• Steven Marsh

Comical and Pathetic: a Reflection on Psalm 5, Psalm 35:1-18, Genesis 30:1-24, 1 John 1:1-10 and Joh

I find it a bit crazy how a pattern of consistent themes emerge about humanity and its inability to comprehend God’s ways, particularly when God has made it so clear. The psalmist is continually crying out to God to be rescued from his enemies. I get it, but I don’t. Evil is and evil people are. The story of God’s people always involves the wicked and God’s hand is in it. To me, bad stuff happening to good people is normative. Bad stuff happens to bad people too, but…You know what I’m getting at. Or take the case of Jacob. He must have known the story of his father Isaac and how his grandparents didn’t believe God so Sarah gave her handmaiden to Abraham. Abraham slept with her and Ishmael was born. Sarah later became pregnant, much to her disbelief, and Isaac was born. So, Jacob, doesn’t get Rachel as his bride at first request, but was given Leah. Then seven years later, Laban gave him Rachel. Leah and Rachel both had problems getting pregnant, hand over their servants to Jacob, Jacob has sex with them, children are born and eventually Leah and Rachel bear their own. It’s almost comical, if not pathetic. I mean no disrespect, God, but do forgive me. Why was Jacob so dense? The lineage would continue, but he had to believe that God would open Leah and Rachel’s wombs. But he didn’t. The fact that having multiple wives was okay in the Old Testament and then a prohibition is laid down in the New Testament is a bit problematic. Not because I wish I could have more than one wife, but the cultural conditioning of the Word seems to be at play. From God’s perspective, why was having multiple wives a good thing in the Old Testament, but then not okay in the New? And then there is the blind man receiving sight and those in the religious establishment wanting to know whether it was his or his parents’ sin that caused the lack of sight. It was neither. Jesus healed the man and forgave his sins. We are to do the same; not get hung up on why the ailment and get on with praying for healing and pointing the person to forgiveness in Christ. God is light and in him there is no darkness. I find a lot of darkness in me and in the Church/church. I need to get on with believing God’s promises and stop looking to human means to solve the challenges I face. And the Church/church needs to get back to the Great Commandment to love God and others. I learn a lot in my brokenness as well as from the brokenness of others. And such is the case in the biblical narrative. It is in and through brokenness that God writes history on and in our lives. To God be the glory in the pathetic comedy of it all.

Scripture texts are taken from the two-year daily lectionary cycle which follows the liturgical calendar and begins on the First Sunday of Advent.

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