Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beloved, Even in Exile

"At the time of the evening sacrifice, I, Ezra, rose in my wretchedness, and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees,
stretching out my hands to the LORD, my God.

"'And now, but a short time ago, mercy came to us from the LORD, our God, who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place; thus our God has brightened our eyes and given us relief in our servitude. For slaves we are, but in our servitude our God has not abandoned us...he has given us new life to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins, and has granted us a fence in Judah and Jerusalem.'”  - Ezra 9:5-9

"R. (1b) Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
No one can escape his hand.
Praise him, you children of Israel, before the Gentiles, for though he has scattered you among them, he has shown you his greatness even there.
So now consider what he has done for you, and praise him with full voice. Bless the Lord of righteousness, and exalt the King of ages.
In the land of my exile I praise him and show his power and majesty to a sinful nation.
Bless the Lord, all you his chosen ones, and may all of you praise his majesty. Celebrate days of gladness, and give him praise."  - Tobit 13:2, 3-4a, 4, 7-8

I love these words. They show honestly the hardship of human life, by our own errors, as well as by the way things are in this world, for whatever reason. They also show the faithfulness and patience of God.

Living this "new life" sometimes feels like exile, to me, and these words remind me of God's faithfulness and generosity to us, even in the midst of our "exile" (in this land without Katie). This exile can feel like "slavery," but if I can remember that we are beloved of God, perhaps I can rest in that Love.
"I said: 'My God, I am too ashamed and confounded to raise my face to you, O my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven. From the time of our fathers even to this day great has been our guilt, and for our wicked deeds we have been delivered up, we and our kings and our priests, to the will of the kings of foreign lands, to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, and to disgrace, as is the case today.

"When we can accept that there is no perfect anything, we can find peace in this world. As Jesus put it, 'God alone is good' (Mark 10:18).
"It takes a monumental act of courage and a tremendous humility to accept a paradoxical world." - Richard Rohr, Radical Grace, p. 308-9
Courage and humility...and love.

"And love will simply have no choice but to go into battle with space and time, and furthermore, to win." - James Baldwin


Karen and Joe said...

Karen, your faith is always an inspiration to me. I'm not able to say the things you say, but hope I will be able to say them, in time. I am having trouble meshing God's love with my suffering, (like we all do), but I want to trust Him even in exile. I want to say, "He gives and He takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."

Busy Bee Suz said...

Such deep and provoking thoughts.
Thinking of YOU today.
Take care, Suz

Renee said...

Karen I found this great thing and bought it for Jacquie and I thought of you right away.

It is a gold teardrop for a necklace that in the back they put some of Sheldon's ashes. She wears it all the time now.

I thought maybe you would want to get something like that for Katie's ashes.

I bought it from the funeral home and they also had crosses.

Love you.

Renee xoxo