Thursday, June 14, 2007

A moody King

"Let justice roll down like waters" ... Amos 5:24 (Painting - Asian woman's resource center)

This morning the “Witness” had as its headline, “No taxis, small march.” Things don’t always work out the way they should in the game of power and politics. The supposed support by the taxi associations turned in upon itself as many protesters could not get to the lunchtime march.
This week I am preaching on Naboth’s vineyard, that so vivid a story of land issues and political machinations. It is such an African story as the possession of land is not just a property purchase but a sense of being one with mother earth and the ancestors. The issues in this story also evokes poignant memories of forced removals in the Apartheid era. Where entire settlements were broken down and moved to other areas and out of the way places because of the segregation act. The Naboth story is also about politics and warped power, those who have and those who have not. It is about ‘tribal’ and ‘urban’ clashes, where King Ahab demands land to increase his wealth, his land and ultimately his power. The issue may not be around wage increases, but the issue revolves around the understanding of who owns the land. Naboth stood his ground with the assurance that it was divinely allotted to him, his clan. Giving up the land would break his religious vows, it would trample on the covenant between his people and their God. The obsession for land and power turns sour in King Ahab’s stomach. He his found sulking on his bed when the infamous Jezebel, the queen gets ear of the situation. Although she is wickedly cunning, she is also misled by the pouting King who only passes on half the information. The information that is inflammatory, not the deeper and more theological arguments that were given to him by Naboth. All she heard was Naboth wouldn’t give the King his land. With that injustice to a Monarch’s pride, the queen sets out to destroy the life of Naboth and the land issue she thinks is resolved. Half information is usually the cause for much evil. Half truths of newspapers, half truths of gossip, half truths afforded by politicians, these bits and bites of information form our opinions, lecture our attitudes and ultimately steer our actions. Lets not play into the hands of such and evil, half truths and greed.

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