Monday, September 28, 2015

WMTRBW Week 5: In Over Our Heads

As we spend time with texts from Genesis 4-9 this week (read them here) and consider how we deal
with the things that have gone awry in God's creation--and how God chooses to deal with these things, I was struck by the words of Thomas Merton that Pope Francis quoted in his speech to Congress last Thursday:

I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God, and yet hating him; born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers.

So often, we act like we are indeed prisoners of our own violence and our own selfishness, that we are controlled by the image of the world. But we do, indeed, have a choice--our biblical stories this week show us this. God presents Cain with this choice--what will he do with his resentment and anger? God faces this choice for God's self--what will God do with God's disappointment with the world, with the disaster God's good creation has become? Cain's impulse is to violence and destruction; and initially, God follows this same road. Ultimately, though, God charts another way--the way of peace, of a bow of war laid to rest in the clouds as a sign of covenant, of God's commitment to stick with creation no matter what and find methods of redemption that don't involve violence.

Where do you see us acting like prisoners of our own violence and selfishness today? How could we begin, in ways big and small, to choose and chart the other way God chose and charted for us--the way of redemption and peace? As you read chapter 5 from We Make the Road by Walking this week, consider these questions and leave your comments below.

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