Tuesday, June 16, 2009

1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-49

Pentecost + 3 – Year B

1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-49

What to do in the face of assured destruction? We are not talking here about mutual assured destruction (MAD) that was the basis of the cold war arms race, but just assured destruction. When the world is after your head and there is no way out – what to do?

We hear here about five smooth stones. Not the jagged ones that would slow down on their way to their target, but smooth ones that fly straight and dive deep. One image of these smooth stones is to consider them as the deep questions that cause a pause and a change of thought, of heart.

Liberation forces have never tried to out-do their adversary on the same level. There needs to be some soul-judo that goes on where an opponent’s strength is turned on themselves.

Goliath had assurance to the max. He was right. He had might. He would rule.

Going against Goliath’s assurance is not a winning tactic. He’ll probably win and feel more assured. The same holds for Goliath’s might. What is left is the issue of being right. This is an entry point for the smooth stones to go to the heart of Goliath’s operating system. To raise a question dampens enthusiasm and brings a moment of hesitation in execution.

Imagine coming to someone in the name of the Lord of Questions. What would that do to your interaction with someone constrained enough in their behavior that they think doing away with you would answer some important question? What would that do to your image of G*D? How would it change your relationship with whatever “Goliath” you are facing.

David put his head to the matter, took out a question, asked it, and struck Goliath on his assumption of right; Goliath took a question to the head and he began to change. (This does need to acknowledge that this is not a magic formula. You may remember the enormous and multiple pain incurred during the Salt March in India and the Civil Right Marches in the United States of America – many were injured and killed, but the questions piled as high as their sacrifice.)

What would you ask Goliath?

* Will a superiority of equipment or widening some stuff-gap assure
     your happiness?
* If you met your match and were defeated, would you still have worth?
* How many people must die before you will know that too many people
     have died?
* What color are my eyes that see productivity, not destruction, still alive
     in you?
* What harm would come if we shared our dreams before you murder
     me? Why don’t you go first.

Now, facing your particular “Goliath”, what five smooth questions would you ask of both “Goliath” and yourself?

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