This morning appointed Old Testament reading for the daily office was Nehemiah (from Mission St. Clare). As my half asleep self carefully read the words a tone of familiarity resonated strongly. In Nehemiah’s absence the people had neglected their obligation to the Temple, priest and singers. In fact they had taken a large room in the Temple, removed the vessels of the house of God. They also continued with normal commerce on the Sabbath. It sounds very similar to mess Haggai faces in this week’s Lectionary track-1 Old Testament reading. So, I wonder who faced their manifestation of self over God first. Turns out Haggai prophesied in 520 BCE and Nehemiah in 423 BCE [i]
We still have not learned our lesson. I used to date the emergence of the “I” (as in “IPhone”) phenomena to the Reformation. Turns out it’s a much longer story. Seems that ever since when those who have, have sought to keep it from those who have less; and those who have less, have fearfully sought to keep someone equally oppressed for getting what they have and no one is listening to God’s voice. Paul’s says it best, there are no divisions! It is really disappointing how skilled we are at arguing for our benefit and not seeing the benefits for all the communities we are a part of: town, county, state, nation, and world.
It is even more disappointing when I realize we make similar decisions when it comes to our understanding of, and our acting from a theology of resurrection. A colleague of mine in his Blog For to him all of them are alive [ii] eloquently speaks to how we twist scriptural references to resurrection to fit our own desires. We have twisted divine vision of Sabbath; we have twisted division of the Temple, we are twisting divine vision of Resurrection. Will we ever learn?
Will we ever learn? is actually not the question of the day. The question is: Do we really trust God enough to accept the gift of resurrection by grace through faith? For some the answer is yes. For others the answer will be yes. For the rest, and yes it may be own little twist, nonetheless, for him they are all alive.