punctuation 2, Tim Keller on mothers’ forgetting

25 Jul

In my thirties I found out that my mother in 1953, on giving birth unexpectedly to twins gave one of them to her unmarried sister to care for for six months.

That was me.

Today I know that in 1953, married for 11 months and told that she was carrying an very big baby’ had an emotional breakdown. She couldn’t care for us both.

But we never really bonded. I left home and married ‘out of my race’ when 17. My parents did not talk to me, as they promised, for eight years. No one in the family did- in in a real sense – they never did, even after my divorce from Barbara.

An Elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, I serve in multiple ways and in Sunday’s did membership interviews during the AM service ( from 8-12 ) and cane back to evening 7 pm service to do after service prayer.

This was In the early 2000s and I got the CD of the morning services. On 7 February 2010 the topic from Isaiah 49: 1-16 in the Songs of the Servant series was ‘Can a mother forget?’ ( note the question mark )

Well I listen to it that afternoon before the 7 pm service. My mother had forgotten me. And still was forgetting me. I knew this scripture well, and wanted to hear a comforting response.

While Tim Keller did most of the teaching at that time, one sermon/talk out of the four services on Sundays was ‘farmed out’ to one the other staff pastors. That AM service on 7 February at the Lincoln Centre site was taught my a staff person and not Tim.

In brief summary their answer to the question of the Sunday was: Mothers, just like God, never forget their babies.

I knew from personal experience that was a BS, a crappy, answer.

My mother forget me. I was working in a high school in the South Bronx and there were hordes of forgotten kids all over the place. I believed the scriptures as true, literally and metaphorically true. I believe with all my heart. Yet, here was a scriptural interpretation that didn’t match my experience.

I needed, I still need, more.

I needed someone to acknowledge all those kids I knew. I needed someone to also see me.

I needed a mother who saw, who did not forget.

Well, off to the 7 pm service and I prayed Tim would speak.

He did.

And in his opening he immediately, immediately, said that this translation was wrong.

The punctuation of verse 15 should not be a question mark but a period. The scripture Tim explained was clear in the original:

⁃ mothers will forget children, but God never forgets anyone. We are embedded and recorded on the palms of his hands, just as the nails were on Jesus’ hands. Resurrected those wounds remain on his hands for all eternity.

I had my healing answer; I had the more I thirsted first. I had a true taste, true a sip from this word,

The Servant of the Lord

Isaiah 49: 13- 18

“Shout for joy, you heavens;

rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains!

For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”

15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget,

I will not forget you!

16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

17 Your children hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you.

18 Lift up your eyes and look around; all your children gather and come to you.

As surely as I live, “declares the Lord you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride.”

Comforted with compassion, my affliction was healed. I now have more, more than enough.

My healing lasts. Eternally, it lasts.

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