Saturday, May 7, 2011

Removing the Shroud

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food... And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death forever.  Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth... let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.     -- Isaiah 25:6-10

This image is found in the middle of Isaiah 25.  It comes after the ruthless have been brought low, the cities have been ruined, and before the Moabites are trodden into the mud.  The Moabites were clearly enemies of the Israelites.  How do I make sense of this passage!  Dear Lord.

Perhaps I can think of the Moabites as representing all the ruthless oppressors around the world.  So, living in a world without the fear of terrorism, or war, or local crime even, would certainly destroy "the shroud of death that is cast over all peoples."  But what force would do that?

Only the force of God.  But God does not use force.  If Jesus is God incarnate, if Jesus is God's Messiah, then we must understand God as we understand Jesus.  God like Jesus does not defeat evil with evil.  God through Jesus has shown us how to respond to evil.  We respond to evil in others as we respond to evil in ourselves:  with the truth.  Only by removing the log from our eyes, can there be a chance of redemption, and peace.   

As I have been writing recently, the proud must be humbled if they desire true life.  The truth about ourselves, our leaders, our history, the good and the bad, must be faced honestly if we are ever to stop the cycle of mistakes that cause our death and the death of our neighbor (either physically or spiritually).  Only the truth will set us free.  Only the truth will take us to a place where we can help those in greatest need.  Only the truth will make the world a better place, where "all peoples" can rejoice.

It takes a certain kind of person/leader/nation who can face their mistakes and learn from them.  It takes courage and integrity and knowing that God will be with us, wiping our tears away.  Like he did for Peter, and Paul, and St. Augustine, and countless others.  Unfortunately, though it does happen, it is rare -- especially among world leaders and nations.  Rather, self-promotion is the norm.  Just put a spin on your mistakes and continue doing what you are doing.   Unfortunately, this leads only to wallowing in our own mire, both physically and spiritually.  There is only one way to remove the shroud of death.  It is a personally painful way.  But it is the only way that leads to life.

Dear God, your message lately has been a difficult one.  I would rather have not written so publicly about issues that cross the line into politics.  But your word and my faith are so completely wrapped up in life that it cannot help but be political at times, I suppose.  To live in the world but not be of the world is a challenge to us all.  May thy will be done on earth as in heaven.  Love always, Pam


Clarence Heller said...

Thanks for speaking your truth. My understanding is that humility means truth (recognizing, accepting truth) which of course often is at odds with our egos. One thing that I believe is true is that God loves all people no matter what.

Pamela Keane said...

Yes, I believe this too.