Monday, November 30, 2009

George Fox: Dew and armor

"I will be as to the dew unto Israel." Hosea 14:5

"So God Almighty be with you all! The dew of heaven is falling upon you to water the tender plants; and the blessing of God be amongst you, which showers down amongst you." George Fox: "Mind the Heavenly Treasure."

God's blessing-- a dew or light shower--is a collective blessing, as indicated by Fox's use of the plural "you."

Community blessing is the true blessing: I agree with John Donne that no man (or person) is an island. I have been struck this past year with how gratitude for individual blessings can unintentionally smack of celebrating one's own exceptionalism. God's true blessings fall on us as a whole: the sun shining, the water flowing, the trees fruiting, peace blooming. I believe it's when we try to corner these blessings for ourselves alone that trouble follows.

I also appreciate the gentleness and simplicity of the dew image. It shows God incarnate in nature, infusing and nourishing us, not controlling us. How can we try to dominate and ruthlessly exploit a nature that is created by God and manifests God's spirit?

"Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God" (Ephesians 6:13)

Now is the time for you to stand: therefore put on the whole armor of God, from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet, that you may stand in the possession of life." George Fox: "Mind the Heavenly Treasure."

The image of armor contrasts sharply with that of gentle dews and showers. But as we know, God's armor is faith, integrity, peace, truth, Spirit, and speaking God's truth to power. Paul understands the "upside down kingdom" and here renders a violent image gentle and insists that this gentleness will vanquish violence and evil. Given how often Christianity has been wedded to violence, how do we reclaim the original intent of the faith as a counterpoint to violence?

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