Archive for December 31st, 2019

Psalm 90: God’s Eternity, Our Frailty

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

As we close another year and look forward to the new, let us reflect on the promise of Christmas, and all that it holds for us. 

joy[1]Some of the images in this psalm may be ones we do not like to think about.  Who among us likes to be reminded of our shortcomings?  And who likes the imagery of such a wrath-filled God?  I heard a sermon once about God’s jealousy about us.  The speaker referred to this psalm and likened God to a lover who has just found out about the partner’s infidelity.

In the old Latin liturgical calendar, we celebrate Gaudete Sunday, a time when joy leaps out of the readings in anticipation of the coming of Christ.  Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10, Psalm 146, James 5:7-20 and Matthew 11:2-11, in each of these citations we find reason to rejoice.  The true king is arriving soon.  This king heals, protects, guides and secures.  This king loves in a way we do not see in the Old Testament.  This king fulfills the promises of old.  This king is devoted to his people, this king is Christ.

I am always amazed when I see human beings lust after immortality when they have this gift in their hands constantly yet do not see it.  I have watched people destroy others as they scramble to the top of an illusory mountain to grab earth-bound fame.  What matters a name on a concrete wall when our very being may instead be part of God’s own fabric?  What is it we miss about ourselves that lures away from the promise we already hold and that has already been fulfilled, to turn to the emptiness of a plaque, a statue, or a commemorative dinner?  What holds us so spellbound may be our belief in ourselves rather than a belief in God.  Only each of us can judge what makes us so frail in this way.

Matthew 11:11 may startle us.  We may not have understood just how much God really loves us unless we allow the full impact of these words rest in us.  Do we have the potential to be greater even than John the Baptist?  If our answer is no, then we may not have fully understood how much a gift each of us is to God’s creation and God’s plan.  We may not have fully understood just how much we are loved.  If our answer is yes, then we understand the passion expressed in today’s Noontime for when we read this psalm, we see how much God seethes with emotion when we turn away.  And we can also see just how much we are loved.   So let us make a conscious decision today, on this Sunday of Joy, to put aside our frailty and return this divine love.  Return it with full, unwavering and never-dying passion.

And we may be surprised to find what we receive in return; yet, if we have been watching we already know what this gift is.  It is the gift announced by John the Baptist. It is God’s full, passionate, unwavering and never-dying love . . . and with this comes the gift that wipes out our human frailty forever.  The gift to us is the gift of God’s eternity.

First written on December 12, 2010. Re-written and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://www.npnaz.org/

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