. “And his name will be Jesus.”