Reflections on loving God, being Catholic, being a woman, being ill, loving life and anything else that comes to mind.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Making A Name for Oneself

When he encounters death, Gilgamesh, the tragic hero of the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest pieces of literature man has written, realizes there is only one thing to do, make a name for himself while he is here on earth. So the great Sumerian king builds cities and monuments so that even though he will die, he will not be forgotten. This idea of making a name for oneself is one of those things that accompanies being human; when human history begins, we are concerned, even consumed with this desire to continue even after death.

In Genesis this human desire is addressed in a profoundly different way: Abraham is convinced he will have no heir since Sarah, his wife, is barren. But God promises that Sarah will, in fact, bear him a son, that Abraham's name will be known for all times, that he will be the father of a great nation, that they will be a light to all the nations. Here, for the first time, we see how God responds to the human desire to make a name for ourselves.

The House of Representatives passed the Pelosi-Reid healthcare bill this evening even though three Democrat congressional leaders said they could not guarantee the amendments to prevent funding abortions would be in the final bill on which the Senate will vote. They passed it even though it provides for "end of life care" (death panels) and governmental oversight of medical decisions and jail time for those who choose not to participate and the wholesale distribution of suffering and death. They passed it knowing it is bad law. They passed it knowing it is unconstitutional law. They passed it knowing it is illegal and wrong.

Many of our elected officials have promised to fundamentally change healthcare in the United States. They have promised to redistribute wealth by taking our money and giving it to others as an act of law, without our consent. They have promised to fundamentally change the United States itself. These people have promised to make names for themselves. Names that will outlast their deaths. Names that will go down in history and never be forgotten.

When we are baptized into the Body of Christ, the promise Isaiah speaks is fulfilled: God writes our names on the palms of His hands. We need no longer make names for ourselves. That job is done. In Christ, we are given a Name we cannot create for ourselves. We are called as Christ's own forever; we are given Christ's Name for our very own.

We must respond to the House of Representatives. This must not go unaddressed. But we must also stop to consider that many of those politicians who voted to harm us, to harm the sick and elderly, to slaughter infants in their mother's wombs and to use our money to pay for it all are Christians and all of them are children of God. They do not leave off being Christians because they refuse to follow Christ. They do not leave off being Christian because they choose to follow their own way. Baptism cannot be undone. But we can choose damnation.

And so we must look at this and remember, choosing damnation means that we do not see that our names written on the palms of God's hands. Choosing damnation means we are left alone, desperately trying to make names for ourselves. We either accept the Name of Christ or we erect filthy monuments on the backs of slaves and infants and the weak. One may look back and say, I made that. But the monuments we construct to ourselves are ugly and destructive.

Please, please, please pray that those who voted for this bill that they know will cause great harm will hear that God is calling them by name; pray that they will repent. Pray for this nation, pray for those who are frenetically embroiled in trying to make names for themselves. And pray for those who seek to follow Christ, to accept the Name that is above every name. Pray that we will be faithful and will endure until the end.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Amen. God bless you.