Wednesday, September 03, 2008 – Ezra 7:27-28 – Companions
In the Book of Ezra, we hear the story of restoration, reclamation, and renewal. Looking back from our 21st century advantage, we know the story of rise, fall, rebuilding and re-finding of a nation and of self. The two verses we center on remind us that great works are best undertaken when we gather companions for the journey. These companions will need to share humility, devotion to God . . . and mutual trust.
Each of us lives the Testament Story, both Old and New. Each of us is created and settles into a family ready-made with its own gifts and foibles. Each of us in turn nurtured by this family, either well or poorly. Each of us leaves the nest to make our initial forays into the world, either well or poorly. Each of us enters into the cycle of leaving and returning to God. Each of us, some of us sooner or some of us later, reaches our own scourging, trial and crucifixion. Each of us has many opportunities to return, to turn to God . . . either well or poorly. This is an arduous trip, an obstacle-strew path. This is a pilgrimage we cannot avoid, no matter how much we may try.
When Ezra hears the Call, he immediately chooses his traveling companions for the trek up to Jerusalem. It is the same trek we are all called to make. And when we look around us at our companions we might ask: Do they call us to our best selves? Do they reject slander? Do they find communion in the worship of God? Are they persistent in their own Answering? Do they remain loyal? Do they serve? Do they defend those of us who have little? Are they humble before God and his creatures? Do they nurture creation? Do they apologize and make amends? Are they worthy of trust? Do they serve as an un-warped mirror of our behavior?
If so, then we are well-blessed, for we have found boon companions, mates of the soul, a treasure to be guarded carefully.
A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth. A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy, such as he who fears God finds; for he who fears God behaves accordingly, and his friend will be like himself. Sirach 6:15-17
My thanks to all of you, my friends in the journey.