The Front Page

Welcome to the Front Page, the digital cover of the Wayne Press.  Here we will share with you things that can't be captured in our newsletter--videos, music, color photographs--as well as articles that reflect on faith and life.  

 

Habakkuk

The Chancel Choir has been rehearsing an anthem based on Habakkuk 3: 3b, 17-19a:
  Though the fig tree may not blossom,

    and there be no fruit on the vines;
    though the produce of the olive fail,
    and fields yield no food;  
    though the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,  
  Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will joy in the God of my salvation. 
  God the Lord is my strength,  
    His glory covers the heavens,  
    and the earth is full of His praise.

It’s an interesting text.  We tend to rejoice, giving God thanks and praise, when life is good.  When it’s not so good, we usually complain or are silent at best. Habakkuk is a prophet to which few people pay much regard, so I did a some research. 

Little really is known about Habakkuk, aside from the Bible. His name appears in Habakkuk 1:1 and 3:1, with no more details about him outside of the title "the prophet".  Habakkuk (the prophet) also appears in the Apocrypha in Bel and the Dragon. Even the origin of his name is uncertain.  Because the final chapter of Habakkuk is a song, it is often assumed he was a member of the tribe of Levi. In Bel and the Dragon (part of Additions to Daniel in the Apocrypha) verses 33–39, Habakkuk plays a role in the famous story of Daniel in the lion’s den.  Habakkuk is in Judea where after making some stew, he is told by an angel to take the stew to Daniel, who is in Babylon in the lion’s den. After proclaiming that he is unaware of both the den and Babylon, Habbakuk is transported to the den with Daniel by the angel. Habakkuk gives Daniel the food to sustain him, and is immediately taken back to "his own place".

Habakkuk is a short book consisting of five oracles about the Chaldeans (Babylonians) concluding with a song of praise to God.  The book itself is evidence that its author was a man of considerable literary talent. Habakkuk is unique among the prophets.  He openly questions the wisdom of God.  (See the opening chapter of his book.)  Even the text used in our anthem turns our normal pattern of rejoicing when life is good on its head.

Multiple sites claim to be the final resting place of Habakkuk. A mausoleum in western Iran is believed to be his burial place.  The site is protected by Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization. The organization's guide book states that Habakkuk was understood to be a guardian to the Temple of Solomon, and that he was captured by the Babylonians and was imprisoned by them for several years. After being freed by Cyrus the Great, Habakkuk went to Ecbatana and remained there until he died, and was buried nearby in what is today Toyserkan.

Come listen to the Offertory Anthem by James Biery on Sunday, September 29 at 9:30 and 11:00.

Posted by Jeff Fowler at 2:13 PM
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