Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
October 27, 2020
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 128, written around the time of return after the Babylonian Captivity.
Israel was in a time of re-establishment, a time of rediscovering the blueprint for a settled and fruitful life. Psalm 128 lays that formula out:
Blessed are you who fear the LORD,Psalm 128:1-2
who walk in God’s ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
As with many scripture passages, (certainly today’s from Ephesians !!!), some of the original language doesn’t ring perfectly with our modern sensibilities. Personally, my spirituality doesn’t include “fear” when I relate to God.
Rather than interpret such passages rigidly, we need to receive the words for the core of their meaning, which remains the same over the ages. What changes is how each culture and social evolution receives and honors the Word. This is the reason we pray with scripture and study it, rather than simply read it as we would read a cereal box.
Happy is everyone who fears the Lord…Walter Brueggemann – New Cambridge biblical Commentary
“In this phrase, ‘fear’ is not about being intimidated or ‘shaking in your boots’ before the divine presence. It is rather about reverence or awe before YHWH, and the observation that whom one reveres, one obeys. To fear YHWH is to entrust all of life and hope to this one and follow the divine guidance. The perspective of the psalm is that such a decision about lifestyle makes a difference; living in line with YHWH’s teaching brings a profound joy and completeness to life.”
Psalm 128 invites us today to explore our sense of awe, reverence, and obedience toward God’s Presence in our lives. As we breathe in God’s boundless love for us, may we breathe out our complete trust and gratitude.
Poetry: Entering Saint Patrick’s Cathedral by Malachi Black
I have carried in my coat, black wet with rain. I stand. I clear my throat. My coat drips. The carved door closes on its slow brass hinge. City noises— car horns, bicycle bells, the respiration truck engines, the whimpering steel in midtown taxi brakes—bend in through the doorjamb with the wind then drop away. The door shuts plumb: it seals the world out like a coffin lid. A chill, dampened and dense with the spent breath of old Hail Marys, lifts from the smoothed stone of the nave. I am here to pay my own respects, but I will wait: my eyes must grow accustomed to church light, watery and dim. I step in. Dark forms hunch forward in the pews. Whispering, their heads are bowed, their mouths pressed to the hollows of clasped hands. High overhead, a gathering of shades glows in stained glass: the resurrected mingle with the dead and martyred in panes of blue, green, yellow, red. Beneath them lies the golden holy altar, holding its silence like a bell, and there, brightly skeletal beside it, the organ pipes: cold, chrome, quiet but alive with a vibration tolling out from the incarnate source of holy sound. I turn, shivering back into my coat. The vaulted ceiling bends above me like an ear. It waits: I hold my tongue. My body is my prayer.
Music: How Great Thou Art – Mormon Tabernacle Choir