Sunday

All over the world, Christians who use the Book of Common Prayer in their worship will be hearing the same readings today, one of which is this portion of a psalm, describing the character of God as a being who, being powerful, does not mind stooping and recognizing the disenfranchised and lifting them up.
The LORD is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens.

Who is like the LORD our God, who sits enthroned on high
but stoops to behold the heavens and the earth?

He takes up the weak out of the dust
and lifts up the poor from the ashes.

He sets them with the princes,
with the princes of his people.

He makes the woman of a childless house
to be a joyful mother of children.

(Think of what childlessness was to that culture before bringing these words into the present day.)

I was thinking about these verses today. It would be easy to move to a glib, moralizing reminder that if God cares about the poor, so should we. But that’s jumping ahead. Instead, I started thinking about the character of God. This passage doesn’t ask us to do something, but just to know something about God.

You know, not all gods posited by all religions are shown as having this propensity to “stoop” so compassionately. It’s not a given at all.

I know I wouldn’t have the character for being God. I know, I know: neither have I been asked. I know it’s a funny thing to think about, and the thought only popped into my head for a second. But it was enough for me to re-capture, for a moment, a sense of why not to take this goodness for granted. I mean, I can muster up sympathy for the poor, and compassion for those in horrible, hopeless circumstances, but after awhile I get compassion fatigue.

And honestly, I don’t do a lot of seeking out the poor. When we visited New York, we stayed in Manhattan, and certainly had no particular desire to go into Harlem. When I have gotten lost driving in Nashville and ended up driving in circles in the projects, trying to find my way out, I have rolled up the windows and locked my car doors. I didn’t pull over, get out, and start introducing myself and inviting people to come out to dinner with me.

So Christianity posits a God who is not elitist. He’s not about hobnobbing with the powerful, and he’s not stand-offish from those who are different from Him. Probably from His position he probably doesn’t perceive a whole lot of difference in the range of human wealth and power: something else for which I should be glad–as I’d rather be included, if I may, when God stoops down to lift up the weak. If He’s the way Christianity and Judaism posit He is, he is infinitely admirable.

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About katiekind

Enjoying the second half of life. I have three sons who are the apples of my eye and a wonderful husband of 35 years--those are the important things. Long ago, out of the blue, I became a Christian. It was something I never planned on, but what joy it has been. I do website development and I like to read and garden and paint and I love beauty and truth.
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3 Responses to Sunday

  1. alice reinhardt says:

    I thought of you this past weekend at the Anglican conference. We need to get you a couple of the sessions to watch. It had wonderful liturgy combined with wonderful worship. There were a couple of memorable moments, like after the archbishops had exited the stage while the congregation was singing Be Thou My Vision and after the repeat of verse 5 a spontaneous applause erupted through 1200 people or when J.I. Packer in reading through Corinthians, rephrased something Paul was saying by saying — “Sucks to be the rest of you!” We also learned a worship that was put to part of their liturgy that Corrie and Hannah want Adam to learn. It was great! (I’d like to take a bunch of people next year—we could be independents in anglican clothing!!

  2. katiekind says:

    This is the conference where Abby met the most famous person in the world but can’t remember who it was! ;-D I laughed a lot to read that on Hannah’s blog.

    I’d love that, sounds wonderful.

  3. alice reinhardt says:

    It was Gallup. She had made friends with a jeweler. He was making specialty jewelry and she was learning how to make earrings when Gallup came by his booth. Apparently he came to our booth also, but I was swamped with CDs and all I heard was the most famous person in the world was just at our booth!! Oh well.

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