Valley of Decision

Saturday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

October 12, 2019

Click here for today’s readings

Today, in Mercy, we have our second passage from Joel. It’s a awe-filled reading which describes Yahweh calling together the nations for final judgement. The gathering is to take place in the valley between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives.

Joe4_14 valley

From his poetic imagination, Joel describes the apocalyptic scene:

Apply the sickle,
for the harvest is ripe;
Come and tread,
for the wine press is full;
The vats overflow,
for great is their malice.
Crowd upon crowd
in the valley of decision;
For near is the day of the LORD
in the valley of decision.

It is a place where the Lord decides who, by their decisions, belongs to God and who does not. Those who have suffered, even shed blood to remain faithful – these are God’s holy ones. They will receive the reward.

What can we learn from this reading which grew out of Israel’s experience so long ago? How can we relate to a “valley” on the other side of the world?

That awesome valley runs right down the middle of our heart. It is the place within every moment where we decide for God or for self. On one side, its high ridges call us to greed, irresponsible self-interest, manipulative relationship, indifference to others’ suffering.

On the other side, the heights of love, mercy, and justice stretch before us. 

We will stand in that valley innumerable times in our lives. Which way we have chosen to climb makes all the difference when the final trumpet sounds.

Music today is a stretch. But I think Joel’s vivid prophesying was a stretch for his people too. The song is “Valley of Decision”, a reggae worship sung. It is sung by Christafari, a Christian convert from Rastafarianism. We all come to God in different ways. I was fascinated and inspired by this singer’s own choice from his “Valley of Decision”. (Words below)

Joel 3:14-21
Run come and fall people take heed to His call,
Valley of Decision. Valley of Decision.
This is no game, people have to die in His name
Valley of Decision. Valley of Decision.

Darkness it looms all around us, I find it hard to see.
I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know
whether I should stay or whether I should flee.
People all around me seem, they seem to be so sad.
I see them cry I hear them bawl I see their backs against the wall,
I wish I could wipe away their tears.

(Pre Chorus):

There’s a Holy, a Holy hill, Holy Mount Zion,
Holy, Holy Mount Zion (Heb 12:22).
Just know that He’s the Lord your God
in this Valley of Decision, Valley of Decision.

Chat Chorus):

Even though I run through enough Hills and Valleys
I fear no evil cause God is with me.
Even though I run through enough Hills and Valleys
Thy rod and staff they will comfort me (Psalm 23:4). (2x)

(Pre Chorus)
(Chat Chorus)

Jah (Yahweh) Great and dreadful day will soon come (Joel 2:11).
Jah will pour out His mighty, mighty, mighty Spirit to all mankind (Acts 2:17).
Through Him all creation, all creation was made (John 1:3).
Those who call upon His name, Call on His name and you will be saved (Rom 10:13).

(Pre Chorus)
(Chat Chorus repeated)

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