“The Lord, your God, has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly his own.”
This was part of the reading of the Morning Office today, and it really struck me. Forgive me if I stretch the translation a little! You might think, hearing that God’s people are “peculiar” I would be a little concerned. But no, this is actually comforting to me, because I’ve been feeling a little peculiar lately. Mostly when I’m out in public. For example, when at a Catholic schools week dinner, the Ave Maria melts seamlessly, without even a breath of pause, into the Pledge of Allegiance, complete with gigantic waving flag on the projector screen. I know that I blanched at the juxtaposition of the two; it was like being punched in the gut. And once the whiteness passed, I wondered how I could sit in a room and continue to smile and make small talk.
Or watching the nightly news, when my stomach turns at not just the story they tell, but the images they show. When did they start showing people dieing on TV? Real people, not cartoons, not even movie special effects. I don’t watch the news often, usually only when it’s on at someone else’s house, but I had noticed they showed an awful lot of very gory footage the last few times I did watch. The movies are bad enough, but no matter what point the story is making (the one I saw was doing its best to vilianize Iran – justifiably or otherwise) I can’t see how showing someone dieing like that is not taboo.
And this keeps happening. I’ve never fit comfortably into most social situations, but it’s getting worse and worse, not because I feel personally awkward, although there’s enough of that, but because I find myself asking, “Why are we doing this?” “Why are all the waiters black?” “Can Catholics live like this with a clean conscience?” “What about the people who can’t afford to eat tonight?” And on, and on. So to know that God’s people are “peculiar” gives me a little hope that I’m not crazy, and maybe I’m even on the right track.