Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tell me the truth about ...

Most murder-mysteries - tell you about trouble, falsehood, and the lie - a negative of love. Who can name the positive? Even Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 has more negative statements about love than positive. Is that why the murder-mystery is such a popular genre? Because we can story what is true of envy or fear or anger but we cannot put words or action to define love - but only its absence.

The word of last week for me was from the early verses of Psalm 110 - "rule in the midst of your enemies". Some of our leaders understand the difficulty and cost of 'ruling' - i.e. that it is not all force or national or personal self-interest. The wound that must be suffered to achieve the rule of God is severe. But this wound is accomplished - making us, the ruler's people, willing in the day of his power.  This thought was stimulated by this post on Barth which actually made me chuckle. Here's a snippet outlining the difficulty of living together.
human life in society, whether on a small scare or a large, means the emergence and conflict, the more or less tolerable harmony and conjunction, of the different judges with their different rights, the battle of the ideas formed and the principles affirmed and the standpoints adopted and the various universal or individual systems, in which at bottom no one understands the language of the others because he is too much convinced of the soundness of his own seriously to want to understand the others, in which, therefore, what will be right as thought and spoken by one will be wrong as received by the others
 Do we dare move forward? One can scarcely hope for more than a live and let live stand-off. Is there no solution? This difficulty relates to my questions about Church. Revelation chapter 4 gives an image of 24 elders worshiping - a unified Israel recognizing that the prerequisite to judgment is worship and the reason for worship is the good judgment of the Most High, the judgment to mercy that creates the possibility of governance within human life in society. (This is as I have noted before, also the message of the Psalter.)

One day I hope I will have told the truth about love (pace Auden). Perhaps it is, after all, here hidden in the ambiguities of this archaic text. This is one of the favorite psalms of the New Testament authors.

Of David, a psalm
a proclamation of יְהוָה to my Lord
Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool
יְהוָה will send the rod of your strength out of Zion
rule in the midst of your enemies

your people are willing in the day of your power
in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning
to you the dew of your youth

יְהוָה has sworn and will not repent
you are a priest for ever of the order of Melchizedek
my Lord is at your right hand

he will wound kings in the day of his wrath
he will judge among the nations
a fullness of bodies

he will wound greatly a head on earth
he will drink from the torrent in the way
therefore he will lift up his head

New Testament allusions - also perhaps Revelation 3:21
110:1Matthew 22:44, Acts 2:34-35, Hebrews 1:8, Hebrews10:12-13, 1 Peter 3:22
110:4Hebrews 5:6, 7:17, 21