Scripture Reading: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
O Lord God of hosts,
how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbors;
our enemies laugh among themselves.
Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved. –Psalm 80:3-7
This Psalm hits a little too close to home. Our allies no longer feel we are trusted partners. Thus they work together without us, dealing with trade and climate change. I image our enemies are laughing among themselves too. We can blame this situation on our elected leaders, but I think we need to look more closely in the mirror. We are the ones who elected them whether enthusiastically voting for them or failing to vote at all. Greed and lust for power run through every fiber of our society from the poorest to the richest, the weakest to the strongest.
We have lost our way. Our compass seems broken. In C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Edmund, the younger brother, follows the Wicked Witch into evil enticed by an ample supply of Turkish Delight. What entices us from following Christ? What is lacking in our lives that we are willing to fill the gap with anything but the right thing? I think I know deep in my heart what is right most of the time; I just do not want to do it. Why? I think part of it is my own stubborn desire to be in control when everything about me seems out of control. Fear often drives the need to control drives. Evil strikes at the moments we are most vulnerable. We see it in toddlers as they try to assert their autonomy. Apparently, we retain some of that need for independence all of our life. As adults, we just channel it differently. We follow one who commands us to Fear Not.
How do we reconcile wholeness and independence? Where does interdependence or oneness fit in our lives? Finally, how do we square personal desires with God’s justice? We are made whole through our relationship with Jesus Christ as we are made one with all our brothers and sisters in Christ. Once we accept Christ, we accept the call to do justice. We can never view the world again from isolated autonomy what is right for me must also be right for all God’s other children.
Prayer: Lord, make us whole so that we can be full partners in your mission of a world ruled by love where there is no fear. Amen.