Saturday, June 19, 2021
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 34 once again. With its two accompanying readings, the psalm hits me right between the eyes with this awareness:
Those of us trying to live in God’s presence, the world isn’t going to help us. We will be in contradiction to many, if not most, popular values. Our choices may be questioned, if not ridiculed. Our values may be explained away. Our integrity may be challenged.
What’s it like to live a faith-based life in today’s culture? The image that comes to my mind is that of trying to play soccer with a square ball!
Paul felt the dissonance:
But the Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is made perfect in weakness.”
So I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,
in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and constraints,
for the sake of Christ …
Jesus put the contradiction in a nutshell for us:
No one can serve two masters.
You will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.
So we need to figure out our “mammon” and vanquish it. We need to make the choice that Paul, the psalmist, and Jesus made. Let’s pray on it today.
Poetry: Contraband – Denise Levertov
The tree of knowledge was the tree of reason.
That’s why the taste of it
drove us from Eden. That fruit
was meant to be dried and milled to a fine powder
for use a pinch at a time, a condiment.
God had probably planned to tell us later
about this new pleasure.
We stuffed our mouths full of it,
gorged on but and if and how and again
but, knowing no better.
It’s toxic in large quantities; fumes
swirled in our heads and around us
to form a dense cloud that hardened to steel,
a wall between us and God, Who was Paradise.
Not that God is unreasonable – but reason
in such excess was tyranny
and locked us into its own limits, a polished cell
reflecting our own faces. God lives
on the other side of that mirror,
but through the slit where the barrier doesn’t
quite touch ground, manages still
to squeeze in – as filtered light,
splinters of fire, a strain of music heard
then lost, then heard again.
Music: I Choose You Now – Rend Collective