Archive for May 4th, 2019

Daniel 1-6: Tales from the Diaspora Part III

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Rembrandt: Return of the Prodigal Son

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever . . .

Today we conclude our reflection on stories of those who find themselves in alien places struggling against insurmountable odds; and we hear an important message that we will want to carry with us always.   At times in life we are the prodigal son who returns home.  At times we are the jealous brother who remained and who does not understand the father’s joy.  And at times we are the grateful parent who runs to meet the returned lost sheep.   All of these stories are the tales of our own captivity, our own exile and our own Diaspora.

We all find ourselves in pagan lands from time to time, seized and taken captive, dragged from our places of sanctuary . . . from the people who guide us, the codes that protect us . . . unfamiliar with the language and not understanding what is happening to us in this new and strange terrain, we can become lost for a time, we can follow the wrong voice.  In the end, we are all Hanaiah, Mishael, and Azariah at least once in our lives . . . cut off, set adrift, surrounded by hostile people who covet our relationship with God . . . who wish to bend us to their own will . . . who make sport of belittling their fellow creatures . . . who experience a rush when they are controlling and manipulating others.  This will happen when we respond to the Lorelei voices that would lead us astray but this will also happen when we witness to Light and Truth.  This will happen to disciples who hear the Call and respond in faith and hope and love.  In all times of aloneness, frustration and difficulty we must do as these young people do . . . trust God . . . remain faithful to God . . . even if it means our extinction from this life.  Why?  Let us look at the words of Azariah and pray with him who admits his nation’s guilt of turning away . . . and who seeks to return to Yahweh . . .

For you are just in all you have done; all your deeds are faultless, all your ways right, and all your judgments proper . . . For we have sinned and transgressed by departing from you . . . For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins . . . But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received; as though it were holocausts of rams and bullocks, or thousands of fat lambs, so let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly; for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.

In Easter joy in this season of thanksgiving, let us sing with Hanaiah, Mishael, and Azariah as we turn and return to God . . .

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever . . . for he has delivered us from the netherworld, and saved us from the power of death; he has freed us from the raging fire.  Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. 

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever . . .


A re-post from April 19, 2012. 

For more on prodigal returnings, click the image above or go to: http://marikablogs.blogspot.com/2011/10/prodigals-paradigms-and-proof-that.html

For more on the Diaspora click the image below and explore the PBS FRONTLINE site: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/maps/jewish.html

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