Proper 16 texts at www.textweek.com
Jeremiah 1:4-10 Psalm 71:1-6 Hebrews 12:18-29 Luke 13:10-17
This reflection was originally written in August 2016.
Election seasons are… let’s say “interesting”… times to reflect on scriptures, especially the ones describing God’s judgment. Each side is sure beyond doubt that God’s blazing fire, darkness and gloom, tempest and trumpet are aimed directly at the opposing side. Some of Hebrews’ exhortations would be at home at a protest rally; for example, this one, if you could find a big enough placard to put it on, and an inky enough Sharpie to write it with:
See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking;
for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth,
how much less will we escape
if we reject the one who warns from heaven!
That is quite a warning for those who liberally condone sinful lifestyles, and who would open the doors for those who are un-godly/un-American/un-like-us.
Or maybe it’s a warning for those who conservatively trim from all but the budget’s richest 1%, and who are helping collect barbed-wire to top off the new wall.
When the voice of God shakes the earth, and “not only the earth but also the heaven” (Heb. 12:26), we will all feel the trembling. The voice of God—the very voice that called the sky out of chaos, the voice that pushed the land apart from the sea—will rumble over us, the right and the left, the top 1% and the bottom 99. We’ll be staggered by its force, rocked off our feet by its power—perhaps the only power that can ever make us drop our placards so that we can reach out and grasp hands, arms, shoulders, to help steady one another.
We can all be shaken. We are psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, morally, mortally shakeable.
Our foundations are shakeable. Our security is shakeable. Our bank accounts are shakeable. Our worldview is shakeable. Our churches are shakeable.
Our nation is shakeable.
And not because of The Other Side, and not even because of This Law or That Leader. But because when God speaks, everything on earth and in heaven will feel the tremor. Every created thing, everything that is not God, will be rattled to its core. We may treat our safety, our money, our perspective, and even our freedom as gods, but when the Holy One once again takes voice, all of these created things will be shaken away like sand through a sieve. We may spend all our energy to convince anyone who will listen (and to convince ourselves) that we cannot be moved, but when that day comes, when we’ve been knocked off our platforms, with our hands emptied of signs and our fingers released from pointing, with our knees bloodied from scraping the ground, all we will be able to say is:
Thank you, God, that your truth is not our conventional wisdom or our considered opinions. Thank you that your freedom is not our democracy, and that your treasure is not our economy. Thank you that your salvation is not our president.
Forgive us for worshipping these gods that we created for ourselves. Thank you for being the truth, the freedom, the treasure, the salvation that we could not invent, win, earn, or elect!
Forgive us for thinking we could live unshakeable lives. Thank you for shaking us, for shaking away everything that is not you, so that we can at last be truly yours.
May the day come soon when we hear God’s voice, when the worlds we have built begin to tremble under our feet. May it even be today.
Originally published 8/15/2016 on www.bwim.info/blog.