Wordcarpenter Books

Chapter Nineteen 


About the sermon given in Agoo Basilica and what they find

at the church with the rouge bell tower

Agoo, La Union Province


Great murals and paintings of the saints adorned the walls, pews packed to the limit so people stood in the main doorway. The first church on the journey that hadn't been looted, Hellmantle imagined the churches they had seen adorned with paintings and neat with shellacked wood carved by skilled hands before the plundering. But the beauty of Agoo Basilica, its symmetry of parts, saddened him because it brought to mind that sackers had stolen so much. The organ, the vestments, and even the priests' robes were so full of the Holy Spirit that his sadness, magnified by exhaustion, made his heart leap up to his throat.

They stood at the doorway listening to the priest, who they could barely see, but the voice was strong and triumphed over ceiling fans above the arches. The sermon went like this:

"The word of the Lord came to me again: ‘What do you see?' And Jeremiah answered: ‘I see a boiling pot, tilting away from the north.' The Lord said: ‘From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms.'[1] God remembers when their faith was like a bride, and says: ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, all you clans of the House of Israel.'

"'The House of Israel had become a corrupt and wild vine. But O faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah.' You may ask who are the Twelve Tribes of Israel, the twelve sons of Jacob, son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham? All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him:

Around Jacob's deathbed he calls forth his twelve sons:
Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in the days to come.
Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob;
Listen to your father Israel.
you are my firstborn,
My might, the first sign of my strength,
Excelling in honor, excelling in power.
Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel,
For you went up onto your father's bed,
Onto my couch and defiled it.
and Levi are brothers -
Their swords are weapons of violence.
Let me not enter their council,
Let me not join their assembly,
For they have killed men in their anger
And hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
And their fury, so cruel!
I will scatter them in Jacob
And disperse them in Israel.
your brothers will praise you;
Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father's sons will bow down to you.
You are a lion's cub, O Judah;
You return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
Like a lioness - who dares to rouse him?
The scepter will not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
Until he comes to whom it belongs
And the obedience of the nations is his.
He will tether his donkey to a vine,
His colt to the choicest branch;
He will wash his garments in wine,
His robes in the blood of grapes.
His eyes will be darker than wine,
His teeth whiter than milk.
will live by the seashore
And become a haven for ships;
His border will extend toward Sidon.
is a rawboned donkey
Lying down between two saddlebags.
When he sees how good is his resting place
And how pleasant is his land,
He will bend his shoulder to the burden
And submit to forced labor.
will provide justice for his people
As one of the tribes of Israel.
will be the serpent by the roadside,
A viper along the path,
That bites the horses' heels
So that its rider tumbles backwards.
I look for your deliverance, O Lord.
will be attacked by a band of raiders
But he will attack them at their heels.
food will be rich;
He will provide delicacies fit for a king.
is a doe set free
That bears beautiful fawns.
is a fruitful vine,
A fruitful vine near a spring,
Whose branches climb over a wall.
With bitterness archers attacked him;
They shot at him with hostility.
But his bow remained steady
His strong arms stayed limber,
Because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
Because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
Because of your father's God, who helps you,
Because of the Almighty, who blessing you
With blessings of the heavens above,
Blessings of the deep that lies below,
Blessings of the breast and womb.
Your father's blessings are greater
Than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
Than the bounty of the age-old hills.
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,
On the brow of the prince among his brothers.
is a ravenous wolf;
In the morning he devours the prey,
In the evening he divides the plunder.

"Book of Genesis, chapter 49, verses 2 to 28." The priest paused. The silence was filled with shuffling and coughing.

"'But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save you as a great band of survivors.' Genesis 45, 7." Bless thee, thy word of God. Amen."

The organ music started for three hymns before the people departed. At the stroke of six the first ring of the bell, a loud speaker from the bell tower blared soothing music of divine choir voices with a strong voice preaching the Word of God. In the center of town beside the bustle of the main road, everyone stopped moving to listen. Even Jeepneys stopped. Like the voice of God coming from above, people stood in solemn respect for the divine word while the rouge bell tower struck six chimes.

Hellmantle watched the white-haired priest greet his flock in front of the lectern when suddenly the priest looked at him. His eyeglasses reflected light from overhead chandeliers but Hellmantle saw his head lift slightly. Eerily, it was the same face he had seen in his dream.

The priest walked towards them at the doorway. Difficult not to notice, they stood head and shoulders above most Philippinos in the church.

"Good you could make it," he said. Hellmantle detected an accent but not the country of origin. "Come from Manila?" His eyes piercing as if sharpened by the glare of the sea.

"Yes, from Manila. Though we motorcycled here from the north," replied Hellmantle.

"The north? Vigan?" his voice wispy and dry after the sermon.

"We went through Banaue and across to Sierra Madres to Aparri and over to Laoag and then Vigan." The priest looked closer at the two of them. Hellmantle noticed that the priest's nose was as crooked as an oak branch.

        "Why would you do that, son?" Hellmantle could now see the clear eyes behind the glasses.

        "We're looking for a Dutch priest who once knew Dane Hellmantle," said Hellmantle. "Dane Hellmantle was a Legionnaire who fought in Dien Bien Phu." Startled, his reflex was to take both of them by the arm out to a sheltered patio beside the church near the back away from a crowd of people standing around them. The three of them were out of sight through an old corridor.

[1] Jeremiah [1:13-14] 


TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                                  
          The Family of the Bible
1.       Concerning the famous Hellmantle's position, character and way of life
2.       Concerning the ingenious man's visit with his uncle Jack Grosseteste
3.       Which relates to how Hellmantle is given his first adventure
4.       About what happened to our adventurer when he goes to the Philippines
5.       In which the story of our crusader's journey begins in earnest
6.       About Hellmantle's time in the city of sin on Christmas Eve
7.       About the brave Hellmantle's success on his adventure to Baguio City worthy of happy memory
8.       In which the courageous Hellmantle of Normandy journeys north into the Cordillera Mountain Range
9.       About what happened to Hellmantle in the mission in the mountains and the crucifixion of Jesus
10.     Concerning Hellmantle of Normandy in the land of the headhunters
11.     About the required riding techniques to reach the destination of Sagada and the church organist
12.     In which the German artist is tracked to the Shamrock Café and dangers of the northeast of Luzon Island
13.     In which Catharine is tracked to the Shamrock Café and an eery coincidence of a reoccurring dream
14.     About Hellmantle reaching the rice terraces and finding a way to the northwest
15.     About what happened to our intrepid philosopher in the middle of the Sierra Madre Mountains
16.     In which a record is given about the brave Hellmantle through uncharted territory on his trusted dirt bike
17.     Which relates to Hellmantle of Normandy reaching the northern coast and the rubble of Aparri
18.     About the final day of the motorcycle journey and discussing the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel in Vigan
19.     About the sermon in Agoo Basilica and what they find at the church with the rouge bell tower
20.     Concerning the Dutch Padre and what he knows about the hidden map
21.     About the return to Manila and the coup that causes the Great Man from Normandy grief
22.     Which brings Hellmantle of Normandy back to Hong Kong to re-evaluate the next step in his quest for truth
23.     In which their journey is related to Jack Grosseteste and a new task is set before the Man from Normandy
24.     Concerning the journey to northern Vietnam to track down the map hidden at a French prison
25.     About how Hellmantle and D'Aqs compare notes on their task at hand in Hanoi
26.     In which an account is given of the beginning of the journey of Hellmantle in Vietnam
27.     About how Hellmantle and his brave squire ride north to the place where the four rivers meet
28.     Concerning the French prison and what Hellmantle finds there
29.     Concerning the discovery of the bottle and what lies inside of it
30.     Concerning the journey to Dien Bien Phu in honor of their grandfather the Great Dane Hellmantle
31.     About what the motorcyclists see on the fields in Dien Bien Phu
32.     Concerning the motorcycling required to reach Hanoi via the other side of the Da River Valley
33.     Which tells of the final stage back to Hanoi and the discussion after their most beautiful ride
34.     Concerning the visit with the knowledgeable Jack Grosseteste and the sally to India
35.     Concerning the arrival and journey to Kashmir Valley
36.     In which the journey begins in earnest through the checkpoints to the foot of the Moghul Fort
37.     In which Srinagar is reached and how the houseboat was as it was hundred years ago
38.     In which Hellmantle reach their houseboat on the lake below the fort and beside the mosque
39.     In which Hellmantle sets out for the Tomb of Thome and his brother Joshua beside him
40.     Which relates to the agreeable history of the journey north to the monastery on horseback
41.     In which Hellmantle returns to Srinagar and finds the first translations of the black stones
42.     Which concerns the deciphering of the discovery at the monastery and the need to go to the Ganges River
43.     About Hellmantle of Normandy's meeting with the holy man after taking a dip in the Ganges River
44.     About Hellmantle's meeting at Jack Grossetests's place with D'Aqs and Catharine the artist from Sagada
o       Chronology of Historical Events



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