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Storms and sun, the horizon clears

by davesandel on August 16th, 2021

Monday, August 16, 2021                              (today’s lectionary)

Storms and sun, the horizon clears

The children of Israel offended Yahweh by serving the Baals, abandoning the Lord, the God of their fathers, who led them out of Egypt. The anger of the Lord flared up against Israel, and whatever they undertook, the Lord turned into disaster for them, as he had warned them he would do. The Lord raised up judges for them, but when the judges died they would fall back and be even worse than their fathers, following other gods in service and worship.

All day yesterday the rain threatened. Skies turned dark, thunder rolled outside for what seemed like hours. We took a nap.

Suddenly there came a giant clap of thunder, suddenly a nearby bolt of lightning. But still the sky seemed stuck, unable to let down its flood, release, be free. Just before dusk the sun began returning to its sky, the clouds fell away, and we didn’t get that rain.

How much rain did NOT fall on the Israelites in those days of the Judges, when the parched ground cried out? And how many floods fell just when harvest was about to begin, ruining the crop? With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years. With us, timing is everything, and in those days of evil God withheld the good timing of bygone days. He was angry.

They served their idols who became a snare for them. They sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons. Still in the end he had regard for their affliction when he heard their cry. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Perhaps our loving God is angry now. In our broken hearts, O Lord, have mercy. In our broken streets, O Lord, have mercy. In our lives lived for only ourselves, O Lord, have mercy. Let the merchandise of our selfishness be gone and give us back our selves. O Lord O Lord O Lord, have mercy.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

Matt talked at Grace yesterday of a ladderless life. Knock down the ladder of success and let God do the work you CANNOT do to gain freedom and eternal life. But Matt’s confessional side came out. He only keeps the ladder knocked down a day or two, then it pops up again.

Perhaps we can become more like little children. He gave us a complicated (at least to the adults) cut-out of a ladder to take home with us, a prop to help us remember our place in God’s world.

A young man approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, what must I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go and sell what you have. Give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.” The young man went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Not the least of my possessions are my ambitions and accomplishments, my hopes and dreams. Giving them away to the poor, to Jesus, walking toward tomorrow less top-heavy and unbalanced, so much more relaxed and free? At least for a day or two at a time? Making room for God’s own good gifts, pressed down, shaken together?

Sounds like a plan.

(Judges 2, Psalm 106, Mattthew 5, Matthew 19)

(posted at www.davesandel.net)

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