Friday, September 30, 2005

The Psalms of David -- Psalm 4

I guess if I had a phrase to describe this psalm's impression on my heart upon this last reading, it'd be this: God is a loner's sufficiency.

What I mean is--and Fr. Patrick's commentary says as much, too--that to follow God in this world means to separate yourself from the fallen activities of those who are wicked. As much as we may look with disdain upon those sects who pride themselves on "no dancing, no alcohol, no movies, no whatever," as much as we may talk about God redeeming and baptizing the world and making all things into passages into the Kingdom of God, there're just certain things that cannot be baptized and must needs be avoided, for they will eventually be destroyed by a holy God; any attachment to these unredeemable things on our part, then, equals our own destruction.

This is lonely! Or, it can be. This psalm, in all truthfulness, reminds me of the feelings I often had during my high school years. My high school, as academically challenging and beneficial as it may have been, was also overrun by those who were often violently opposed to any appeal to the divine and violently committed to any vice that would fly in the divine's Face. David cries:
"How long, O you sons of men, will you turn my glory to shame? How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood? But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the LORD will hear when I call to Him."
Notice that God has set apart those godly ones for Himself; they are now His sons, as opposed to the "sons of men," those whose lives consist solely of those things which are rooted in this world, which are seen as ends in themselves and not sacraments of passage into the One, True Life.

Yet, though we are yet in battle against spiritual passions and demonic influences (and not, as I reminded myself all through high school, against my fellow men), though we go even to our beds still fighting this war, we are commanded not to allow that most long-lasting passion of anger to plague us. The Orthodox Christian is to strive for the passionlessness, the immutability that is an attribute of God Himself. We can feel the anger, but we must not allow ourselves to be carried away by it, always remaining serenely and submissively within the Hands of our Lord, hands that--maddeningly!--may not rush off to vindicate us as quickly as we'd like...or at all, as far as we know...

Or, as David said:
"Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still."

5 comments:

gary j. introne said...

OK. I really enjoying the read. Your spot is fascinating and interesting too. Let me read on, and you keep it coming.

http://garyjin.blogspot.com

Please read some of mine - older posts too. I think you'd like it and maybe reference it to yours too.

Drop me a note. I like to correspond.

Gary Introne

olympiada said...

What inspired this post?
What is your political standing, if I may ask, left or right?

David Bryan said...

Gary,

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! You certainly do write a lot!

Olympiada,

The post was inspired by the psalm. Not sure what it was about the post that led to you my political standing, but I'd like to think of myself as a moderate. I'm registered Democrat, but abhor the ultra-liberal stranglehold that the Yankee Democrats have on our party; Southern Democrats tend to be much more conservative and are more and more voting with the Republicans (hence the South's being red in 2004). I'm pro-life, anti-gay marriage, pro-stronger borders, pro-state's rights, so in that sense, I side with the conservatives. But I'm also anti-death penalty, anti-big business/"imminent domain," anti-tax cuts while spending billions, for separation of church and state, and for erring on the side of funding education as much as possible, so the progressives have me on their side there.

I'm for MODERATE gun control and military action WHEN PROVOKED BY A CLEAR ENEMY, so neither party has me in their good graces (the liberal Dems want to take all guns away, and the neocon Repubs will invade any country that looks at us wrong).

Hope that clears things up.

olympiada said...

Ah, so you dont like liberal Dems. Well I am a radical Green. That explains it. I sensed an incompatibility! Yep. clears things up. Thanks!

David Bryan said...

Olympiada,

What incompatibility? Between you and me? If so, what incompatibility is that? (I'm afraid I'm not very knowledgeable about the Green party. I know they exist and...that's about it).