My kingdom does not belong to this world.
Continuing with Mumford, The City in History. Also for today, revisiting The Master and Margarita, a novel written in the 1920s and 1930s by Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov (d. 1940) and published posthumously a generation later. His acknowledged masterpiece, a work of magic realism that borrows from and updates the legend of Faust, playfully savages life in the Soviet Union under Stalin. But what draws me back to the novel is its parallel narrative of a day in the life of Pontius Pilate. Not just any day, but the day he sentences Jesus to death. The novel portrays the encounter as a conversation between Jesus and Pilate interrupted, a life-determining opportunity missed for the procurator of Judea. But in Bulgakov's rendering, there is something like redemption for Pilate as the parallel plots are resolved and merge. In the end, Bulgakov imagines Jesus and Pilate resuming their nighttime conversation on a moonlit path ascending heavenward. A beautiful image. If even Pilate can cross over from the rule of Caesar to at least consider the rule of Christ, who cannot be saved?
Yesterday, sweet vindication as I tried again with the vegan buttery double pie crust and succeeded. This time, I filled two pies with blueberries, and the desserts both looked and tasted great. A tip of the hat to the novice brother who suggested I bake the pies longer and at a lower heat. That was the most important improvement, but also I rolled out the crusts to a greater thickness than the first time, and I figured out how to crimp the edges better. I received twice the compliments for the blueberry pies with twice the satisfaction.
This morning, Mass at Old Mission Santa Ines on this, the final Sunday of the liturgical year, the solemnity of Christ the King. Appreciated the pastor's homily, which distinguished the reign of Christ from the reign of earthly nations. Whereas the rule of the worldly powers is benevolent only within prescribed boundaries of race, class, ethnicity, religion, and territory; limited in time and space, and violent to the point of assailing love and truth with the weapons of war, the kin(g)dom of heaven is boundless, everlasting, and non-violent. It is for Christ's reign that we live first, and for our earthly nation second and only insofar as allegiance to God's rule is not compromised.
May we serve no "lord" but God and no "king" but Jesus Christ. May we all cross over and transfer our citizenship, so to speak, to that peaceful kin(g)dom. Only there can we all live.
Beautiful, blue, and brisk. The world may be passing away again, but today it is still alive.