October 23, 2020

The Victory of God

O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory. The Lord has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.  
✙ Ps 98:1-3
Psalm 98 is a marvelous song of celebration. The whole world witnesses the victory of God—a victory characterized by love and trust.

How tempting it is sometimes to claim that my victories are God's victories, or to equate the victories of my religious denomination or my political party or my favorite sports team with God's triumph of steadfast love and faithfulness. When I do this, I'm on very dangerous ground, for more often than not, far from glorifying God, I'm making a mockery of the Divine.

There are biblical indicators of what God's victories might look like: The weak are protected, the sick are healed, peace is made, the hungry are fed. And if my celebration of even the greatest victories is intended to exclude my neighbor, then in the midst of joy I am creating a new reason to be sad.

God wants me to celebrate the great events. But in Jesus Christ, God also calls on me to reach out to the defeated as well.

I praise you for the victories of nurture over neglect, of love over indifference, O Eternal God. May such victories be celebrated more and more as we pray for the coming of your Kingdom. But at the same time, help me and those under my care or influence to reach out to those who feel defeated; in Christ's Name, who taught me to pray: Our Father...
Here's a metrical setting of Psalm 98

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