On Our Knees We were not meant to know this evil. We are on our knees trying to stem the tide of that which we were not meant to know. hands inept—ravaged and torn. We were not meant to bear in tender flesh such intimate knowledge: evil's searing pain, prolonged stench of indelible ash. This knowledge would betray us. We grabbed the limbs of self-deception eager to climb her rungs shaking loose like pollen clouds of arrogance, brutality convoluted delusions of entitlement. Voracious we climb. Why??? Still we are on our knees intention desperate flood held— just shy of our consumption by unhidden promise stretched out before Noah And kept. We have been meant, always to wear the knowledge of God's Presence—garden green but sadly trade for sheep's clothing choosing, still. We are the wolves. Set down thy thirst and fisted fork! BEHOLD the deeds of the Lord see the work of his hands— they, too, are naked and torn. We are on our knees... jfig 4/2021
For months, with so many of you, I have listened to cries of distress across our nation and asked, What is wrong with our humanity? Probed the more puzzling question, How did we get here, still? And wrestled with the disturbing, How am I complicit? I find myself begging for hope that will reach beyond my own boundaries and capacity. The title “On Our Knees” comes from this hint of desperation. Our collective answers to these questions appear to fall far short of understanding; and the days appear to grow darker… My thoughts return again and again to these passages: Genesis 2 and Isaiah 5. Genesis 2 which describes Eve reaching for what she thinks is an edible fruit, but missing the end of the sentence… She misses it again in Genesis 3, when Satan clearly states, ” Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil(emphasis mine).” Oh, how we want to be like God; in control and power and knowing. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…“1 And Isaiah 5 – a detailed litany of our continuing misguided appetites. I like Isaiah 5 because it does not tell me that I am all wrong. It tells me, because you do this, you still hunger and thirst. It gives me a list from which to choose; and I only have to absorb in my skin, the woe over which I trip. From its core, Isaiah 5 is also actionable. These passages have provided space from which to begin to understand what I see, feel, hear. Slowly, this reflection is beginning to shed light on where I act entitled, in my interactions with neighbors and friends, in the check-out line and with my spouse… I have friends who are convinced they play no part in systemic racism. I understand—it is frightening to consider the ramifications.
Self deception has no respect for color. We have poured in buckets of every hue imaginable. I believe it is important to ask ourselves the disturbing questions. Midst much chaos, it has helped to have some sense of where to begin. I hope you find these passages helpful as well.
1) Genesis 3:16,17. The Holy Bible, ESV 2001 by Crossway, Wheaton, IL. (www.esvbible.org)
Genesis 2:9,16-17; 2:25; Genesis 3:5-6
Isaiah 5, particularly 8-24
Genesis 2:16-17 But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
“Genesis 2 (NLT) – So the creation of the.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 24 Apr, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/gen/2/1/p1/s_2001>.
Isaiah 5:12b “but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands.”
“Isaiah 5 (ESV) – They have lyre and harp.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 24 Apr, 2021. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/esv/isa/5/12/p1/s_684012>.