18 March 2012

eXiLeS iN BaByLoN

(From Jeremiah 31:10-17 and Habakkuk 1:1-6)

Jeremiah speaks to the exiles in Babylon. People were scattered , made slaves throughout the vast and oppressing Empire of Babylon.
Here´s a song to bring Hope for those in captivity, for those who could see no way out, no hope for the future.
Jeremiah lived before the people of Israel were taken into captivity to Babylon. He was trying to tell people what was coming...but nobody seemed to want to listen.
Jeremiah was foretelling what could have happen to the people if they would not repent. Obviously they didn´t listen and kept living their lives as they wanted. They were eventually taken to Babylon...
Yet "There is Hope for the Future, says The Lord"

Who are the prophetic voices today?

Who was within the spiritual communities predicting what the world is going through in these days? ( an example may be Walter Brueggemann who published in 1978 a book called "The prophetic Imagination"... maybe worth to read it as it's still so relevant today...probably was not so popular at that time as usual )
Wars, famines, natural disasters, economical and political crisis, global warming, etc...
Some may accuse God of all these... and yes, maybe God is sadly allowing all these things to happen... not because it is God's fault, or because God is bad, but because we are suffering the consequences of our own choices... unfortunately, some suffer the consequences of someone else´s choices... How many prophets did God sent in order for us not to come this way?
For many years we´ve been choosing to follow our own selfish goals... Money has been the main goal in most of societies for many years now...
Jesus was very clear when he said "You cannot serve two masters, for you will either please one or the other. You cannot serve both God and Money"... I think is the only demon (if you want to call it that way) that Jesus refers by name, and in direct opposition to God.
"The love of money is the source of all evils", as we know it.
In that same beautiful passage, Jesus tells us not to worry, for our basic needs would be met, if only we put God´s Kingdom first... and "God´s Kingdom" is nothing but PEACE, JUSTICE and JOY in the Holy Spirit.
For many generations we´ve been forsaking that...
Unfortunately the Church has not been a good example either... We are today simply harvesting what we´ve sown...
Yet, God keeps patiently saying "There is Hope for your future"...
We hope things to change from one day to the other... But in order for things to change, WE HAVE TO CHANGE...
 "Repent! " - John the Baptist said.
"Repent ! " - Jesus said.
And this calling is still echoing until today... "Repent ! "
"Turn from your selfish, greedy ways"... "Turn away from the Love of money"...
"Turn to your God, and God's ways"... "Turn to Justice, Peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit" ... "Turn to the birds, and learn from them"..."Turn to the plants, and learn from them"... "Turn to your Creator, this Universal power, energy, being, we should not even dare to name or try to describe"...
This word "repent" may sound a bit too religious, because it may have been so misused, as so many other words, that we don't know its meaning anymore... This word simply means (or maybe not as simple as that) , "change the way you think", "change the way you live your life", "change your priorities", "change the way you see the world"...
Jesus and John also lived under a big and oppressive  empire yet, they didn't live by its values... that's why they had the authority to say "Repent !"
Like the apostle Paul also said " Do not conform to the ways of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2)...
This is repentance !!!
And in this there is hope for our future...
The way of this world  as we know it, is the way of money, power, greed, selfishness, competition, judgement, etc... we all know where it's leading us all to...
The way of God is about LOVE, JUSTICE, PEACE, UNITY, JOY, SHARING, COOPERATING, FORGIVING, etc...
Which way are we conformed to?
There is still hope !
We can change the way we live, the way we think, the way we treat one another, the way we treat the whole creation...
there is Hope for redemption.
There is Hope in Resilience.
Which master do we want to serve?
We can live in despair, complaining and mourning...
Or we can change our mindset and hope and trust God who turns mourning into joy...
we can live under an oppressive empire and not surrender to it nor live by its rules and values... we can live in it and not OF it... 
to trust is not an easy thing... because we have to step out into the unknown , the unseen, before we see clearly what lies ahead...
Human Empires will always collapse, and with it, those who put their trust on them...
If we dare to put our trust in God we will be filled with Hope again and as Jeremiah said " We shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd;
our lives shall become like a watered garden, and we shall never languish again...
We shall be satisfied with God's bounty."

Only the blind cannot see that we are living under a global empire... its goals are mainly about money, power, greed and control by fear...
There is no turning back...
Because of our own choices , those in power of this Global Empire, are taking over...
we hear today many complaints against governments, about the crisis, etc... but I ask, wasn't this the result of our own choices? of our own selfish desires?
There is no immediate Hope... Hope will not come without change or sacrifice and even pain and suffering...
I'm having the feeling that it will not even make any difference to pray for a change at this stage...

Habakkuk is another voice that spoke in the past... he actually complains against God for he cannot accept how God is allowing the Babylonian empire to take over (1:1-6)... yet, again, in the end of his prophecy, there is a hope in the future... the prophet contemplates the greatness, the mighty power and omniscience of God... he cannot but surrender to God's will, even if it's hard and seems unjust...
His only response was that he will remain faithful, he will trust and rejoice in God even when everything around will fall apart.

We can see our present age today... Things are bad, Governments seem hopeless and corrupt, the system of life as it was developed is surely not sustainable to continue... life in mega-cities don't seem to have a future to survive... the planet is crying out for a change or else, I don't know...
I don't like to be fatalistic ... I do believe in hope... but I don't believe hope will come if we don't change... we can pray our guts out, but if our attitudes and way of living remains the same, I cannot see how things can change...
We've been using and abusing our natural resources for our own interests, the earth became a prostitute in the hands of the ones who control the economical market...
Every nation (and even every established religion) wants to be the next empire to subdue all the others, for they know that the lifestyle people want to sustain will only be possible for a few... It's all about power and control, isn't it?
Unless something very drastic happens and we are all forced to wake up and stop this self-destruction...
What else will it take? I wonder...
Who will survive?
We are left with nothing but to trust and hope in God... and unfortunately, most of us have to come to this limit, to eventually trust and hope in God...

Is it all this that is happening today being allowed by God for us to wake up?
How many times prophets warned us?
How many more times we will close our ears not to listen?
How many times we killed those prophets?
How many more will have to die?

I'll finish with a song Bob Marley sang many years ago:

"There's a natural mystic blowing through the air;
If you listen carefully now you will hear.
This could be the first trumpet, might as well be the last:
Many more will have to suffer,
Many more will have to die - don't ask me why.

Things are not the way they used to be,
I won't tell no lie;
One and all have to face reality now.
'Though I've tried to find the answer to all the questions they ask.
'Though I know it's impossible to go livin' through the past -
Don't tell no lie.  "




PEACE

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