Shuck and Jive

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Who Remembers Elon the Zebulonite?

The November newsletter for First Pres is on-line. This includes our November quiz for the Bible cover to cover. Check it on Bible and Jive. I am on a theme about "interesting times." Here is my monthly epistle:

Dear Friends,

We do live in interesting times. We are in a time of change, upheaval and uncertainty.

What better time could there be to be alive!

Bible quiz: How much do you know about Elon the Zebulonite?

My guess is not much. Here is what the book of Judges says about him: "...Elon the Zebulonite judged Israel ten years. Then Elon the Zebulonite died, and was buried at Aijoalon in the land of Zebulun." That is it for Elon.

What happened in those ten years? We don't know. That period of time is not interesting. But just a few verses later we read that, "...the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren, having borne no children. And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman."

Now we are settling in for an interesting story. The woman gives birth to Samson. "The boy grew and the Lord blessed him."

Almost everyone knows about Samson. Several chapters are devoted to Samson and the interesting time in which he lived and the courageous and often stupid things he did. Yet Samson is a hero of Israel.

The stories that made it into the Bible are there because they speak about crises and how their heroes and heroines responded to it. That is true for literature in general. It is true for our own lives. Life isn't interesting until our mettle gets tested. We live in interesting times.

Joel Primack and Nancy Ellen Abrams in their book The View from the Center of the Universe write with a sense of urgency.
"...our descendants could have many billions of years to live together--if we can just get through the next few decades without disaster. This is the challenge of the human species today: it is as though we are on a great migration across a huge and treacherous mountain range. To get through these mountains we must gain control of human impacts on the earth and develop a sustainable relationship with our planet." (p. 240)
There is no more exciting time to be alive than right now and no better place to be alive than right here. We have the capacity, the capability, and the creativity to reshape and remake the way we live so that we can come through these environmental, economic, political, and social crises and live to see a few more sunrises and sunsets and enjoy a few more walks through the autumn leaves.

It is in these times that we need communities of conscience. This congregation is one such community. I moved across the country because I specifically wanted to serve this interesting congregation and the interesting people who participate here. Think of the creative and courageous things we have accomplished and what more we can accomplish as we encourage each other and work together for a sustainable joyous future.

Over the next few weeks you will be hearing about our congregation and why and how investing in the work of this people and this place is a way to invest in our future.

Yes, it is stewardship season. Time to think about investing in our communities of faith.

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