Advent, Day 9: How can God bear to look at us.

Word: God(Damn)It*
Verse: Isaiah 23:5

Note that Isaiah 23 is not included in the Catholic Sunday lectionary. Since Catholics mostly hear the bible at mass, most of us don’t know this text.

*I said I’d put profanity behind the jump, but I’m reading this as religious discourse, not cursing.

People and priest shall fare alike:
servant and master,
Maid and mistress,
buyer and seller,
Lender and borrower,
creditor and debtor.

Water protector and pipeline constructor,
black victim and white police officer,
Immigrant and ICE agent,
landlord and renter,
Politician and constituent,
vigilante and victim.

The earth is polluted because of its inhabitants,
for they have transgressed laws, violated statutes,
broken the ancient covenant.

Therefore a curse devours the earth,
and its inhabitants pay for their guilt.

I am grateful to have this reading today, because the events of the day help me understand where it is coming from. And the reading gives me a response, grounded in my tradition, to the events of the day.

Passages like this one convey the impression that the inhabitants of the earth are (or were! I was always taught “were”!) so vile that God can barely stand to look at them: not the image of God as a loving Creator who loves all creation that we usually emphasize.

Today? I get it.

Walter Scott was shot in the back from 17 feet away while he was running away from a police officer. We have it on video.

The officer’s defense is that he was in fear for his life.

The jury couldn’t reach a verdict.

In Baltimore, after Freddie Gray’s homicide while in the custody of police, the city officials asked for calm. “Trust the system. Let the system work.”

Our civil systems constitute the covenants of our civil society. When those covenants are violated, every time they are violated, in every relationship in which they are violated: our entire society is violated, all our relationships are violated.

Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants pay for their guilt.

Shot in the back while running away. God damn it. Fuck this shit.

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