The holy prophets have warned us, again and again and again.
Psalm 85 told by Deborah
a plaintive cry to God when times are bad
O sweet Merciful God, remember that time when You showed how much you loved us; when you restored to Jacob’s descendants all that they had lost? You forgave their guilt and overlooked their sins. You cooled Your burning anger, and dowsed Your flames of rage.
Be like that again, God our Savior, and let’s be friends again.
You’re not going to stay angry with us forever, are you? Won’t You please bring back the good times, restore to us the blessings we used to know? Then we’ll be thankful, and celebrate You again, like in the old days.
Show us how much You love us, Lord, and rescue us as only You can do.
I will listen to what God says, the One who promises peace to us, if we are faithful — so let’s not go back to messing up.
Surely the Beloved won’t ignore us, surely we will be healed and comforted, surely happiness and joy will be restored — and we will feel God’s Presence in our land.
When holy compassion and human faithfulness meet together, righteousness and shalom combine as one. Faithfulness blossoms upon the earth in response to heavenly instruction.
The Merciful One will assuredly give what is good, and our land will become a fragrant garden. Righteousness will prepare the way for our restoration.
And the voice of God spoke and said:
“What a mess you’ve made! What terrible tragedies! And now you want Me to fix things? That’s typical. You know what to do; I’ve told you repeatedly what is right — yet here we are, again.”
And so it is. Here we are, again. A good deal worse than we can ever remember; yet it all has a terrible familiarity. It all sounds so …. Biblical.
The Voice continued:
“Avenging armies arise in response to ideas, actions, and energies — released by you, and not Me. Hatred and contempt for the impoverished, the elderly, the addicted; the outsiders: the disabled, the disfigured, the diseased, and — most of all — those you consider your enemies.
“These the first to fall: struck down and forgotten — how happy and content you must be!
“No words of compassion for the poor and the desperate, no tears for the weary, the weak, and the dying, and not a trace of concern for the hurt and harm this does to Me.
“Look, you serve your own interests while the people suffer; accumulating still-greater riches from the losses of the poor. Sacrificing human lives to the god Mammon, poisoning creation, abusing animals, seeking to destroy and tear down rather than bless and build up.
“Look, you use crises and troubles only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with wicked fist; fighting for power, hurling accusations, even as the bodies of the dead pile up along the streets.
“The evils you have perpetuated, the poison you have unleashed, has spread like a plague — far beyond your control.
“And now… After all you’ve done, you blame this on Me?”
Thus sayeth the Lord. Over and over again. We’ve been given free will: and look how we’ve misused it.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. It is time — far past the time — for us to look — honestly and unflinchingly — at ourselves and ask:
What truly matters? Who do we care for, and how? What have we taken for granted, and what (and who!) do we now recognize as important?
How do we behave toward one another: as wondrous, miraculous children of God — or as virulent enemies?
At its most basic, the question is: are we among the blessing-bearers or do we stand with those who curse and tear down?
And, if we choose to abandon our faith, if love and compassion cease to matter; if our only concern is self-interest: what of the fact that we do, indeed, reap what we sow?
How shall we live — if humanity survives — in the days and (hopefully) years to follow? What have we learned? What blessings can we bring to heal God’s hurting heart?
May the Spirit of Mercy and Compassion be with us and guide us,
Then it will be like the dawn of a new day, a new beginning; and your healing will come quickly. Your charity and compassion will lead you, and God’s radiant power will have your back. Then when you call, you will hear the Beloved’s answer; when you cry for help, God will call out, “Here I am.”
If you free your hearts from hatred, cease sneering and sniping and accusing one another of every kind of wickedness; if you focus on nurturing and comforting those in need, if you bless and do not curse, then you will bring light into the deepest gloom, like the sun breaking forth after a storm.
God will guide you continually, and nourish you, and strengthen you, and you shall be like a glorious tree in whose branches all of the birds of the air take shelter.
~ Isaiah 58:8-11
Pray for all that dwell upon the earth.
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