Watch Your Language

Lighting strike over Cliff Palace

Lighting strike over Cliff Palace (Photo credit: kern.justin)

You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Psalm 2:9

Those Old Testament psalm writers were a bloodthirsty bunch, weren’t they? Then again, it was a bloodthirsty time; a time when any “god” worth his salt would zap the unbeliever at the least provocation.

It’s unfortunate how much this kind of language still appeals to some people.

Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and his anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us.’ Psalm 2:1-3

When I read sacred text, I look for the elements of timelessness within it. I accept that the words were written for a specific people in a specific time and place. And I look for the way in which my faith interprets those words for me, in this specific time and place.

The opening lines of this psalm identify the impossibility of separating ourselves from God, and from God’s Intent for Creation. Our more conservative/literal cousins might call this God’s “Plan.” But I have trouble with that language too. It’s too closely associated with the evangelical triumphalism that’s stained Christianity for millennia.

“Intent” is the still, small voice that nudges and encourages us to act toward each other and all of Creation with compassion; to seek justice and resist evil.

That voice cannot be silenced.

Those who try may seem to succeed for a time. They may even succeed in “crucifying” the Message of the Christ… for a while.

But the Message is always resurrected. It always returns to move us, if ever so slowly and indirectly, into the “kingdom of heaven” that is the recognition of our inseverable connection to each other and to all.

 

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