Reflecting on Isaiah 45:1, 4-6
We need to talk about Cyrus. Right now, two weeks before the election. That he is mentioned in the first reading this weekend is one of the many things I love about the lectionary. When we really need to hear something, the Holy Spirit has already placed it in the readings for the day.
Here’s a guy who could teach us something about wise leadership. He ruled the Persian Empire for thirty years (559-530 BC), and expanded it into the largest empire ever to rule up to that time.
After conquering Babylon and observing the Jewish community there he said, “Here’s all the treasure King Nebuchadnezzar stole from you when he burned your Temple sixty years ago. Go home, rebuild your Temple, and pray for the Royal Family and me.”
Ah. Doesn’t that language just soothe your battered soul? Here is what I am confident we all want to hear from whomever wins this election: Let’s begin again. Let’s find again the values we all cherish: civility, kindness, understanding. If we can’t search our hearts and see that we have, in the name of love of our country, lashed out and deeply hurt others, we can’t heal. And let’s discipline ourselves to not say, “Yeah, but what about THEM?” Let’s just use this moment to examine ourselves.
By using understanding and compassion, King Cyrus was able to see the pain that others had experienced. That’s why he is the only Gentile in the Hebrew scriptures to be called God’s “anointed.” At our baptisms, each of us was anointed “priest, prophet, and King.” May we activate that anointing immediately, in imitation of King Cyrus the Great.
How will I be an instrument of peace after the election?
Kathy McGovern ©2020