Dear Christ Church Family,
Listening to the news really can bring us to despair. It’s not just the threat of the Covid-19 virus that can affect us, it’s also the differing responses to that threat that can make us throw up our hands. When all that is added to the pile by commentators who are openly advocating the interests of the “haves” at the extreme expense, even death, of the “have-nots,” we can come to wonder, “Where is God in all this?” Maybe even ask “What’s the point of God in all this?” That’s where our Psalmist is today. His/her despair makes sense, from his/her perspective. But then, God speaks, and the Psalmist’s perspective is changed by God’s wisdom. God’s wisdom can change us too. Have a look.
Thursday, March 26, 2020 RCL Daily Office Readings, Year 2
Psalm 73: The Wisdom of Perspective. Psalm 73 is one of those Psalms that remind us that all Psalms are classed as Wisdom Literature in the Bible.That classification applies to Job, Proverbs, and The Song of Solomon as well. The idea is that all these writings are trying to help us catch the Wisdom of God’s perspective on life.
Someone once told me that wisdom is “smart stuff spoken to the brain and the heart at the same time.” That someone may have been my mother. When I think of wisdom, I think of her. She always seemed to have the wise perspective whether things were going well or not so well. One thing she would often say when things were not going well was, “Remember, this too shall pass.”
That’s what came to me as I read Psalm 73. That’s what the Psalmist is saying: “Remember, this too shall pass.” The Psalmist has become overwhelmed by the sheer “unfairness” of life; the over-success of the over-powerful, especially when compared to the fate of the Faithful who should be the ones experiencing the bounty of God instead. S/he is to the point of despair; so much so as to conclude that there really is no point in being faithful to God.
Then, the Psalmist takes his perspective directly to God. S/he lays out the evidence to indict God for failure to do what is right. But, in opening this complaint, he also is opened to hearing God’s answer. And God does answer. As the Psalmist ponders, God’s perspective begins to sink in, and the Psalmist realizes that s/he has missed something. All is not as it seems from his short-term, immediate, view. “Smart stuff” is spoken to both heart and mind “at the same time.” The Psalmist remembers that everything s/he holds most dear in life is still kept in the hands, still to be found in the presence, of God. He reaffirms his faith in God’s Wisdom, and recommits to seek after, and follow, come what may, that wisdom.
The wisdom of God’s perspective is speaking to us now through this experience of the Psalmist. It says for us to remember: No human condition is permanent. No human circumstance is unchanging. That perspective speaks volumes to our minds and our hearts simultaneously in these emotionally charged and mentally challenging times in which we are now living. Even this “will pass.” It’s not saying that we don’t need to act. Nor is it saying that we should just let things/people roll over us. Rather, it is saying that even as we are called to act, even as we rise to resist ignorance and petulance and self-service, we are not to become despairing. Our God’s perspective is bigger than the whole of the entire human enterprise, at all times. Yet, our God’s perspective holds you and me personally in full view, in all times. Our God is not only with us as the human condition changes, but God will also work through us to change it for the better. As we follow, do not despair; “Remember, this too shall pass.”
* Commemorations in italics are from A Great Cloud of Witnesses; others are from Lesser Feasts & Fasts 2018. [Commemorations in brackets appear in Lesser Feasts & Fasts 2018 for trial use.]