Monday, November 28, 2011

"Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away..."

There may be much, much more to our dear friend Kathy's analogy about we LitMusicGeeks being more like frustrated Broadway "performers/composers/conductors" than first meets the eye. The days before Nov.27th and now after are rife with the Monday-morning quarterbacking, the 20-20 hindsight, the "I told you so's" from all quarters. For those who remember the early film musicals, the playwrite, the director, the producer, the cast, everyone had to grab the first newspaper out of the earliest bundle to hit the skids at the newstands to GET TO THE REVIEW! That was then, this is now: talking heads everywhere in every medium, still talking passed each other, some holding their ground even if it means some, uh, revision; others harumphing that no one died (!) and this, too, shall pass. Still others still insist the sky is either "Gold, Jerry, I tell ya, gold" or "Falling! It's falling I tell ya, you just wait." I think what's most disconcerting is that the very notion of some of "us" dusting our sandals off and voting with our feet is playing out still, while others find it totally appropriate to take some victory laps: "Yay, Us!"
This is my take on "yesterday...."

First Sunday of Advent-Lectionary: 2
READING 1 IS 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7

You, LORD, are our father, our redeemer you are named forever. Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we fear you not? Return for the sake of your servants,
the tribes of your heritage.

Now that “it” has come and is another day and date for the books, despite many invocations, pleas, approbations and no small measure of anxiety and arrogance from all sides over the implementation, what struck me about yesterday were these readings. How they indict any and all who regard God in or as an abstract? How much energy that could have been directing serving God’s people truly in need was wasted by hardened hearts who seemed so convicted that this liturgical priority was the paramount missio, and abandoned both the word and deed that are our true gospel imperatives? And how could any critic, pro or con, not call upon Him to help them discern the nature of their service, and how best to realize their relationship to “the tribes of (His) heritage.”? Heritage is so much more than inheritance. It is about relationship not value. And how many relationships have been injured by putting the Lord on hold during the years of this rancorous conference call?

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you, while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for, such as they had not heard of from of old. No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him.

Does anyone remember about the man who climbed to the roof of his house as it floated down and away in a river during a raging storm? He eschewed the help of a neighbor who called from a rowboat; “No, I’m fine, God will save me.” Then he sent a police rescue motor-launch elsewhere, again declaring “I’m fine, God will save me!” Finally, when a Coast Guard helicopter dropped a rescue basket, he waved them off, shouting “I’m okay, go on, God will save and rescue me!” His house soon dissolved into the deep and he drowned. At judgment, he cried to the Lord, “God, why did you forsake me and not save me when I was so faithful?” “My son, what did you expect? I sent you a rowboat, police and a helicopter!”
In the midst of the storms of mistrust, intrigue, doubt, perseverance, did no one remember that MR3 did in fact tell us “I AM come down. This is, and always has been awesome what you can do in My Name.” But don’t argue over boats, helicopters, earthly authority or ingenuity, opportunities seized or missed. Do not wait in your indecision, call upon Him and then trust. It’s called “faith.” It is one of the greatest gifts.

Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways! Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful; all of us have become like unclean people, all our good deeds are like polluted rags; we have all withered like leaves, and our guilt carries us away like the wind. There is none who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to cling to you; for you have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our guilt. Yet, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands.

Behold how angry we all likely got at some point. And we own no such right, as “we” are not “He,” we are sinful. And don’t rest upon any laurels that anyone’s side has prevailed. “All our good deeds are like polluted rags….”
If we are clay, and clay we are, then He will write His Name upon us time and time again, until time is no more. Time isn’t measured in decades, half-centuries or even millenia. We are the clay, we are not the potters.