Archive for April 30th, 2020

Thursday, April 30, 2020

1 Chronicles 17: Dialog

Today as we continue to live in this extraordinary shelter-in-place, we need dialog with God more than ever, and so we continue to consider the story of David.

What I like most about the story of David – amid the ups and downs, the triumphs and failures – is the fact that we see this man in constant dialog with God.  Today’s reading is no exception.  David has brought the Ark from Shiloh to Jerusalem, has been established as king, and now wants to build a house for Yahweh.  Nathan, the prophet, brings him word that Yahweh will have a permanent temple at another time – once the lineage has been established through an heir and son.  David acquiesces and gives thanks for the blessings he and his house have already received . . . and will receive in the future.

Turn my Mourning into Dancing: Finding Hope in Hard Times is a small but valuable book published from the works of Henri Nouwen by his estate after his death.  It teaches us to be grateful at all times . . . even and especially when days are dark.  “I am gradually learning”, Nouwen writes, “that the call to gratitude asks us to say, ‘Everything is grace’ . . . We can learn to see our remembered experience of our past as an ongoing conversion of the heart.  We let what we remember remind us of whose we are – not our own, but God’s.  If we are not truly ready for a new life in the service of God, truly joyful at the prospect of God’s unfolding vocation for our lives, truly free to be sent wherever God guides, our entire past, gathered into spaciousness of a converted heart, must become the source of energy that moves us onward”.  (Pages 19 and 20)  Nouwen calls us to let go and to leave our compulsions behind, to move out of the house of fear, to convert our illusions through prayer and to open ourselves to a surprising God.  He cautions us about being lured in by fatalism or our craving for approval.  He reminds us that God is in all people and all things, even in suffering.  “There is no human suffering that has not in some way been a part of God’s experience.  That is the great and powerful mystery of God becoming flesh to live among us.  God becomes a part of our mourning, and invites us to learn to dance – not alone, but with others, sharing in God’s compassion, as we both give it and receive it”.  (Pages 69 and 70)  Nouwen tells us that “In the most significant relationships of our lives, God is not an afterthought.  We discover one another as living reminders of God’s presence”.  (Page 72)  And this is what David knows . . . he knows that only though God is his mourning turned into joy.  And he knows that he must thank God for all that he has and will have.

We hear this message over and over again in Esther 9:22, Isaiah 61:3, Jeremiah 31:13, Amos 8:10, James 4:9 and Revelation 21:4, that our mourning will turn into dancing, sadness into joy.

David is not a perfect human; yet through his humility and his constant dialog with his creator, he sees life through God’s plan rather than his own.  David does not treat God as an afterthought and for that reason we see him in constant communication – asking advice, petitioning help . . . and thanking God for the blessings he and his house enjoy.  Despite the downturns and the missteps, David keeps his body, mind and soul centered on God, his heart in open readiness for the surprises of his maker.

Tomorrow, all our works belong to God and are a sign of our constancy . . .

Image from: https://www.ancient.eu/King_David/Written on January 4, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite.

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