Ezra 10: Ezra summons all the people to Jerusalem. There he tells them that everyone who married a foreign woman must send away their wives and children. They all agree as a community. That pretty much sucks!
Here’s a little tidbit from the notes in NRSV: “The crisis is resolved through communal consensus to reinterpret earlier laws and apply them to present circumstances, and therefore to oppose mixed marriages within the covenant community” (p. 681).
Psalm 75: A psalm of praise with response by God. The people thank God for saving them from the wicked people. The psalmist acknowledges that God is the one who judges us.
Psalm 76: This psalm focuses on Zion and talks of Jerusalem. The notes from CEB study bible suggest to read the sidebar at Ps 48 titled “Psalms 46-48: Jerusalem and God’s Kingship.” The psalmist talks of God’s strength and how everyone will fall to God when they try to fight against his people.
Psalm 77: Here’s a little tidbit from the NRSV study bible: “Though often classed as an individual lament or petition, the psalm is a community petition in which a speaker expresses the personal distress of all (vv. 1–10) and recalls God’s past fidelity to the nation (vv. 11–20)” (p. 836).
Although I’ve had trouble with the psalms, I like this one. Throughout the first half the psalmist questions God, often. Well, perhaps not directly questioning God himself, but questioning where God has gone. It seems the psalmist acknowledges that he has done some questionable things and now wonders if God is there anymore. Here are some of the questions (CEB Study Bible, p. 924 OT; Ps 77.7-9):
7 “Will my Lord reject me forever?
Will he never be pleased again?
8 Has his faithful love come to a complete end?
Is his promise over for future generations?
9 Has God forgotten how to be gracious?
Has he angrily stopped up his compassion?”
There’s something about these questions that resonate with me. As I continue to progress throughout this challenge, I have realized a personal desire to eventually write a book about my experience. I want to be sure to relate it to science and religion as that is my passion. Here I see a theme that I feel has emerged throughout this experience: the role of asking questions. Science relies on asking questions. I personally believe that religion relies on asking questions too. I think if this could be more of a discussion amongst those who feel they had to leave organized religion yet remain spiritual, perhaps they wouldn’t have left. One thing I’ve learned over the past several years is that it’s ok to question things in religion. I won’t be struck down if I question things. My goal is to not directly challenge God, but it is to better understand God and religion in general. Now, there are aspects of religion that rely on “faith.” I recognize that. But we can still question those aspects as a way to better understand. Father Kevin, now Bishop Kevin, has encouraged me for years to be myself, to ask questions, to try to better understand. I think that’s one of the main reasons why I’ve become comfortable with religion again. Alas, I ramble, but this is my blog and I can do that. I just need to do more of that.