Qavah

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sometimes the gift of ancient words is that they can speak when we struggle to. Words like the ones we heard in Psalm 27 give voice to pain and longing that echos through the centuries. When I awoke this week to the news of the massacre in New Zealand, there were no words, just weeping. And I turned to the Psalm for today. … “Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!

…Do not give us up to those who are breathing out violence… Let us believe, that we shall see goodness in the land of the living….”

 

And after crying out for the hope of fear to be gone and adversaries to fall, and God’s face to be seen, meaning Love might win, after all of this, Psalm 27 ends with: Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

 

And to modern ears that can simply bring more tears… Wait for the Lord can sound like another way of saying, do nothing and trust a Higher Power to intervene. Wait for the Lord can sound like we believe in a God who relates to us as puppets in a play…

 

There are threads of waiting throughout the Hebrew and Christian sacred texts- wait upon the Lord, wait patiently for the Lord, I wait for the Lord, my soul waits! Waiting is seen as a sort of spiritual practice- a sign of deep devotion. But what does it mean for us now, in this time, where those who believe themselves superior to all creation are breathing out violence on Mosques, what does it mean for us to wait upon the Lord when the earth weeps and moans in death for all the ways we are breathing out violence on her?  What does it mean for us, in this time to wait?

 

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!

…Do not give us up to those who are breathing out violence… Let us believe, that we shall see goodness in the land of the living….”

In Psalm 27, the The transliteration of the word wait in Hebrew is qavah: And its roots point to enduring like the strong cords of a rope; remaining in surprising strength like the threads of a spiders web. Qavah. Web and Rope. Waiting then is about intentionally turning delicate threads- fragile pieces into power. Because a single strand is fragile, but the web…the web as a whole is something else- a string by itself is a string, but joined and woven, it is a rope, strong, unified, connected.

 

So as people of faith and of conscience, as people of heart, waiting is not sitting back and hoping the Master Puppet will do something, waiting for us, for those of us who care, to live what we say we believe, waiting, Qavah is to be like cords, Qavah is to remain strong, to endure….

 

So for us, waiting is not just sending prayers and calling it good, waiting for us is not doing nothing and holding a fantasy that somehow, in some way, things will be different. Waiting is putting the threads together. Waiting is working for the whole entire web. Waiting is weaving new possibilities into the world with what we do. Using whatever delicate threads we make and share to connect us with others who believe human dignity and all creation is a gift worth saving.

 

On Friday, 16 year old Swedish girl Greta Thunberg led students all over the globe in a strike to save the climate. She is on the autism spectrum and in her words she sees things in black and white and her activism has gotten her a recent Nobel nomination.. Greta says that we either believe in saving life on planet earth and we reduce our omissions individually and collectively or we don’t. There is no time to do nothing. In her TED Talk she lamented of the 200 species being lost every day… “Are we evil?” she asks.  She goes on, “The Climate Crisis has already been solved, we have all the facts and figures. We have the solutions. We do need hope, but the one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act hope is everyone. Instead of looking for hope, look for action, then only then hope will come. Today we use 100 million barrels of oil everyday. We can’t save the world by playing by the rules.”1 Greta started this climate strike that spanned the differences of nations, by herself, by showing up, to Parliament, every Friday, one young girl.

 

There is a movement afoot in our congregation that was started long ago and it has risen again for now, for this moment, a movement to not carry on business as usual. Harriet, one of our living saints, along with others, have led the way and we invite you to join in this struggle. We have done some things collectively, but what is our call with our individual threads? Might we look within? The violence being breathed out is a spiritual crisis. We are not able to see the other world that is possible. We must get busy weaving.

 

As Greta said, hope comes with our action. We can wait for another way, by building it, demanding it and living it.

 

Our collective choices can be magnified by the energy we bring, shift, shape and move. In this time of chaos, our inner calm can come from claiming our role as weavers, of honoring the power of the tiny thread, when it finds its way to the whole. Let us start with whatever tiny pieces of thread or string we have and soon we will be webs and ropes, stronger than we could every on our own, but we start there. Start right where you are…

 

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! But we wait, not by sitting on our hands, but by beginning with our one little thread. We wait for another way by crafting a connectional fabric between all of us. We wait as weavers of a web of love, crafting relationships across differences, even when there is a breathing out of violence.

 

For us, here in this place, waiting is building strong cords. For us, waiting is weaving a web. It is refusing to only look Up toward heaven for help, instead of in. Greta ended her talk with this: “We can’t save the world by playing by the rules. The rules have to change… And it has to start today.” For us, as people who care, waiting is refusing to spend our whole lives waiting to start living what we say we believe. Take whatever thread you have and weave. May this be so. Amen.

 

1 https://www.ted.com/talks/greta_thunberg_the_disarming_case_to_act_right_now_on_climate?language=en#t-659958

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