Woe to the 3/12

Posted: October 15, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I could spend some time writing about the Joker movie I just saw, and the social commentary around stratification, promises, mental health, illness, and the entrenchment of hate to the point one can be dehumanized and become the other—note how this movie may tie into our reading of the Minor Prophets (the Twelve) in the Hebrew Scriptures. Which brings us to Habakkuk and the prophet that spoke out against betrayals of covenant and contracts.

Minor prophets as we know, with a wink and a nod, are simply short of word count, nothing more…yet they can be read timelessly as any good holy scripture can, they are not soothsayers or fortune tellers, rather they point out the injustice of the system. Habakkuk can be speaking anywhere from 687-536 BCE (don’t you love archaeological text dating?).  He zeroes in though on Babylons betrayal of Judea.

Say what? A political power breaking a contractual agreement or accord even? Surely this has not standing with our world today. Hmmm… if only one could think of examples in America, Alberta or Canada when a new governing party comes into play and rips up the previous governments agreements with employees, other governments for “reasons” (read: political partisanship and gamesmanship). It creates a volatile world, and community. As the Tedurah would would phrase it, a bad gal bladder, for humanity. It creates uncertainty and that the office is not what holds the power to speak for a collective, but only the whim of that political party until the next one takes over. If this is true why would anyone bargain or enter into talks wholly and impartially for the good of all, for the duration?

Once more the woes in Chapter 2 strike to the heart of what the cause is:

“Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain,
    setting his nest on high
    to escape the clutches of ruin!
10 You have plotted the ruin of many peoples,
    shaming your own house and forfeiting your life.

-Habakkuk 2:9-10 (New International Version)

Woes, that moment of scolding plus, where it is laid out that what is happening is allowing a cancer to grow. It happens to sprout out of self-centredness and a drive for profit over people. Within the Prophet’s words in chapter 2 in fact, there is five woes brought forward in a snazzy tune as you note the excerpt from above…crimes of the oppressors, that is the agreement breaker– Babylon (that whole thing about not bearing false witness, or do not lie, or as Jesus said, let your yes be yes and your no be no).

The woes include plundering, extortion, bloodshed, degradation of nations and people and idolatry.

Take those five woes into the political climate of where you exist. What needs to be spoken up and out against? What is working to disrupt? This is the work of Habakkuk.

For as we move into the psalm of the third chapter the woes have been laid out, the ground work St. Paul would use for showing grace has been picked up, and now the psalm of hope rings out for those waiting and doing justice. Hope that it will bear fruit, for ya see, it may grow slower than evil, than discouragement or apathy, but when hope takes root, slowly but surely…

it grows.

Cultivate hope. Let the light shine in.

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