Monday, December 18, 2006

Oh Heavenly Ruler!

As I meditate on the words of today's "Oh!" antiphon, I am struck by two different facets of this prayer.

First, it is interesting to note how our faith speaks to us through events of history. Moses lived, the bush burned, Sinai happened. All of these are historical happenings in the divine Drama. However, they also provide fodder for our internal ruminations concerning who God is. What do these events reveal about the God who is? What do they tell us about the One to Whom We Are Praying?

You tell me after you pray this prayer with the Church.

Secondly, there is hierarchy here. Yes, I've addressed this "issue" before in these blogs. Once again, my theory holds that "hierarchy happens." And there is nothing basically wrong with that.
But what kind of hierarchy are we speaking of here with the words "Adonai" and "Ruler of Israel?" For my money, I look to God to provide the definition.
Yes, in the Hebrew Scriptures, as in the Church today, there are repeated demonstrations that hierarchy sometimes causes problems. Bad kings are crowned. Evil churchmen gain ecclesiastical office. The lords sometimes "lord it over" the rest of us and mess up pretty badly. Yes, it is enough sometimes to make one run screaming into the arms of a gender-neutral Diety.

Still, I have hard time throwing out the divine image baby with the human circumstance bathwater. I learn what the true Lord (Adonai) and the real Ruler are through looking at the Incarnate Son. His palace is a stable, his court a rag tag assembly of peasants. His throne is a Cross. He rules by serving. That is the Lord of my Church, the one whose loving, self giving service informs every ideal of leadership.

and so today we pray....

O Adonai and Ruler of the house of Israel,
you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush,
and on Mount Sinai gave him your law.
Come, and with an outstretched arm redeem us.

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