I can’t say any better
My title is a confession that there are times when Scripture needs to be directly absorbed without the filter or interpretation of a writer or speaker or an “official” biblical scholar, let alone a blogger like me. I don’t think the readers of this blog will believe that if I share directly with you a psalm that has caught my attention and contemplation this week as, like you, I will shirk my duties as I am facing the challenges of a pandemic and a Prosecution finished political atmosphere.
There is no need for those who know me directly or through my work to point out how and to whom I believe the following verses may apply. They know my mind and heart, and my passion and compassion well enough, without the need for explicit comparisons to current events and public figures. And both those who do not know me and those who have their own advice on hand to find the following verses comforting and encouraging and applicable to our current situation.
Carl Jung’s synchronicity, or the Holy Spirit, or both would have it that when I turned to my NRSV for consolation last week, I found on its pages a slip of paper from a notepad at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, whose name said the blessing both welcomes faith and science. Saint Jude is the patron saint of desperate causes and is often depicted with a flame around his head, reflecting his presence at Pentecost to receive the Holy Spirit.
As I write this, I look at Ganesha, who is sitting on the bookshelf by my desk. Ganesha is the Hindu god of the arts and sciences and new beginnings who removes obstacles (One of the reasons I keep it near my computer!) and so it seems to me to complement Saint Jude’s desire to help the hopeless.
On the side of the slip with the logo and name of St. Jude Hospital I wrote down the readings for a specific Sunday a long time ago, but on the back I wrote Psalm 37: 1-11, 39-40. So last week I turned to Psalm 37 and thought about it in my morning prayers for the days since. I encourage you to read the entire psalm, but here are some of its verses with few and minor inclusive language changes. If the title “Lord” bothers you, use another metaphor such as “saints” instead.
Do not get angry with the wicked;
Don’t be jealous of evildoers.
‘Cause they’ll soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
Trust in the Lord and do good.
So you will live in the country and enjoy security.
Rejoice in the Lord
and you are given the desires of your heart.
Commit yourself to the Lord.
Trust in God and God will act.
Yahweh will make your justification shine like light.
and the righteousness of your cause as at noon.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for God.
do not get angry with those who thrive in their own way,
about those who run evil devices.
Give up anger and leave anger.
Don’t fret – it only leads to evil.
For the wicked will be cut off.
but those who wait for the Lord will inherit the land.
The evil conspiracy against the righteous
and grind your teeth;
but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
to know that your day is coming.
The wicked draw the sword and bow their bows
bring down the poor and needy,
to kill those who walk upright;
her sword will penetrate her own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.
A little that the righteous has is better
than the abundance of many wicked.
The wicked lend and don’t pay back
but the righteous are generous and give.
Though we stumble we won’t fall upside down
because the Lord is holding us by the hand.
For the Lord loves righteousness
and will not forsake God’s believers.
The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord.
Who is your refuge in times of need?
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