Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with the mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
Dear God, I came across a translation of this well-know passage this morning in the Steven Purcell book Even Among These Rocks: A Spiritual Journey. But he didn’t have these words. He had a translation from somewhere between the 8th and 3rd centuries, B.C.
Certainly, verse 1 is the most different, but it does kind of fit. I guess the ultimate goal in being Christlike is that point where you are beyond greed (I’m not there yet), beyond hatred (I’m not there yet), an no longer nourish illusions (I’m not 100% sure what the translator means here, but I don’t think I’m there yet either). I also like the next part: “But they delight in the way of grace and keep their hearts open day and night.” Nope, not there yet either. I’m closer today than I was yesterday. I’m closer this year than I was last year. I’m closer now at 52 than I was at 42.
I was reading an article last night from Christianity Today about deconstructing faith. That’s become a hot button topic lately and I don’t want to do into it too deeply here, but there were a couple of quotes from the author, Kirsten Sanders, that stood out to me:
“Truth about God isn’t always easy, however. Faith that begins in earnest commitment sometimes must advance through a period of slow questioning, of confusion, of switchbacks and labored ascent.”
I wasn’t thrilled when I first learned that my knowledge of God would always be incomplete. I felt, for a time, unmoored. Like many seminary students, I had been praying for years to a God who I had pictured as being just like me, only larger, through difficult days of uncertainty and loneliness. I loved that God and know that he loves me. Rather than only feeling closer to the God I loved, I learned that there was a clear limit to what I could know. I would need to learn to love God in the dark.
I think there is an inherent discomfort for all humans in just how small and insignificant we are. There is a limit to our abilities–a limit that you do not have. You are omnipotent, and we are not. You are omniscient, and we are not. I think the key to being at peace and sinking into a life beyond greed, hatred, and illusions is getting to a point of complete surrender that we are simply not you and there is a part where we need to accept our ignorance and sink into your grace.
Father, help me get better today at getting beyond greed, replacing hatred with grace and mercy, and rejecting illusions. I confess that I will not get all of the way there today. I’m sorry for that. But help me to at least move along in my journey.
In Jesus’s name I pray,