Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sing a New Song of Justice... Psalm 9

Psalm 9 chants a song of liberation. It champions the poor over those who seek to oppress them. It, surveying the evils of injustice polis around King David, calls on God to act against the evil doers in favor of the weak. God does stand with the poor, as when Jesus choose to be the poor in his incarnation. He choose to be without home, without bed, and without respect. From rumors of being a bastard child of an illicit affair with a roman soldier to his death on cross like a common criminal, Jesus reveals the heart of God toward those people we would rather avoid and view with suspect. We avoid the poor. God calls the poor friends and more of his chosen twelve come from the ranks of the poor. Psalm 9 sings of this heart of God for the marginalized. 

Psalm 9 introduces the theme of injustice that run through the Tanak, the Gospels, and the whole of the New Testament. Moses set the poor slaves from capitative and God made them his own. King David calls on God to punish the evil to the poor in his poetry. In Gospels, God does act and we should be relieved. God chooses to be with the poor. He could have been born in the palaces of the wealthy. He could be like Caesar and been the head of an Army, prick justice by the cut of sword. But God chooses to be with the poor as one of the poor. This is good news because if we honestly look at who the poor, we can see who they really are. They have no resources but those given to them. They are dependent on others for their very living. They bring nothing in to the world and are left with nothing.

When we consider who the poor are … in our own moments of truth in the middle of a hail storm of fears, we have to realize that we are too the poor. All our gifts of warm houses, loving family, of good health, wealth in our bank accounts are nothing more than gifts from God. They could evaporate in the bright sun of time as they will. It may be a supernova of a moment when all our gifts explode into nothingness or in the slow craving of our strength through the course of the rive of time. The truth of being poor floats over our heads ready to burst at anytime. We are born from the dust of stars and we will return to dust in the darkness of a grave. All we are comes not from our labors, but from the kindness of Gods heart. We are called to use these gifts to love God and love others. When we lie to ourselves and think that we deserve or worse earned our gifts, we do all sort of nasty oppression. We are all not above the thinking of what about me. 

Psalm 9 should frighten us if we are honest. God being called to avenge the oppression of the poor we are all guilty of. God does answer the call, but he answers with his own body. It is this bloody hand, bloodied by the very oppression we demand God avenge, which is offered us. Our hope to transcend the oppression is the cross. 

I know this all to well as I soon will be dependent on the healing knife of a doctor. I will entrust my son to a man and his team I barely know. But that is the truth of life. We are always dependent on God. 

Psalm 9 champions the poor against the evils of oppression. Up to now the psalms had some universal themes as well as personal cares. God being the champion of those who have faith in him and a call for justice for personal enemies. Here in Psalm 9 comes the social dimensions. Evil will oppress the poor and again the judgement which King David calls God to deliver only calls for the evil to be returned. Rather than calling for torture of the evil doer, David calls them to suffer the pain they themselves called Psalm 9 makes us aware of the plight of the poor and how oppression of the poor has no room in the Kingdom of God.  

Then, in the Gospel, God takes the punishment into himself and offers us love. When we look for  justice we find love. 

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