Friday, February 22, 2013

"Here I am, LORD"

"Here I am, LORD"

So, yesterday at work, Dharni, Shishir and Anteneh looked pretty glum. This weekend the xxx batch process will be running, and it has to be monitored hourly (to make sure that it is, indeed, running, and not being bogged down or quit), so 4 guys, including Daniel, that means six hour shifts, day or night, regardless, throughout the weekend.

So I said, "Do you want me to help?"

And they said, "Yes," gratefully.

When God asked the heavenly host, "Whom shall I send?" Elijah responded, "Here I am, LORD," in response to God's call.

Elijah: אֱלִיָּהוּ "My God is the LORD."

But what was God's call?

God's call was to bring His message to His people. That is: to do His Work. And what is His Work? Well, in Elijah's case it was to prophesy. But why? The why was to bring His people closer to Him, to ease their burden, not because it was His burden but because the burden they bore was that of worldly concerns.

When I asked, "Do you want me to help?" I knew I was sacrificing my weekend, and, given the project I'm working on, I'm truly sacrificing it, as in, I'm not going to be paid for this, no matter what my contract says. And maybe, God willing, I will get paid for it, but we're all in the same boat in that regard, and moreso: Dharni and Anteneh are full-time/salaried employees ... all they get is a 'thank you.' Maybe.

But being a priest, prophet and king requires sacrifice. Nobody wants to do it. Jonah ran when God called him to speak His Word to the Ninevites. Good King George VI (to be) cried when his brother Edward VIII abdicated the throne to him.


Because to be a King means standing in front of everybody, straight and strong, but powerless to do or to change anything, just seeing the people you reign over throw themselves in front of enemy swords and guns to defend you and to follow your command, and because why? Because you hope and pray what you've sent them off to is the right, and not a foolish and terrible mistake that you will have to live with for the rest of your life.

Because to be a prophet means to tell people what terrible and bad things they are doing, and the certain doom they are facing, and not have them thank you for this 'Good News' but, instead, turn on you, hate you, persecute you, kill you, and laugh when nothing happens to them, because God's Word and Justice isn't like instant coffee, punishing you right away. It does, but sometimes not visibly, no, sometimes it takes 40 years of your iniquity for the Persians or the Romans to roll in and roll over your country and to destroy your temple and your culture and to disperse your people to the four winds. But you tell them all this will happen, and they laugh at you or ignore you.

Because to be a priest is, yes, to offer the sacrifice to God, but it's all day, every day, getting up in the wee early morning hours, going out to be among the people, serving them, going home, exhausted, and alone, no wife, no children, no friends (you're a priest, after all, who wants to hang with you?), waking up early again the next morning and doing it all over again for the rest of your life, and then have a parishioner come up to you after Mass and critique your homily: "Father, you were wrong to talk about politics: this is church, keep your religion out of the voting booth." or even: "I think you said the word 'very' too much, Father, it made your homily boring."

So you pour your heart out and people don't understand what you're doing or call you boring?

Priest, Prophet and King. All sacrifice themselves to the laity, the common man, who doesn't understand nor care, so gratitude? Forget it.

God calls us, each of us, to martyr ourselves, some: literally, but some, us, me, in little ways. He asks us to take up our crosses and follow Him, and the reward isn't what we're going to get out of it: no one deserves Heaven nor can 'earn the right' to it. The reward is the sacrifice itself. God calls us to worship Him and to be of service to others. By saying 'do you need my help?' I sacrifice a tiny, teeny little bit of nothing: 'my rights,' 'my time,' none of which belong to me, anyway. But in that sacrifice, I'm in service to others, an example of what Jesus the Christ was for me, and in so doing, do I save my coworkers?

No. But I answered God's call to service, giving up myself for Him.

I'll let Him save them through my example or through the movement of the Spirit in them. 

I'm here to do what God wills me to do. I'll let God be God and do the rest.

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