Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4Â – The 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time â€“ for Sunday, November 3, 2013
â€œI will stand at my watchpost and station myself on the rampartâ€¦â€ (Habakkuk 2:1)
You know Mr. Zâ€™s story, right? He was the height-challenged guy in Lukeâ€™s Gospel that scrambled up the sycamore tree to gaze over the crowd for a gander at Jesus. A tax collector, his popularity rivaled a trip to the dentist. And Mr. Z was rich enough to be considered the Warren Buffett of first-century Jericho.
Thatâ€™s enough clues. Iâ€™m sure you recall his story in Lukeâ€™s nineteenth chapter, but I decided not to reflect on Mr. Z. Why? He seemed too easy, so predictable.
After years of writing these lectionary ramblingsâ€”weekly wondering which of the listed Gospel, New Testament, Old Testament and Psalms verses Iâ€™ll chooseâ€”Iâ€™m happily in a rut. 93.4%* of the time, Iâ€™ll tackle the Gospel passage. Hey, Iâ€™m a Christian, and follow Jesus, and his ministry first inspired and continues to inspire me. I love to read and re-read Jesusâ€™ parables. I may question the literal veracity of a miracle or healing account, but they continue to fascinate and invigorate my faith. Therefore, I usually discarded the three other weekly lectionary options. Sometimes they seem less interesting than the Gospels. Sometimes my ignorance about (for example) the Psalms or 2 Thessalonians means they intimidate me. Way back in seminary, we only had so many hours to study the Bible . . . a whole mess of the Holy word was wholly ignored. Furthermore, during my years of weekly preaching in churches, didnâ€™t the pewfolk prefer to hear about Jesus than, say, Jael going zombie-hunter on Sisera and pounding a tent peg into his noggin (Judges 5:24-27) or all those prickly laws beyond the Ten Commandments?
And so this week, with a dose of trepidation, I ignored Mr. Z in order to pay attention to . . .
Habakkuk. (Go ahead, say the name out loud.)
Mr. H was a prophet. His eponymous work is the 35th book of the Old Testament, nestled between Nahum (Who?) and Zephaniah (Huh?).
Mr. H was mentioned twice in the entire Bible. And both times the name popped up inâ€”wait, waitâ€”Habakkuk! (Check out Hab. 1:1 and 3:1.) Jesus never mentioned him. Paul didnâ€™t quote or misquote him. Iâ€™ll bet if you asked a pastor to give you, quick as she can, the names of any five Old Testament prophets, Mr. H would be absent from her list. Mr. H sure wouldnâ€™t appear on my Top 5 Prophets List: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Ezekiel and Moses. Oops, I canâ€™t count Moses because he wasnâ€™t one of the official â€œmajorâ€ or â€œminorâ€ prophets! Drats! Iâ€™ll go with Lamentations, then. Oops . . .
I know so little about Habakkuk.
Nearly anything related to his prophetic role, about his place in the pantheon of prophets, or how he mightâ€™ve influenced Jewish or Christians traditions, would involve a cursory, furtive search by me in Wikipedia. Or Iâ€™d need to get off my arse to scan my officeâ€™s dusty library shelves for TSIHRSS** resources. Continue reading →