This reflection is from a book of devotions that our youth group at Hickory Neck created for our parish’s use this Lent. Each day, parishioners offer their reflections on the text assigned for that day in Lent. This is my reflection on an apocryphal writing, Susanna 1-9, 15-29, 34-62. If it is unfamiliar to you, I highly recommend reading it first. You can find the text here.
I am struck by the timeliness of Susanna’s story. Because Susana is a book from the Apocrypha, most Christians do not know her story. But her story joins the chorus of the many #metoo stories of sexual assault and harassment we have discovered in the last six months. Susanna’s story is a story of the abuse of power. Though the two elders purport to give Susanna a choice, either choice will leave her devastated. Though she chooses the option that feels free from sin, her choice will lead to her condemnation and death. In truth, she has no choice – the men sinfully exert power of her.
What encourages me about Susanna’s story is that there is a man who uses his power for good. We are told that God stirs up the holy spirit of Daniel, and Daniel (a man of power in his own right), responds, eventually proving Susanna’s innocence. Daniel’s role in this story reminds us that God longs for us to use our power for good. The #metoo stories of our day are not just the stories of women. They are stories about all of us – stories of how we, men and women, are to love as Christ loves, and to respect the dignity of every human being. How might we be agents of love, using our power today to help those without power? How might we be agents in bringing about the kingdom of God?