The name Judas is synonymous with betrayal. He’s one of the most widely-known figures from the gospels. We know who he is. We know what he did. But why did he do it?
Who is someone who’s maybe not a “headliner” in the official version of your life’s story, but who has in her/his/their own way prophesied for you a future that others might not have seen in the moment? Who has had eyes for the divine and perceived the divine at work in you?
It is appalling, the mercy of God, the mercy, compassion, patience, faithful love, and willingness not to destroy. It’s appalling because we like to sort the world into neat, clearly-defined categories of who’s redeemable and who’s not, and God somehow transcends those categories.
Even before Nebuchadnezzar, the three men leave open the possibility that their God, the God of Judea, won’t come through. Yet they remain faithful. They step into the furnace.
Vashti’s story underscores sometimes how important it is to say “No.” Think of all the Nos that shape us into the kind of people we are today. Think of all the Nos that have shifted the course of history.
Who has been a “Deborah” in your life? Someone strong. Someone wise. Someone whose judgment you trusted. Someone who wasn’t afraid to tell you the truth. You might not have sought them out under a palm tree, but somewhere else in your day-to-day landscape…
Who are the people like Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah who dare to show up and speak up within systems, people who create change in venues not many people hear about?
There are times that we find ourselves in Shiphrah and Puah’s shoes, whether they were Hebrews safeguarding their own people or Egyptians putting their lives on the line for strangers.
It really is all about belonging, this story of Adam and Eve. It’s about their belonging to God, their belonging to one another, their belonging to the clay from which they were shaped, all in bonds of nurture and care.
David retreats and immediately mourns the death of his son, no longer calling him the young man Absalom, but “Absalom, my son.” It would appear that David’s life is a complete and utter mess. What are we to make of this tragic story?