26th Week of Common Time, Year C

perhaps i shall back track a bit from my previous post.  saying one thing, then saying the opposite is in fact a delicately christian art.  we call it tension.  it is often muddy and confusing.  but living in this tension is pretty well what we’ve got.  to live in dying, and to glory in the cross.

Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls…

If you think about all of these things as the output of a semi-organized agrarian economy, then it pretty well lines up with the consumer goods of our day.  Perhaps Coke, a Disney movie, and a BMW.  There is not much use in offering up directly the work of our hands.  It is hard to imagine then, that shareholder rights are really high up on God’s list of things to accomplish.  Why then, should they receive more than a passing thought from me?

We some how imagine that the commands we hear shall be accomplished when we have more to give, are stronger to that we might help the weak.  This is a particularly difficult imaginative frame to break.  It seems borne out in some ways.  The doctor who does not protect herself will soon find herself of no help against a plague.  But there is something insidious about the new buildings full of well-fed aid workers that stands over the refugee tents.  I wish I had answers here, but sadly, all i’ve got is a question here.  There must be purpose to that work of our hands, so that it becomes set apart.

When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

The passage then ends with some hope.  God tells Isaiah that they shall argue it out…and the sins of the people will be cleansed.  But it takes that argument to get there.    In celebration of all God’s Saints, and in hope for all souls…

Let us argue it out.  Let us learn how do as we are commanded.