Monday, June 28, 2010

1 Kings and St. Francis

The book of 1 Kings begins in the oddest way.

King David, a frail old man, can't get warm. So they round up a beautiful young virgin, Abishag, to sleep with him. As in, "to lie in his bosom". She became his servant. Clothes couldn't get the king warm. But she could.

"...but the king did not know her sexually..." Bible says so. OK.

But this was the same king who could not control himself when he was a Peeping David watching Bathsheba bathe herself. David arranged for the nearly assured death in battle of her husband, Uriah.

So David could have the cover of sham legality to get his body all over Bathsheba's. Kinda like prime time TV these days. Or the story of the latest political figure, sports figure, male role model or member of the priesthood to be exposed.

1 Kings covers a lot of ground. Consider chapter 16, vv. 25-30:

Omri did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; he did more evil than all who were before him. For he walked in the way of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and in the sins that he caused Israel to commit, provoking the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger by their idols. . . Omri slept with his ancestors, and was buried in Samaria; his son Ahab succeeded him. . . Ahab son of Omri began to reign over Israel; Ahab son of Ormi reigned over Israel twenty-two years. Ahab son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord more than all who were before him.

And so it goes in 1 Kings. Again and again.

Francis of Assisi left family wealth and power. He renounced what others lust for, plot and kill to attain and rationalize. He found peace and the presence of God in the humble things of earth and the creatures God made.

As Wendell Berry later understood and proclaimed by his life, resurrection is more than to be believed in. It is to be practiced.

Practice resurrection today. There's probably something right inside you or at your fingertips. Such as, your next breath.

The earth is full of idols. Israel, it seems, could not break their addiction to them. We make more every day. Worship what is real, living and eternal. Practice resurrection.



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