Tuesday, March 15, 2011

God said what?

Today's passage comes from Habukkuk 2:1-3
I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint.Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.

As I read these words the prayer prompt encouraged lifting up a current need for social justice and for visionaries to guide the way toward healing and change. But what keeps running through my head is Glenn Beck, whose latest screed to is claim that the devastating disaster in Japan is God speaking- not the aid workers, not the prayers so many of us are lifting, but the disaster itself is God speaking- against probably any multitude of perceived sins.

And yet at the same time I am working on a sermon for this Sunday on John 3:1-17 which includes the ubiquitous 3:16 that is at so many major events, plain for all to see. Perhaps so ubiquitous that we are numbed to the words "for God so loved the world that God gave the only Son."

And I wonder how it is that culturally people are drawn the incessant shrill pseudo-prophecy of people like Glenn Beck who lift up an image of a butt-kicking God, rather than the equally pervasive but not assaultive proclamation of God's ultimate show of love, the Son lifted up on the cross for all of humanity.

Not some, not the ones we decide, but all. Because the cosmos, is not just our view of the world, but is all of God's universe. We may not want to believe it, we may not see how it is possible, we may not even like it, but God loves each of us and all of us, because. As Martin Niemoller once put it, "It took me a long time to realize that not only did God not hate my enemies, he didn't even hate his enemies."

So while there are too many issues of social justice to lift up in one mediocre stab at poetry, the one on my mind today is inspired by what it would mean if we listened to what God had to say to all our laments and waited for what God has promised-Christ died and rose for us, so that we may not die but have eternal life, and we are called to proclaim that even when we don't get what happens in our world, we live by the faith of this. And instead of waiting for some other visionary to trumpet this, to each in our own faltering but faithful way- offer that little flicker of light in the darkness that says we will not succumb to hate-mongering.

Lord, help me to keep watch
not for the latest talking head
who cries out woe
and writes a vision of doom
claiming to speak for you.
Help me to remember that your words
are not brought forth in sound bites
but in the times of waiting
and watching.
We cry out don't tarry
yet help us to wait
to keep from deciding
that our words
are just as good if not better
because they are here.
Help us to remember that the true prophets
never ran to and embraced
their role with pride
but trembled to know.
Give us the courage
to stand in the maelstrom of hate
and offer the witness of the cross
of a love we could never give
of a love that changed the universe
that changes who we love
and challenges us to ask
before we curse,
just where did you hear me say THAT?

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