Friday, November 7, 2014

Psalm 148 - Healing and Truth in Praise

Just read Psalm 148, the Psalm of total praise - let everything, anything, the whole of the universe, and all of the earth, praise the LORD.

And why?

Because God is some neurotic being that needs constant praise in order to survive?


Rather, it's a function of truthfulness and healing.

There is healing in praise, especially for human beings who are so easily centered within themselves, so easily convinced that we and our efforts are mighty and grand, that the world is beholding to us, and we can do with it as we please.

Praise opens our eyes to the glory around us - glory we didn't create, and glory given to us by the hand of the Creator, and in praise, we ponder our relationship to the world around us. It's not ours, but we're certainly its caretakers, and if caretakers, than we acknowledge that it belongs to another. And that recognition, that acknowledgement, is healthy for us, as it puts us into a mutual relationship with all creatures, great and small, and the mountains and the seas and deserts and the wind and the rain, that yearn within themselves to praise, to sing joyful and freely in their realms.

And if the whole of creation belongs to another, then we're accountable to the Other who has been kind enough to entrust creation to us, trusting enough of us to put what's precious into our hands, and we might, from time-to-time, ask ourselves: What does the Creator require of us? What does care for the creation look like? What are our daily tasks as we care for this world - from the stones beneath our feet to the creatures of the hills and to the persons beside us?

And herewith a sobering realization - how can the earth praise God when it's pillaged and spoiled by human disregard?

How can air and water praise God when they're despoiled and fouled by our irresponsible behavior, driven, as it often is, by our greed, our fear, our rapacious spirit, our drive to own and make it our possession?

Praise liberates us from the illusions of our own grandeur and power and places us into direct and responsible relationships. Praise is healing for our troubled spirits, too long drunk on our own power and presumed place. Praise lifts our spirits to another level where the wind blows free and clean. Praise is truth: we are not our own, but belong, to a faithful Creator who gives this to us all, for our caretaking and our use, a careful use that promotes the welfare and fecundity of the world.

It's good to offer praise to another human being - who knows, they may need it now and then to lift their spirits and encourage them. And we need to offer praise, to step outside of ourselves, to see beauty and goodness, and to simply say, Thank You!

There's healing for our soul in such moments of simple acknowledgement, and it's the truth that sets us free!

Thank You, O LORD. Thank You!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"In God We Trust" ... I Dare You!

"In God We Trust." Heck, every "Christian" nation has made that claim. But it's obvious, I think, that "God" has a lot of variety. The God of the Germans told them to kill the French. The Russian God told them to kill Germans. The British God said "Kill." And so did the American God. And kill they did in countless wars to this very day. These days, Muslim nations also express "trust in God." Hindus and Buddhists in India claim divinity, too. How we love to kill in the name of God, the Gods, our divinities.

I've long felt that America's claim befits a nation burdened with self-righteousness, as if we could do no wrong, because "we trust in God." But, then, so do so many other nations and movements.

Even in America, the God of a right-wing NRA supporter is rather different than the God of a life-wing Occupy Wall Street advocate. And what about those who have no God? Oh well ...

All across the battered landscape of God-trusting history, defeat, death, disease, and victory, too, and gloating and pride, and parades and bunting. But

With all these "Gods" floating around, which God shall it be?

I guess the one with the biggest army and the most bombs.

Yet, there's another story here ... a deeper, darker one, an ironic element. Yes, trust in God - go ahead, I dare you.

The God of the Prophets who allowed the Assyrians to destroy the Northern Kingdom and then allowed the Babylonians to destroy the Southern Kingdom. They trusted in God for victory, but such was not the case.

Or the God of Jesus, who allowed Rome to level the city of Jerusalem and end all claims to land.

Beware of this God - not owned or manipulated by any earthly power. At no one's beck and call.

Trust God - go ahead.

I dare you.

Monday, November 3, 2014

What's On My Mind Today

What's on my mind?

1. Global warming.
2. Wall Street profits.
3. War.
4. Women's right.
5. Poverty.

Yes, I'm a positive person, and I believe in love and peace and all things good and wonderful.

And just because I'm positive, just because I believe in love and all the rest, I see clearly everything that threatens what's good and decent.

Ever so often, I try to hide ... in the love of my family, but when I see my granddaughter's laughing face, I want to give her a safe world.

Ever so often, I try hide ... in my faith, but when I see the face of Jesus, I see the face of the poor, the dispossessed, the excluded and the denied.

Ever so often, I try to hide ... in reading - history, novels, biographies, but there's no safe place to hide in any of it.

Try as I might, I can't hide anywhere.

So, here I am. In a world of troubles, with a giant positive hope that good people, and the LORD of heaven and earth, are hard at work. There will be losses and victories, there will be moments of utter despair and overwhelming joy. There will be days of dreariness and disgust and days of roses and wine.

And so it goes.

Some of what's on my mind.