Daily Reflection
November 20th, 2007

Jeanne Schuler

Philosophy Department
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Come Down From that Tree

The court officials make Eleazar a deal: replace the pork in the ritual sacrifice and he would not die. Sure of their generosity, they are stunned by Eleazar’s refusal. Rebuffed, they order the torture to begin.

For Eleazar, life is good. But not everything is for sale. In dying, he remembers those coming after him. He gave the young a gift of his integrity: not all elders can be bought off. A time comes to act, to speak out and say “no more.”

Initially we blink at the resolve of martyrs and side with Eleazar’s erstwhile friends: “It’s only pork. Laws change. Our ancestors were crazy. Don’t be a victim. Keep a low profile for the sake of the children.” In a flicker, we can recruit reasons for going along. Sometimes we forget what’s it all for. How some things just matter.

Later, when we get it, a stillness comes. Doing the right thing is one of the beauties of this world. Without it, we stay hidden in the sycamore tree. Even in the midst of a busy life, we have just come to watch.

We have been invited. Now is our time to climb down from that tree and stand our ground. Here I am, Lord.

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