Skip to main content

As You Have Trusted


Psalm 102 (Coverdale)

14For your servants love her very rubble, * and are moved to pity even for her dust.

2 Kings 19:1-20 (CJB)

20 Then Yesha‘yahu the son of Amotz sent this message to Hizkiyahu: “Adonai the God of Isra’el says: ‘You prayed to me against Sancheriv king of Ashur, and I have heard you.’

1 Corinthians 9:16-27 (CJB)

24 Don’t you know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one wins the prize? So then, run to win!

Matthew 8:1-17 (CJB)

13 Then Yeshua said to the officer, “Go; let it be for you as you have trusted.”

 

It occurred to me today that it’s likely that I’ve been doing a bit of compartmentalizing. Since there are three readings and a psalm in the Daily Lectionary, I usually take each one separately, (often neglecting the Psalm) find the resonant phrase, and then write down my reflection of each individually.

Something moved me to review some sources on the practice of Lectio Divina, and as I was pondering the steps (reading, reflecting, responding, and resting) they rolled over and showed me a new face. This new face is watching me with great interest to see what I will end up writing on this page. Let’s see….

*****

Loving the rubble, walking in the ruins, sitting down in the middle of the ghost town’s dusty street. Pitying the echoes from the empty houses, the weeds growing through the cracks in the walls, the dry grass shaking in the wind.

**

The prophet sends the message no matter whether we want to hear it. The prophet is the one who says, “God has heard you.” So what does that imply? I think this depicts the prophetic voice perfectly. Prophets hear the voice of God, but that isn’t what makes them prophets. What makes them prophets are the words they distill from that silent surge of understanding; the unrelenting messages they are moved to give. They are called “prophets” by the ones who withstand their ferocious empathy, who squirm in the glare of their ruthless insight. I don’t think the title “prophet” is intended as a compliment.

**

Run to win! I’m sure that Paul is not talking about grace, or salvation, or winning a prize reserved for only one winner. No, the clue is in his phrase, “Run to win.” He’s not really talking about prizes at all. He’s talking about the disciplines of practice, as an athlete would train for a race. He’s comparing Christian practice to physical conditioning. He makes the point very clearly that the goal is different, that the athlete’s physical conditioning is a temporary thing for a short-term goal, but the Christian’s spiritual conditioning is an ongoing work from an eternal perspective.

**

“Let it be for you as you have trusted.” Yowza!
The problem with the word “faith” is that it’s a noun. You can’t say, “Faith me.” On the other hand, you can say, “Believe me,” and “Trust me.” Verbs are good. Adjectives too. If you turn “faith” into an adjective, you get “faithful,” along with some nifty synonyms like “loyal” and “steadfast.” I think I’m onto something here.

*****

So I’m going to go with the flow. Literally. 

 

The sorrow of still loving something that has been destroyed, walking through the desolate remains—

flows into flinching at the harsh significance of the message “God has heard you” –

flows into the need to run to win even though there is no prize –

flows into letting everything be ‘as I have trusted’—

flows back around again—

to sitting in the voiceless rubble listening to mercy shaking the grass in the wind.

Popular posts from this blog

Temple Mysticism and the Eucharist

(I originally wrote this in November 2015, after reading a book on understanding Jesus's teachings in the light of first century Jewish Temple mysticism. I had been struggling with the cannibalistic implications in the Eucharist of "eating Jesus's body and drinking his blood." It was such a relief to discover this interpretation which connects neatly with the way his disciples would likely have understood the language Jesus was using.)
Eucharist A little bit of research on the internet produced a description of Jewish ritual sacrifice in the time of Jesus. A person, say a woman named Sarah, offers a goat. She buys it and takes it to the priest at the Temple. He examines it to see if it is “perfect,” i.e. healthy and unblemished. He then takes it and slits its throat with the ritual words, “This is Sarah’s blood.” The meaning should obviously be, that this is the blood belonging to Sarah and offered on her behalf. The blood would then be poured out at the base of the …

Smashing Babies

Lectio:
Psalm 137
*****3 when those who had taken us captive
asked us to sing them a song;
our tormentors demanded joy from us —
“Sing us one of the songs from Tziyon!”

How can we sing a song about Adonai
here on foreign soil? ****

Remember, Adonai, against the people of Edom
the day of Yerushalayim’s fall,
how they cried, “Tear it down! Tear it down!
Raze it to the ground!”

Daughter of Bavel, you will be destroyed!
A blessing on anyone who pays you back
for the way you treated us!

A blessing on anyone who seizes your babies
and smashes them against a rock!



Micah 7:11-20
13 The earth will be desolate for those living in it,
as a result of their deeds.

18 Who is a God like you,
pardoning the sin and overlooking the crimes
of the remnant of his heritage?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in grace.

19 He will again have compassion on us,
he will subdue our iniquities.


You will throw all their sins
into the depths of the sea.



1 Peter 4:7-19
11if someone speaks, let him …

Zen, Social Activism, and Suffering

I almost always have a feeling of discontent (dukkha) when I encounter a way of looking at the world that exhorts me to define suffering as victimization. This way leads people to become social activists, fighting “injustice,” “poverty,” “violence,” and causes them to want to change “society” to make it a 'better' place. This way of thinking seems to me to miss the point. I call it "bootstrapping,” because it makes me think of the old saying that describes a certain kind of futility by the phrase, “trying to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.” It can't be done. It seems to me that people often perceive concepts like "injustice" as entities in their own right, with a kind of inimical but impersonal life of their own. This leads to the belief that ideas can do battle in the arena of social activism and when righteousness is the victor, then "society" will change for the better. I see this as a form of delusion, and exactly the sort of error tha…