Saturday, September 10, 2005

Snipe Hunt!

ghorgh SoH ja'ta', " nej wIj qab," wIj tIq ja'ta' Daq SoH, " jIH DichDaq nej lIj qab, joH'a'."

When you said, "Seek my face," my heart said to you, "I will seek your face, O LORD."
Psalms 27:8

Have you ever been on a snipe hunt? Or... sent someone on one? Usually they are a futile quest; the snipe hunt is used to haze newcomers - sending the victim off to "find" a nonexistent goal. Boy Scouts might tell inexperienced campers about a bird or animal called the snipe as well as a (usually ridiculous) method of catching it, such as running around the woods carrying a bag or making strange noises. Since the supposed snipe doesn't exist, the hunt never succeeds, no matter how foolishly the newcomer acts.

Hard to imagine a Klingon accepting such humor gracefully. At least it seems likely that the joker would face... less than amusing consequences for their jest.

This verse of Psalm 27 is all about hunting for something. The Klingon word here is "nej," to seek. It translates the Hebrew word baqash, to search out (by any method, specifically in worship or prayer); by implication, to strive after. It is used over 200 times in the Bible. We hear it in these words in Psalm 27 - God saying:

" nej wIj qab," "Seek my face,"

This command is NOT a snipe hunt. Seeking God's face - his presence - is the most vital quest in a believer's life.

We read in the Hebrew scriptures:

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call you on him while he is near (Isaiah 55:6)

and Jesus himself says nej, je SoH DichDaq tu' (Seek, and you will find. Mt 7:7 )

Now, two things are required in such a quest.

wa'Dich (first): you MUST begin. It may seem obvious, but any search - for God or for a lost set of keys - cannot succeed IF IT NEVER BEGINS. Certainly any endeavor may be difficult, and hard to accomplish; Some things ARE hard to find. I'm still looking for a set of car keys missing from more around five years ago - though it won't do me much good when I find them, since I no longer own the car.

But, the cha'DIch (second) requirement is even more important: DON'T GIVE UP. My lost set of keys is probably lost still because I didn't persist (though I put a lot of effort into the hunt).

Part of the search for God is a matter of perspective - the two nearly identical declarations "God is NOW Here" and "God is Nowhere" differ only in the one "space" that changes "nowhere" into "now here." But what can make the difference in a person's life? They need to know - this is a quest that can really succeed. How does the seeker enter into the search for God with the confidence that He can be found?

I don't know. But - I think there is something, call it the opposite of a snipe hunt - that can make a difference. For those who have followed this Psalm's call and delight in God's presence, saying:

" jIH DichDaq nej lIj qab, joH'a'." "I will seek your face, O LORD."

Those people can do everything to encourage and support the seekers who might doubt. The book of Hebrews reminds us not to forsake "our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another," That is, to encourage and help believers, those who need help to find the space in their lives where they can see - God IS indeed now here.

The prophet Jeremiah reports God's promise, words to carry us forward as we seek His face:

You shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)

PLEASE consider a donation in relief for Hurricane Katrina. Support to organizations like the Red Cross or the Salvation Army will assist them not only in this current emergency, but it will help them prepare for the next one as well! batlh yInob! Give with honor!

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