Tuesday after Third Sunday after Trinity (2 Samuel 11; 1 John 3,13-4,6) / Matins, Book of Common Prayer
There is so much to ponder on this passage. In it, the corruption of the human heart and pain of wars are involved. The focus should not be David’s ‘personal’ failure (seducing Uriah’s wife and actually murdering the husband by sending him to certain death in war). Instead, we should focus on the relationship between the failing human heart and human’s wars.
‘And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David went and enquired after the woman…and sent messengers and too her, and she came in unto him, and he lay with her.’ And Beth-Sheba ‘conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with a child.’
It is worth seeing, how more and more David’s heart (‘the human heart’) is entangled in the growing darkness of external and internal events. He summons Uriah, the husband, back from war – quite probably, to make him sleep with his wife. In that case, her pregnancy from David cold be hided, as if nothing had happened. Darkness is swallowing up David’s vanishing integrity… The final victory of this internal night is the very night, when Uriah refuses to visit his wife. What happens in David’s heart during the ‘night’ is his ultimate failure. ‘And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, saying… Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.’ Then suffering, and death follows. The death of Uriah, other soldiers, and that of the besieged citizens.
These unknown wars remain present in our history. With their forgotten victims and the sorrows they caused, are behind our present ‘failing’ collective moments. One should see, how in the pain of global warming these forgotten war-sufferings, with the nameless victims, are surfacing.
‘Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war… And the shooters shot from off the wall upon thy servants; and some of the king’s servants be dead…’
From a higher perspective upon this seduction-drama, it is not accidental that the corruption of an individual heart is paired with the miseries of external history, war. (Is not history an extended human heart, and their relationship is that of a cause and effect?)
Bath-Sheba mourns when she learns of her husband’s death. This mourning is ‘weak’, insufficient, and fragile. Yet it is our only way out from the cycle of our collective sins. This personal mourning, taking place in an individual heart, also ‘frames’ history. Its intention is in contrast to the negative dynamic, through which David’s connects to our collective History.
John’s letter is a genuine healing perspective.
‘He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.’
This permanent discernment of the issues of the heart and history is the only way of creating peace in our (moral) life and the world.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..