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Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Living in the Ruins

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The reading for March 6, 2016:

1 Kings 11:  26-40

How interesting to read this passage in the middle of a political season where it seems that all is being torn to pieces.  All the political truths we thought we knew have been turned on their heads.  The mood of the country grows increasingly frustrated and fed up.  Each week brings us more negativity.  Those of us who have a wider sense of history feel more and more fretful and panicked.  The cycle feeds on itself, increasing the volume of panic.

We read the Old Testament passage, and we realize that this story, this downward spiral, is very, very old.  We have seen the people of Israel clamor for a king--they think that all of their problems will be solved if only they had a proper king.  The prophet warns them of the various costs of having a king, but they don't care.  They want a king.

From a distance of centuries, we can be judgmental:  stupid Israelites, bringing this fate upon themselves.  But then we look at our own headlines and realize that we, too, pin our hopes on earthly messiahs, those who would promise much.  How we want to believe!  How little will be delivered to us from those earthly saviors.

In the midst of this passage, the good news:  God remembers God's promises.  The earthly kingdom may be ripped apart, but God will be there in the wreckage. 

It may not be much comfort for those of us who have to live in the wreckage.  Perhaps we will spend our days yearning for the past days of glory, in danger of drowning in our tears we cry when we realize that what we hoped for is not to be. 

But God will be there, living with us, pointing us towards ways of rebuilding.  Out of the ruins of the life we thought we might have come new neighborhoods of hope, new gardens of possibility.

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