Bible Workbench: Proper 14, August 9, 2009

Text: 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33

His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. What a nightmare, to be left hanging between  heaven and earth!  I see Absalom dangling helpless, tangled in the tree by his chief vanity.  I imagine the fear, the frustration, the loneliness and helplessness of dangling between heaven and earth, knowing more and more surely that my end approaches.  How may we have been trapped like Absalom by some vanity or foible to hang between the heaven we may have aspired to and the earth that would at least offer a solid base to stand on?  At such a time, what might we say or scream?  Whom might we call on?  What might we offer just to be cut down from the oak tree and released from its humiliating and dangerous prison?  Explore the feelings we have when caught in our own trap by writing or by expressing them in form and color.  When you sit with what you have written or made, what way or ways can you imagine to end the suspense?  Where might help come from?  What might it look like?  What would we give for rescue?  Or may the only way out of the trap be for the vain and rebellious young person whose folly got us into this fix to die?  What might need to happen for that inner rebellious one to die and maybe give place to another who could have the wisdom and grace to live?

– Caroline Wohlforth

Images of Absalom:

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