Sunday, November 8, 2015

Bringing Children into this World

Fair warning. This week's post is more reflection than exegesis. While browsing images for both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, the pairing of the texts for Proper 28B/Ordinary 33B/Pentecost 25 (I Samuel 20:4-20 and I Samuel 2:1-10 along with Mark 13:1-8, especially verses 1 and 2) led to the thoughts here.

"For this child I prayed." The phrase is actually between the two passages from I Samuel for this week. But it remembers the first while anticipating the second. Hannah prayed for a child and God finally answered her prayer. This child, I prayed. Hannah's prayer continues to echo in faithful, hopeful, often-disappointed hearts to this very day.

"Not one stone will be left." Jesus reminds the disciples (and us) about the fragility of our world. All we need do is look around to see that Titus as a type still exists in our world. Titus who laid siege to Jerusalem, finally breached its walls, marched into the city and destroyed the Temple. Almost every stone.

As I pondered these scriptures it occurred to me that we continue to pray for children to come into the world even as we know that this world is a fragile place, often especially dangerous to the very children we ask God to give us. But we continue to ask.

Despite the Tituses. Despite the destruction. Despite the danger. Despite those who lead others astray. Despite the wars and the rumors of wars. Despite nation fighting nation and kingdom fighting kingdom. Despite earthquakes. Despite famine. Despite it all. We continue to ask for children and God continues to answer that request. Children continue to be brought into this world. This world. Not the next, not another. This world.

Pictures above: (top) Prayed-for Child. Photo (c) Lynn Miller. (below) Francesco Hayez. The Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem. 1867. Venice: Gallerie delle'Accademia.

See how this painting (Bosch's Adoration of the Magi) relates to the story of Hannah at the Art&Faith Matters Facebook page.

For additional thoughts on Hannah, click here.

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