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How the Mighty Have Fallen

Your glory, O God, stands triumphant
in high places and low,
in mountains and valleys,
across rivers and oceans that once bled.
How the mighty have fallen from their thrones!
How the satisfied have been reduced to hunger!
How the fortresses have crumbled to pieces
before the powerful wind of your whisper!

Your voice, O God, has heaped hot coals
upon the evil and the selfish,
the wealthy and the deceptive,
in marbled halls and war rooms.
How the loud have fallen from their platforms!
How the liars have swallowed their own tongues!
How the self-righteous have lost their audience
before the steadiness of your righteous love!

Your grace, O God, has tasted like dry dust
in the mouths of the proud,
and to the self-appointed
it has tasted like bitter herbs.
How the self-styled saviors have fallen out of esteem!
How the scholars have found their wisdom outdated!
How the spiritual have tripped upon their foolish paths
because your presence is more beautiful than status!

They shall not get up,
and by your will O God,
we will never again enable it —
neither by our awe of reputation
nor our jealousy of accomplishment,
neither by the haste of our fear
nor the stubbornness of our ego.

Hear our cries for life-giving mercy
and our thanks for daily bread —
our only portion and hope.
Amen.

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Escape Plans

Michal let David down through the window; he fled away and escaped. Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed; she put a net of goats’ hair on its head, and covered it with the clothes. When Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.”
– 1 Samuel 19:12-14 (NRSV)

Ferris Bueller made it look simple and fun: a mannequin under the bedcovers, an elaborate track of string between the mannequin and the bedroom door, a snoring soundtrack. All for a day off school.

Michal’s ingenuity was nearly identical, if a few thousand years prior to Bueller. An idol under the bedcovers. A wig of goats’ hair. A fake case of illness. And Ed Rooney – or rather, King Saul – stalking angrily around the town, trying to capture a young man who had the audacity to escape.

Escape to live another day.

Escape to live in a new way.

I forget sometimes that escape is an option. I dig in my heels. I put my head in the sand. I build up my defenses. All my energy is poured into staking and protecting a claim, when I could be directing that energy (at least some of it) toward an escape plan. Toward a situation that isn’t life or death – it’s just life. Toward a restorative next step. An open window, a back door, a path less taken.

As David knew, a lifetime of dodging spears is an exhausting life.

And an exhausting life needs accomplices to support a life-giving escape. Someone who knows how to sew a good wig out of goat hair. Someone else who knows how to cover tracks. Someone who knows how to love fiercely in hiding and unflinchingly in public. Someone who knows that it’s not a lie to say you’re sick if in the meantime you’re escaping with your skin and spirit intact.

Prayer: For the accomplices who make a new day imaginable, for the relationships that make escape plans possible, for the One who knows every way out of no way, I give thanks as I plot to live another day.

written for the Daily Devotional

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