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Monday, October 3, 2016

Psalm 37 During Divided Times


One of the lectionary readings for Sunday yesterday (October 2) was Psalm 37: 1 – 9:

Do not fret because of the wicked;
    do not be envious of wrongdoers,
for they will soon fade like the grass,
    and wither like the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will make your vindication shine like the light,
    and the justice of your cause like the noonday.
Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
    do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
    over those who carry out evil devices.
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
    Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For the wicked shall be cut off,
    but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. (New Revised Standard Version)

Which strikes me as pretty good advice for life in general – but seems especially apropos for those of us living in divided and polarized times.

Do not fret because of the wicked - no matter what we may think of our opponents (politically, theologically, etc.) we are encouraged to without fret and worry. The faithful will see the wicked and wrongdoers brown and dry up like the grass and leaves in November. “Soon” may be subjective, but even so there’s the hope of justice and the universe brought round to right. The arc of the moral universe is long, and what not, but it does bend toward justice.

Trust in the Lord and do good – no matter what we may think of our opponents (politically, theologically, etc.) we can still do good; we can still be agents of righteousness. Whoever wins the election, we can still do good. We can (and will) serve the helpless and help the hopeless.

He will make your vindication - no matter what we may think of our opponents (politically, theologically, etc.) there’s no need for dirty tricks, for demonization, for slander, for lies. If our cause is just, if we are agents of the good, then God will vindicate us and our work. The ends do not justify the means; ugly behavior – even for a beautiful cause - only sullies us. Let God and the goodness of our work be its own vindication.


Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath – no matter what we may think of our opponents (politically, theologically, etc.) no matter who wins the election, anger and wrath only cloud our minds and our hearts. Those who vote for “the other guy” will still be our neighbors and brothers, our co-workers and daughters and we will still have to live with them after the election. 

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