Thursday, July 30, 2015

What would I be?

Who knows where this will go, nobody do, not even The Shadow. Making my coffee in the dark this morning, I decided to have one of Linda’s little creamer pods for a change, picked it up, pulled the top back, and poured it on the coffee machine instead of in the cup. So there was a mess to clean up. When a day starts like that anything can happen, so I’m keeping it strictly under prayerful surveillance.

Anyway this. A couple weeks ago I noticed that those who are using Lectionary B Track Two were reading from Jeremiah instead of the David stories from 2Samuel. Jeremiah comes along after the so-called Eighth Century Prophets of Doom (Isaiah, Hosea, Amos and Micah), and I always enjoy reading Jeremiah, especially because I like the prophet’s story of his call. It’s pretty abrupt and “make-no-mistake-about-it, BuddyBoy.” Jeremiah 1:4-7. Listen:

4 Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.

7 But the Lord said to me,“Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you...”

Why is this bothering me this morning. Easy. No fundamentalist, literalist or inerrantist Christian, I nevertheless have a sense of “call” that goes way back in my life, in fact goes back seventy years. When I was ten years old, “just a boy” as Jeremiah protested, I first knew that I was going to do this nonsense with my life. I submitted, then when a sophomore at UFla I rebelled and went off in another direction and other directions until I was in my early middle forties. Wouldn't have missed it for the world, though my experience was that finally giving up and giving in was what it took for satisfaction, relief, happiness. The story I’ve told too many times to repeat here this morning, but here I am, still happy. 

Again, what stirred this little bowl of Thursday Soup? In this week, Anu Garg is doing common words that we got from Hebrew. I love this. So far he’s done tohubohu, behemoth, leviathan, and today manna. (leaving the word as links in case anyone wants to explore). I love this, was looking forward to it, and we’ll see what word Anu has tomorrow, Friday. One reason I love this goes to the Jeremiah 1:4-7 passage. If Jeremiah is true (remember my motto, “believing it don’t make it so”), then there’s something to a notion that our souls are separate from our bodies. Sort of like dropping a 4 or 6 or V8 engine into a car, eh. 

Not to offend, but I used to be proud and happy thinking myself of English heritage, something complete and perfect about that. Several years ago when I found out it was not English but German, I was horrified; for a long time almost devastated, because growing up during World War 2, and with the mix of wartime propaganda, and facts culminating in the liberation of the concentration camps that we saw on newsreels, the idea of being one of them was crushing, and the likelihood that Weller (Wäller) cousins would have been among those in the frenzied saluting mobs. It’s been about five years and there’s still a horrid fascination, but maybe I’m resigned.

Jeremiah still, and the thought that I could have been other. Not being English that so pleased me, but German that still does not, what would I choose to have been? Well, either Jewish or Greek so I could be at home and comfortable with the languages of the Bible. Except for the tetragram, I’ve given up on Hebrew, that kind of learning just doesn’t work at this age. But I can still muddle through the language of the New Testament. 

Forming me in the womb, ὦ δέσποτα Κύριε אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה? Make me Greek. Or a Greek Jew, s'il vous plaît.


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