Thursday, December 08, 2016

hannah

"Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time."  1 Samuel 1:17

I minored in history while in college and so I know the reality of who gets to write the history.  It is the winners, it is those with the power, it is those who have control over everything and everyone. Or at least, that is how it seems.  Which is probably why we have 1st and 2nd Samuel in the Old Testament, but no 1st and 2nd Miriam; it's why we have 1st and 2nd Kings, but no histories of the common person.  It is why we have the letters of Peter, James, and Paul, but no letters by Phoebe in the New Testament. 

I wonder what it would be like to read 1st and 2nd Hannah, if we could.  Instead of stories about priests, perhaps we would hear more about women who struggled with infertility and seeing so many of their babies die before age 1.  Instead of long lists of kings, many of whom obviously didn't have a clue as to what they could be doing or should have done, we would hear of the poor, who were doing everything they could to put food on the table, to care for their families, to seek to be faithful to their God.  Instead of generals and battles, maybe we would have been told the stories of the most vulnerable in that day, of those who were forgotten or simply overlooked in the hurry to win one's status as a great warrior, of the folks who were more like us.

Perhaps if we did have histories written by the women, if we had gospels as seen through the eyes of children, if we had letters sent by the oppressed and the forsaken, we would have caught on a lot quicker that the God we worship, the One whose birth we celebrate this season, the Spirit which seeks to infuse us with mercy and peace is on the side of the poor, is longing for us to join in the struggle to end injustice, is waiting for us to discover the value of all those we dismiss as simply being worthless.

Prayer:  Though it is easier to read about folks, help us to listen to the stories, to the lives, to the hearts of all around us.  Amen.


(c) 2016 Thom M. Shuman

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