Chapter Fourteen: Christina the Astonishing Part Two

Editor’s Note: Christina lived a remarkable and—even someone as jaded as me can admit—holy life after, well, “Up From The Grave She Rose.” Her good works often go forgotten in the face of her miraculous undeath. The below text was found between the covers of Christina’s journals, handwritten pages signed “Friends of Christina The Astonishing” in about three different handwritings (all women, if I had to guess). When I brought up the possibility of Christina The Astonishing having followers recording her deeds to Christine—my close friend who says her mom wanted to name her after Christina but was vetoed by her dad—she said it was likely. 

After returning from death to her corporeal body, Christina was granted a renewed vision for what her life and duty to the Lord God and people of Vine was to be. This is an account of some of the deeds of Christina The Astonishing: 

Christina Renounces Material Possession

Upon reflection regarding her vision of purgatory wherein she saw the labors of humanity evaporate to dust at the whim of the Lord Christina determined to take a view of poverty as the monks and servants of Christ of old had done. She implored her parents to do the same and thus it was that Christina and her family donned sackclothes and ate humbly for the rest of their days; sharing in all possessions with the lowest and most unfortunate of Vine. 

The Miller and The Manly-Hearted Woman

Now there were in those days—as in today—still some Indigenous Peoples among the people of Vine and those who had converted to Christianity and adopted the ways of Vine were treated with the respect and dignity afforded to those who received the calling of Vine. A miller whom had married an Indigenous Woman came to Christina and spoke asking: 

“Christina: I have taken this person to be my spouse in the eyes of the Lord our God in the Church of Vine. We have had our union blessed and live humbly and happy in the bounty of Vine. But a remnant of her Native culture remains: that my spouse is a Manly-Hearted Woman; strong and assertive in the ways of a man. My spouse is broad-shouldered and boastful as well as skillful in hunting and fishing. My spouse is my great love and ours is a union as eternal as God’s shining sun. Yet others say that our union is unnatural and unsanctioned in the eyes of God. What should we do O Christina?”

And Christina spoke saying: “The Lord God has blessed us with the capacity of love. Guiding hands in darkness. Bonded hearts in cosmic nebulae greater than any one mind can fathom. As grows the sunflower so too does a honeybee drink from its nectar. Watch now! The rabbits of the field have a peaceful moment without a predator as they graze the hills. Our domain on Earth can only be in the satchel of one another. Embrace the Lord’s blessing and worry not the whispers of others.”

The Farmers

Now it was in those days that strife and fracture had befallen the United States and the country edged closer each day to Civil War. The farmers of Vine came to Christina and asked: 

“Our neighboring nation allows for slave labor to tend their fields. They grow rich on the backs of the enslaved and the wealth of their nation is as a towering lion padding its paws over a grub. Is it not right for God’s chosen people in the Americas to grow and prosper as others?”

And Christina spoke saying: “The greatest dignity the Lord our God has bestowed upon us is to be stewards of the land; mindful stewards of God’s creation; it is our honor to carry with us. For look: do not the leaves of the trees shake at the music of the Lord? Does not the lake flow from the rivers in the mountains water sourced from the Earth to satiate our thirst and wash our bodies before the lake continues on its quest to the next river knowing its duty shall remain fulfilled in Vine? To pass off the responsibility God granted unto us in caring for the land would be great sin. For we would be rejecting the gift of God. Verily: those who honor the land are highest in the Eyes of The Lord.”

Thus did the farmers return to their fields with renewed vigor at their labor. 

The Elders Question Christina The Astonishing

Now it was in those days that the purging of the witches was still a recent memory; that a return of witches was an omnipresent fear in the minds of the Elders. Given Christina’s astonishing episode the Elders had in mind to sense a threat to their power but were granted non-violent steady wisdom by God. The Elders chose to proceed with a line of questioning:

“How is it that you came to be the chosen of Vine?”

And Christina spoke saying: “My mother and father knew not father and mother; remember not the time before Vine. They profess to have been reborn on the road in the initial Caravan of Outcasts that became the people of Vine and have no recollection of a moment before. Thus I am of Vine.” 

But the Elders were not satisfied. For they wished to catch Christina in a trap: “Are you a witch? Do you not claim resurrection as did Christ?”

And Christina spoke saying: “I participate not in witchcraft; nor do I seek those who do. Neither still do I claim resurrection nor special rank from God; only that I have been restored and in my restoration chosen to guide and assist the people of Vine.”

But the Elders were not satisfied. For they wished to catch Christina in a trap: “How is it that you speak of the people of Vine as stewards of the land, language known to be used by witches?” 

And Christina spoke saying: “Again I say that I do not claim witchcraft. Do the Elders provide evidence of witchcraft? Do the Elders provide evidence of my villainy? Do the Elders dare assert with precision their fear of me? They cannot; God will not allow it. I am a humble servant of the Lord God and the people of Vine; called to give aid to the downtrodden.”

Thus did the Elders return to their offices; befuddled and unable to deny the power of Christina the Astonishing. 

Christina Heals The Sick Of Vine
So it was in those days that disease and plague continued even as Vine grew and prospered. The people of Vine did not despair; for Christina was known and respected as a healer—from the highest orders of medicine to unspoken homespun remedies of the houswifry of Vine. Many came to Christina, including those with arthritic joints, chicken pox, barren wombs, cleft palettes, cleft lips, and a husband’s impotencies. Christina the Astonishing came to the aid of all—in her own way. Thus during her lifetime did the people of Vine advance in health with the guiding hand of the restored Christina. 

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