Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Ghost of Spendings Past

Poole's Hill Cemetery
Ebenezer Arey: Died April 28, 1874
November 1, 2006

'Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, "Thus far the LORD has helped us." So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel; the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The towns that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath; and Israel recovered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.' (1 Samuel 7:12-14 NRSV)

The site was not named Ebenezer until after the Israelites finally defeated the Philistines, and took back the Ark of the Covenant. To commemorate the victorious battle, Samuel set up a marker-stone, named it 'Stone of Help,' and thereby the site became identified with the stone and with the place where God’s miraculous help aided them in their victory over the Philistines. The stone, standing up-right, was called 'Ebenezer,' and the site naturally took on that name as well.

The word 'Ebenezer' comes from Hebrew, and is actually two words pronounced together: 'Even Ezer.' Its literal meaning is 'Stone of Help.'

The Ebenezer, or 'stone of help,' is a reminder of God’s Holy Presence and Divine aid. Spiritually and theologically speaking. An 'Ebenezer' can be nearly anything that reminds us of God’s presence and help: the Bible, the Sacramental Elements, a cross, a picture – those things which serve as reminders of God’s love, assistance, and Real Presence.

The 'Ebenezer' we have all come to identify with as the querulous miser of the holiday season really doesn't fit the mold as a "Stone of Help.' No, that would be me. Within less then 24 hours before the last trick-or-treater left my doorstep, the Xmas holiday commercials started up on the tube.

That cantankerous naysayer of the overblown commercialization of the impending pseudo-secular holidaze? Let's call that person 'Mushi.'


Desmond Dekker: The Israelites
(Buy: Desmond Dekker: Rude Boy Ska)

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