Thursday, September 22, 2005

Asking for Directions

ghorgh wIj vav je wIj SoS lon jIH, vaj joH'a' DichDaq tlhap jIH Dung.
When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. Psalm 27.10


What's up? Usually a question into "the general state of things," however when we read God will tlhap jIH Dung, take me up - we can well ask, what does "up" mean?

The Klingon word used, "Dung," really is a noun for "the area above" or "area overhead." I use it in the KLV to stand in for a number of words: above, over and up.

But the words here really represent the Hebrew word 'acaph - used over 150 times in the Bible. It means "to gather" - as simple as bringing things together. It may be as simple "gathering" food. Or it can mean death, as in describing the passing of Aaron, saying he "shall be gathered unto his people." Used here more tenderly, it suggests "hug" or "embrace." But rather than directions, the verse is about something else: abandonement.

The "worthy orphan" in literature ranges from Oliver Twist or Anne Shirley, to Harry Potter, and is a familiar figure. A popular subject in fiction is the child bereft of any family who manages by luck and effort to thrive and succeed. The Bible concerns itself with the orphan also - not to spin a story, but to direct our attention in TWO directions - up, and out.

The book of James says:

Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (1.27)

The believer who cannot direct his or her attention out to the needs of others must measure their faith against that rule. Can we be faithful toward God if our attention is more directed to protecting our own interests? We have to move out and defend those who have the least, as the Bible puts it: The widows and the orphans.

And... we need to look up.

ghorgh wIj vav je wIj SoS lon jIH.
When my father and my mother forsake me

this psalm reads. Not saying parents WILL all forsake their children, but reminding us that even the best parent is mortal, will not be able to do everything.

When those we depend on - parents, friends, and family fail, then David reminds us here

joH'a' DichDaq tlhap Dung
God will take me up.

What a comfort!

Forsaken? Friendless? There is still one who you can turn to - ready to lift you up, and help you, when you turn to Him.

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