Joy and Deliverance
The story of Judith is full of danger and violence counterpointed by fidelity and great rejoicing. Today we discover that despite grave danger, joy is present. If today’s story calls you to search for more surprises, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today we find joy in miraculous deliverance.
Judith’s story is not included in all versions of the Bible because it is regarded by some to be an historical novel rather than sacred word. Others see is as a kind of allegory in that the name Judith is the feminine form of the word Judah. Still others point to anachronisms and decline to regard these words as inspired. In any case, the story holds is one of consequence, and one in which we see God’s deliverance of the faithful from the most extreme of circumstances. It is a story to which we will want to attend.
If you did not have time to read the introductory chapters, move through them today – if even only quickly. The opening pages of the book prepare us for the dreadful middle and the joyful end. They put us in a time and place we will recognize as much like our own. They will give us a firmer footing from which to view this story, a stronger reason to hope as Judith does, and a clearer image of the desperation and joy she experiences.
Verse 14:9: When she had finished her story, the people cheered so loudly that the whole town echoed with sounds of joy.
Is there a Judith among us who quietly moves forward through God’s plan and surprises us with an outrageous act of hope? Are we the unobtrusive Judith or almost unseen handmaiden who turns history on its head in a surprising way? And when God intervenes with and in us in such startling ways, do we recognize the presence of the Spirit in our hour of desperation?
Verse 15:9: When they arrived, they all praised her, “You are Jerusalem’s crowning glory, the heroine of Israel, the pride and joy of our people!”
Do we recognize the Judiths among us and if so, do we value their quiet persistence and determination? Do we perhaps see ourselves in the gritty and resolute actions of these women? And when God intervenes with and in us in such surprising ways, do we give thanks and honor to the Living God who is in and with all who find joy in great peril and outrageous deliverance?
To better understand Judith’s world, click on the Gentileschi image above, or visit: https://thenoontimes.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/artgentileschi_judithandthemaidservantwiththeheadofholofernes_1625.jpg
For more details and insights about the encounters between Judith and Holofernes, visit other Noontime reflections by entering the word Judith into the blog search bar.
For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/