Daily Office Readings for Monday of Proper 13: Year 2
“That night the Lord said to him, ‘Take your father’s bull, the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father, and cut down the sacred pole that is beside it; and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of the stronghold here, in proper order; then take the second bull, and offer it as a burnt-offering with the wood of the sacred pole that you shall cut down.’ So Gideon took ten of his servants, and did as the Lord had told him; but because he was too afraid of his family and the townspeople to do it by day, he did it by night. When the townspeople rose early in the morning, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the sacred pole beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built.” (Judges 6: 25 – 28)
While all of the Daily Office Readings are wonderful, my pondering gravitated towards the lesson I gleaned in Judges. Gideon has been called by God to let go, let go of the beliefs of his parents to ponder anew what the Almighty is doing. This is not new. Abram too was called from his father’s house to a place that God would show him. We read in Genesis twelve, “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your countryand your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1) So God calls us from darkness to light and to more light, and to further light.
I think this resonated with me so much because I too had to let go of old and false beliefs in order to behold the real truth about God. My parents would have me believe in the man constructed system of racism even though they themselves were considered on the bottom rung of the racial divide. It has taken time, but God has called me away from believing such nonsense.
What I have also pondered about the Gideon story is that there is often the requirement to give up something in order to obtain something. And it may not be an action that we are bold enough to do openly. Gideon did his deed at night so as to avoid notice. I chose to give up any special so-called black cultural expectations in order to be accepted among my dark skinned peers. I chose to be me based only on what I felt comfortable with, secretly at first. As I followed God’s call on my life, rather than that of my peers, my God-dependent path became more and more clear and more and more open.
There should never be any such thing as white or black privilege or expectation based on skin shade. Such baseless ideologies stand in the place that should be reserved for God’s call on your soul. Racism and discrimination are altars of Baal and the non-sacred poles of our parents outdated superstition. We must remove them in order to make room for the real Truth: the Truth that is God. Stepping out of our expected behavior into true belief territory is not easy, but it is very necessary. The truth will make us free.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John