Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Celebrating (Nehemiah 8:10)

     Nehemiah continued, "Go now and enjoy rich food and sweet wine, and be certain that you send a share to those who cannot provide for themselves, for this day is holy to Our God. Let no one be sad, for Our God's joy is your strength."
Nehemiah and the returned exiles to Jerusalem are celebrating. They are celebrating a resettlement of the land their grandparents and parents had been forcefully evicted from. They are celebrating that the presence of God, which had been with them in exile, is also with them in the resettlement. They are celebrating with joy not because of what they have, but because of whom they worship.

We, who are queer and allies, need to take note of this scene. "God's joy is your strength," proclaims Nehemiah to those huddled in the ruins of what was once a great city. Often when life is either less than expected or overwhelmed by the ruins of hopes and expectations unmet joy tends to slip away from us. We allow our surroundings to shape our inner being as oppose to allowing our inner resources to shape our environment. 

Nehemiah calls us to heed the very core of our being - the great Heart of the Universe beating within our own hearts. Openly and wonderfully the Sacred trips over the divine-Self just to say, "I love you." Here within this intimate relationship with the Holy lies the only sustained source of joy. Since it ignites from within we can easily miss it by looking without. The right partner, family acceptance, full legal rights, safe work place, these and others are certainly points of joy in our lives. Yet, as wonderful as they are we can never be assured of their presence in our lives.

Those to whom Nehemiah speaks are familiar with the fluidity of what makes for a comfortable life. Many, even though exiles, left good homes, assured food supplies, and friends to reestablish life in a "bombed out" Jerusalem. Everyday was a new struggle, presenting yet another obstacle or problem to overcome. For them joy was not something the outer world provided, as Nehemiah reminded them, joy comes from a deep, inner well of being.  

Anyone who has been marginalized realizes the wisdom of Nehemiah. Joy does not come from the world, although there may be great moments of personal contentment. Rather, joy wells us within us because the Sacred has so invaded our being that we cannot help but to celebrate this thing we call life, with all of its nobility and foibles. 

NOTE: if you are an explorer on the journey into the Sacred I inivite you to check out my other website SpiritQuests.

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