June 26, 2020

Other People's Children

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 people are faithful. God also has a few words for the wicked. These wicked people are not those who have never heard of God, and who know nothing of a relationship with God. Indeed, here, they claim to be members of God's family, counting themselves among those called out from among the nations to bear witness to God's love. So, of the accusations laid against the wicked, one stands out on June 26, 2020: You slander your own mother's child.

To be a disciple of the Crucified is to believe that 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 nation 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?

If my tax dollars pay for such oppression, and if I know this and do nothing about it, then with whom might I identify in today's passage from the psalter? Certainly not the innocent. So I must pray. But I must also act to extricate myself from among "the wicked."

Give me eyes to recognize the pain of others, Lord; give me ears to hear their cry; give me a heart that desires their welfare; and give me arms strong enough to do something about it; in Jesus' Name, who taught me to pray: Our Father...

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