Thursday, May 3, 2012

Vicious Time (Habakkuk 1:2)

How long, Adonai, am I to cry for help
                   while you do not listen?
                How long will I cry “Oppression!” in your ear
                   and you do not save?
Habakkuk 1:2

Impact by gay artist Jim Dryden @
Life in the “meantime” is difficult. Habakkuk is experiencing his meantime between God’s generous offer of a promise and the fruition of that promise. We know how this feels. Many of us experience the promise of equality while still living in the not-yet of the politically expedient.

Like Habakkuk, we mourn the prayers that go unanswered. Like Habakkuk, we feel that our yearning for communities of understanding is distorted. How long shall we cry for help? Will the Sacred, which professes to honor empathy and personhood, hear our cries?

There are times when God seems so far away that I wonder if I have fooled myself. For Habakkuk and us, our frustration is born out of our experience that this is the same God who breathed life into creation, the same God who split the sea, the same God who entered into covenant, and the same God who raises the dead. Why does this God tarry and turn a blind eye? Why doesn’t this God rouse the divine self and attend once again to the cries of those in need? Why have we only heard of the wonders of God in the past and not experienced them in our time?

This is the tension of the “meantime.” I long and hope and wait for a timing that is known to the Sacred yet is hidden to me. Feeling blocked out I am frustrated. Far more exhilarating is the time of receiving a promise, or the time of seeing it fulfilled. Much harder is living in the meantime. Where is that threshold at which “meantime” becomes “mean (or vicious) time?”

The question Habakkuk asks is not why is God slow? Instead Habakkuk asks “how do we live in the meantime between promise and fulfillment?” The answer according to the prophet is that we live by faith. In the context of Habakkuk’s day this means living a life informed by the Holy.

As a queer, I hear Habakkuk’s insight as encouraging me to live as if the promise has already been fulfilled. I know from experience that when I live in despair I am angry and obstinate. On the other hand, when I live in the expectancy of promise I am creative and compassionate.

Habakkuk must have had the same experience, for at the end of his writing he celebrates: “God makes my feet as agile as a deer’s, and teaches me to walk on the heights” (3:19). May God make it so for all of us.

1 comment:

  1. All things are directed...reshaped for the good through God in His Time, not ours...keep Faith for rulers, Popes, despots, all human institutions...come...and they go...but as Christians, our Lord Jesus is unchanging...He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow...He draws all people...theist or non-theist, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, B'hai...Straight/Bi/Gay/Trans...all... to Himself..embracing and loving unconditionally. Namaste...David