Wednesday, June 27, 2018

What Right?

But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to recite my statutes, or take my covenant on your lips? For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you. You make friends with a thief when you see one, and you keep company with adulterers. You give your mouth free rein for evil, and your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your kin; you slander your own mother’s child. These things you have done and I have been silent; you thought that I was one just like yourself. But now I rebuke you, and lay the charge before you."
—Psalm 50:16-21

This is a very difficult passage to read. God has just promised the faithful unconditional love. But not all God's people are faithful. God also has a few words for the wicked. And they're not wicked because they live outside God's covenant. Clearly, here, they are wicked specifically because they claim to be members of the church—those called out from among the nations to witness to God's love. And of the accusations laid against the wicked, one stands out on June 27, 2018: You slander your own mother's child.

I said something in my sermon this past Sunday which I believe with all my heart: "The welfare of other people’s children is entrusted to us, for through the blood shed on the cross, there’s no such thing as other people. We are all one." When a people imprisons those fleeing danger, rips their children from their arms and puts those same children in cages, then that people cannot count itself among the faithful who can call upon God for deliverance. "You shall glorify me," God said at the end of yesterday's passage from Ps. 50, yet how can a life that imprisons the innocent glorify God?

Forgive me, O God, for I am a hypocrite. I call a liar my leader and pay taxes that further persecute the oppressed. Show me the way out of my sin, for I cannot find it on my own; deliver my people from the pit we have dug ourselves. Dare I pray this in Jesus' Name? Even so, I say, Amen.