Twenty-sixth Week after Pentecost

The so-called “Camp Fire” rages across California, 

consuming acres and lives in its searing path.

Battle-ground recounts rage through states with too-close-to call elections, 

consuming good will and trust in systems in their wake.

Hannah burned hot under the ridicule and severe provocation of her rival,

(Elkanah’s other wife Peninnah, along with her troop of healthy,     growing,      prosperous,            life-promising sons.)

consuming her well-being and happiness. 

Peninnah didn’t miss a chance to barb Hannah:

“Are you blessed yet to have a child, Hannah?” 

“I’m pregnant again, Hannah.” 

“What have you done to offend God, Hannah?” 

“I’m pregnant again, Hannah.” 

“Why do you even bother going to the House of the Lord, Hannah?”

At first Hannah was merely irritated.

Then she began to have tears overtake her as she was sweeping the house.

Then the tears forced themselves into public spaces—at the marketplace she would draw her scarf across her face and rush away from conversations she usually loved.

Then she stopped wanting to eat.

Then she stopped eating. 

But next, she stood tall. She said, “I’m going again to the house of the Lord.”

Hannah was distressed as she prayed

She was deeply distressed, but still she prayed

Eli knelt at his prayer bench and watched her swaying back and forth

She wept bitterly, but still she prayed

            Saying, “look at me, Lord

                        Remember me

                        Don’t forget me

                        Give me what I need.

Eli knelt at his prayer bench and watched her lips moving.

She swayed and prayed

Eli gathered up his robes and confronted her. “why are you here drunk?”

Hannah stood up—stood up tall and confronted Eli: “The only thing I’ve been pouring out is my soul before the LORD—speaking out of my great anxiety.” 

Eli took a step back. “I see” I think God will grant your petition.”

Hannah was soon “with child”

And she stood up again:

            This time to glorify God’s holy name:

Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the LORD; my strength is exalted in my God. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in my victory. “There is no Holy One like the LORD, no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
 Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry are fat with spoil. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low, he also exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world. “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness; for not by might does one prevail. The LORD! His adversaries shall be shattered; the Most High will thunder in heaven. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king, and exalt the power of his anointed.”

The forest rangers were acused of mishandling the forests in CA

            Stood up, said no

            Stood up and resisted an oppressive interpretation

            Found some understanding 

            Stood up and praised the Creator of all forests and creatures.

In GA, one African American was shuffled from one place to vote to another, each telling him it was not his place. After 5 hours of being moved about the city, the polling places closed. He was told “You came too late.”

            He stood up and said “No”

            Stood up and resisted an oppressive interpretation

            Found some understanding

            Others stood up with him, saying No, this cannot be our best 

You stand up…

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