Friday, November 15, 2013

Daily Old Testament: Obadiah and My Own Article on "What DId I Say?" (Part 9)

There is just one chapter to this book. It contains a vision and a message from Yahweh concerning the land of Edom, the land Esau, Jacob’s brother, was given in the southern Dead Sea region and Jordan.

The message is addressed to Edom, which has become too proud: “I will cut you down to size among the nations; you will be greatly despised. You have been deceived by your own pride because you live in a rock fortress and make your home high in the mountains” (2-3). They think the physical security they have from the people around them will always protect them.But “even if you soar as high as eagles and build your nest among the stars” (4), Yahweh will now “fling” Edom down. Renowned for its wisdom, it will be reduced to idiocy; warriors will be seized with terror (8-9).

Edom is being punished for its behavior at the time of Jerusalem’s fall – perhaps it took advantage of the fall and occupied the city. “[Y]ou stood by as strangers carried off his riches, as barbarians passed through his gate and cast lots for Jerusalem” (11).

They gloated and pilfered treasure; they blocked fugitives escaping and handed over people to their enemies: “As you have done, so will it be done to you: your deeds will recoil on your own head” (15).

The House of Jacob “shall be a fire, the House of Joseph a flame, the House of Esau stubble” (18).

From Leadings: A Catholic’s Journey Through Quakerism -
“What Did I Say?”
Part 9
Christ begged his disciples to remain one in him, to be so completely one “that the world may believe that you [God] sent me [Jesus]” (John 17: 23). We have not been faithful to him in this. We are now very much divided—perhaps not with as much hostility as in the past, but still very much divided and mostly over things that seemed increasingly meaningless. My own sense of it was that the Catholic Church came the closest to being the church that Christ had founded. It went back to apostolic times. It had a sense of itself as the bearer of Christ’s promise to Peter that he would build his church on him and give him the keys to the kingdom (Matt. 16:18-19).

The Church saw itself as charged with Peter’s love of Christ and his charge to feed Christ’s sheep (John 21: 15-17). But the Church was not only the promise bearer; it was also the spouse who had gone astray and become worldly and corrupt and unfaithful, the one God’s wrath had been poured down on and scattered, just like the people of God’s first promise.

Out of this jumble of insights, coming as they did against the backdrop of frustration and struggle I felt embroiled in as a Friend, ultimately came a sense of clarity, a sense that God was called me to return to the Catholic Church. Indeed, even my sense of what it meant to be faithful as a Quaker seemed to require going back to the Church. When I talked with people about it, the responses I got were interesting. Curiously, most of the positive feedback I god came from Quaker friends. It was widely appreciated in Quaker circles that there were aspects of Quaker spirituality and Catholic spirituality that overlapped or coincided: the belief in Christ’s “real presence”, for example, or Friends’ notion of “continuing revelation”, which is similar to the Catholic view of the developing tradition to which they attach such importance. There were also the mystical elements that were similar. One Quaker minister I knew actually admitted to me that he too sometimes mused over the idea that Quakers might really be considered a kind of religious order for lay people in a Catholic context.

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