Heaven and Earth
MORNING PSALM 146
I love the way the Psalms keep together what we often separate: the God of Creation is the God who literally loves every aspect of all of Creation; he is both transcendent God of the universe and the God of justice, looking out for the weak:
5Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD their God,
6who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
7who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
I can just see Jesus reciting these lines as he understood his vocation. This was certainly in his head when he answered the disciples of John the baptizer who asked him if he was really the Messiah:
The LORD sets the prisoners free;
8the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
9The LORD watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
And then the Psalm launches off into transcendence:
10The LORD will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the LORD!
God of heaven and earth, incarnate in flesh and blood, risen to the right hand of the Father from which he never stops caring for and loving heaven and earth.
How am I doing?
The morning Psalm is 57 which jumps into the contradictions of living that we all too well. What’s going on inside? Never just one thing; never simplicity. It’s complicated. We walk around with blaring contradictions: are we in trouble and about to panic or are we people of faith and confident trust in a loving God who “has our back” (I just watched “Blind Side” in which the phrase is thematic).
So, first we are conscious of our situation; we feel like the universe has it out for us:
6 They set a net for my steps;
my soul was bowed down.
But that’s not the whole picture: the other side of the coin is that the opposition has it’s own problems too:
They dug a pit in my path,
but they have fallen into it themselves.
At the same time, we want to confront the world of trouble as people of faith. At some level we really do not believe we are out there dangling by a thread over a bottomless pit; we believe and doubt simultaneously. So the confession we make is also:
7 My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast.
There is an action step that needs to be taken. Faith, like everything else living, needs tending or it atrophies. We play a part in making the affirmation of faith real by our commitment to bend the knee, lift up the voice, worship the God we rely on:
I will sing and make melody.
8 Awake, my soul!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn.
Turn off the news, close the lid of the computer, get quiet, and focus. God is in this with us – and of course the greater story is that Jesus has walked this very same path as well; we are not walking it alone, nor without help.