10/7/2019 1:40:16 PM
Reflection: How Long
If you were looking for a phrase to describe Habakkuk, you should use Jin Han who described Habakkuk as "the irritated prophet." Habakkuk lived around the year 600 BCE in Judah, a small country with Jerusalem as its capital. During this moment in history, Judah was sandwiched between two competing empires: Egypt and Babylon. Both used their political, financial, and military muscle to force Judah to do their bidding. The people of Judah were anxious, unsure of what was going to happen next. And that anxiety, I think, weakened the community. Corruption grew as people focused on taking care of themselves at the expense of others. Judah was crumbling due to external and internal pressure. Yet the irritated prophet began his words today in an interesting way. Instead of speaking to Judah, he spoke first to God. His "how long" wasn't Habakkuk attempting to get new information from God. Rather, he began with a lament. For too long, the people of Judah suffered and God, in Habakkuk's eyes, seemed silent. The anger within these opening verses is very real. He wanted God to show up. He made a promise that he, like the soldiers on the watchtower, will keep watch until God shows up. God, finally, responded but not in the way Habakkuk expected. God told him to wait and to trust that God's promises will come true.
As we celebrate today our 60th anniversary as Christ Lutheran Church, I'm in awe of the number of ways we continue to trust in God's promises. Every time we gather to worship, we trust God is with us. When we gather for Bible Study, Sunday School, or Adult Ed, we trust that God knows us and that the Holy Spirit will reveal new ways to help us know God. When we gather to pray, to cook a meal for a member of the community, to harvest in the garden, and when we check in with one-another, we trust that the relationship we have in Jesus will always unite us. Through our committee work, choir practice, property cleanup, trash and treasure setup, and what we do in our church council, we trust that God has already given us the gifts and talents we need to further God's work in the world. We continue to proclaim the good news that Jesus is not apathetic and God is not absent. And we trust that Jesus' presence in our lives truly makes a difference. As we move forward into CLC's next 60 years, we will do what we have already done: trust God. And that trust will keep forming us into a community that will, today and always, keep following Jesus.