Friday, June 15, 2007

Sic transit gloria mundi


I am not a man of ancient languages nor for that matter modern ones. I am still trying to get English under my belt let alone Latin. I picked up this Latin phrase in a commentary on the story of Naboth’s vineyard, which should rather be titled with this caption which means, ‘Thus passes the glory of the world,’ or in more common understanding, ‘Fame is fleeting.’ King Ahab grabs hold of the deceased Naboth’s vineyard but the moment of glory soon turns to his own demise for allowing such an atrocity to happen. God is seen in and behind the words of this story, not influencing the free will of the characters but certainly passing judgment on their choices. Ahab’s blood is soon to be licked up by the dogs in the same place that Naboth was slaughtered. He got what he wanted but the joy of possession did not last long. It is an old tale retold in many a tradition, a tale that warns against greed and getting things without considering the ethics of the means. It cautions us in how we use our free-will and the limited power we have. Each of us have a ‘power zone’ if you want to call it that. We can have sway and influence within a certain radius around us. For some it is vast like King Ahab and Jezebel. They can call a fast and stir a nation into action. For others their only sphere of power and influence is the home, brothers and sisters, or ones children. This story plays itself out in the micro narratives of our lives. The tragic stories of fathers who abuse their children, mothers who neglect their children for the sake of their own interests, children who manipulate their parents with vain threats just so they can get what they want. Why this story of Naboth is so intriguing is just because we can identify its tale in our own sorry backyards.

"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" (Painting - Asian woman's resource center. Isn't it great!)

1 comment:

Pamela said...

I enjoyed reading your blog this a.m. and the painting is great (I am an art teacher in the States). You have stirred an interest in Bonhoeffer and now I will be off to the library to see what I can find as the first and foremost order of the day after prayer. Bonhoeffer is turning up a lot on blogger posts lately. People are beginning to read his work. We are caught up in busi-ness and have forgotten to sit at the feet of Christ in adoration. We have forgotton how to live in community, time to reclaim that. God forgive us and help us reorder our priorities.