Friday, February 24, 2012

it's not fair!

Friday after Ash Wednesday

Here are the readings from Ezekiel, Philippians, and John for today.

At first the reading for Ezekiel left me with a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. The passage seems to be saying that God punishes people directly for their sins. The people in the passage are complaining that God's way is unfair, but God is saying that the people's way is what's unfair. First, God makes the point that God is the one in control, not us: "You belong to me; I made you, and so you are mine" (my paraphrase). We humans are limited beings--we don't have knowledge of what is going to happen in the future or how the world works. That's up to God. At this point I begin thinking of Julian of Norwich's vision of God holding all of creation the way we might hold a hazelnut.

(Image from

 In this vision, Julian ponders:

"I wondered how it [creation] could survive
since it seemed so little
it could suddenly disintegrate into nothing.

The answer came: ‘It endures and ever will endure,
because God loves it.’

And so everything has being
because of God’s love."

We are so minuscule compared to the greatness that is God. We have such limited knowledge of what's going on in this world and beyond. It reminds me of some verses from Isaiah that we use as a canticle in our Book of Common Prayer: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9). We humans can't see the big picture, and so we really aren't able to judge whether or not God's perceived action or inaction is unfair. 

Sometimes God can seem so very far away, especially when I'm going through a rough time or doing things I know I'm not supposed to do. I mess up, and mess up, and mess up. And a lot of times I make the same mistakes more than once. In fact, most of the time it's easier for me to identify with the wicked people in this passage than with the righteous.

But here's the part where I really find hope: God is waiting for us to turn our lives around, to admit when we go astray and repent of our wrongdoings. It's like God is saying, "C'mon, people, you know that you can't keep going along on your own. That's what sin is--separating yourself from Me. And living this way will tear you apart. Why do you keep doing this? I don't enjoy disciplining you! I created you for joy, not sorrow. So wake up!"

This seems to be an appropriate passage for Lent, after all: "Turn, then, and live."

1 comment:

  1. Love it! When I was out in the wilderness for all those years, I always felt as if God was far away. What I didn't realize until I came back to the Church was that God was always there- right there, I was the one far away- far away from who I knew I was suppose to be, created to be, whom God wanted me to be. The welcoming home, the embrace of God's grace is meet, right and fair. Thanks for posting!