Tuesday, August 04, 2009

2 Samuel 18:5-33

Pentecost +10 – Year B

2 Samuel 18:5-33

Let's back up a bit to 14:25-26. "No one in all Israel was so admired for his beauty as Absalom; from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head he was without blemish. When he cut his hair – he had to have it cut every year, for it grew too heavy for him – the hair of his head weighed two hundred shekels by the royal weight."

Absalom's outer beauty went to his head. From the time David did not punish Amnon for raping Tamar (Absalom's sister), Absalom plots revenge upon both Amnon and David – "I'll be a real king". Absalom succeeds in killing Amnon but is finally killed in a revolt against David, caught by his own beautiful and bountiful hair.

David would not discipline Amnon and did not grieve with Tamar. Now he weeps for Absalom. Remember when he wept for his dying son (offspring from his adultery with Bathsheba) and then simply went on without weeping when that son actually died?

How is it we are such a mass of contradictions? Do David's genes seem to be in you as well? Privileged by G*D and yet unable to build upon that? May we be given the gift of seeing more of the consequences of our own behavior and engaging in the difficult parts of life regarding them now, rather than mourning them later.

This "we" is both royal-we-speak, meaning individuals, and whole communities. You will have to answer for yourself and together we need to have better conversations as we answer to suicide by environmental degradation and war for fear of terror and other.

Finally, what irony will show up in your obituary? What unexpected source will weep for you? Will any response made to these questions actually lead to a change in community participation?

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