Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Peculiar People

The two elements that form God’s Covenant with his people are his His Promise to carry them on Eagle’s wings and to give them a home-- a Promised Land.

The two pillars that uphold the covenant are Mercy and Fidelity, in the Hebrew they are known as Hesed and Emet....
In our Gaelic language they are beautifully summed up in one word: Buangra, which means steadfast love. All that is mine is yours. Not just exchange of goods but a giving of persons. Two parties come together to become one. They form a Coalition, a Grand Alliance.

My Peculiar People
Deut 7:6 “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God: the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love upon you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples; but it is because the Lord loves you”.

If you look at the King James version you will see the last phrase God’s own people is given as God’s peculiar people. The word has altered its meaning since Elizabethan times. The Greek and the Hebrew word which means special possession. You are God’s special possession – God’s precious possession. It defines all that is positive in a person’s qualities, all that is most valued and precious.

The Queen’s peculiars: Certain offices and honours that she might personally confer on certain Cathedral clerics. Or her own personal jewellery over and above the crown Jewels of thr realm.
A nuns peculiars: While she might bring a dowry-- a sum of money for her upkeep in the convent, she could well have a gold watch or bracelet given as a family heirloom. These would be considered her peculiar possessions. Whatever might happen to the dowry if she left, one thing was certain that she would be handed back her peculiars.
Come hell or high water, nothing was going to separate God from his crown jewels, his chosen people- which is you and me to-day. Only we have to stand by the covenant.

When women go shopping!
As distinct from a contract, covenant places the emphasis on the person rather than on the goods. I’ve noticed this in the way women shop rather than the way most men seem to. When men go out shopping with women, you’ll often find them sitting around waiting and wondering when and where its all going to end. Personally I find it kind of venture into the Aladdin’s cave that women seem to have in their soul’s when they step into a Superstore. When I accompany my friend into Tesco, I never cease to wonder at all the things she can stock up in her trolley, considering that she lives and eats or her own. At seventy she is still shopping for her grown up sons and daughters as if they were at home. It’s all and expression of her own covenant with her family.

The story of Jonathan giving his princely cloak to his friend David by way of a sign of the covenant they were cutting with each other is a perfect example of the same thing. In 1 SAMUEL 18-20 Jonathan takes off his princely cloak and gives it to David. This symbolised the merciful protection of the king’s son. David would feel protected and cherished in the warmth and splendour of the Prince’s cloak. When people would see David so dressed they would respect him and know that he had been singled out for honour by the authorities. He would walk with confidence not only through the land beneath his feet but in the inner land of his spirit. So we clothed in the robe of Divine mercy the Buangra De, find rest and renewal as we meditate on the wonder of our being.

Much of my distinction between goods and person has been sparked off by a gift I was given this Christmas by a lady in this John Main meditation group-- the jacket that I’m wearing just now. It’s a bit like Jonathan and David, a symbolic exchange of robe. First reaction was, Not for me. I’d be Fr. Trendy in that! Thought I’d bring it up to my Grandmother friend for one of the children or grandchildren. As it was a bit bulky and warm, the simplest way to carry it was to slip it on under my overcoat. I hadn’t reckoned with the Winter that was looming. To make a long story short, I have never had it off since putting it on. And the grandchildren tell me that I look cool in it. I now know that I am one of my friend's peculiar people. The incident has promote me to write these lines.

She walked through the shops
with things on her mind
and persons in her soul:
toys for the boys and tops for the girls
and special things for her spouse.
She tussled with the toys and tops and things
while she dreamed of friends and faces.

Then in between the reels and the rails
she touched this fleece and sensed its sweetness--
and then my face slipped between her fingers
and her heart said: “it will warm his bones
and get him through the Winter."

she said, for Winter is over and gone.
Not outside my dear, I said,
When swiftly came her sure reply:
Within the warmth of Buangra De, it is.

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