Monday, October 03, 2005

The Psalms of David -- Psalm 6

1 O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger,
Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure.
We serve a God Who will destroy all iniquity, Who will purge away--and violently so--all evil, corruption, dishonesty, vanity, selfishness, and disobedience from this earth. He abhors it, and the hatred towards it is felt by those who would unite themselves to it. We must, therefore, take care to avoid union with these cancers, as they will be purged; let us not be consumed as well, O our Creator.

At the risk of sounding flippant, another--obviously lighter--comparison to the wrath of God and its consumption of wickedness and those who practice it: siblings who are told to refrain from hitting their siblings often work around this prohibition by saying that "they were just swinging their fist and his/her face got in the way!" A lame excuse in that case, but relatively like what God will one day do. He does not delight in the death of a sinner, nor does He establish their death as some sort of payback or vengeance (at least, not in the hurt, spiteful way that we easily-offended humans know it). He destroys wickedness with a swing of His Fist that cannot be stopped; any man who would unite himself to wicked deeds is "in the way," as it were, and will feel the same pain as the wicked demons who are consumed along with him.
2 Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak;
O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
3 My soul also is greatly troubled;
But You, O LORD—how long?
4 Return, O LORD, deliver me!
Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake!
5 For in death there is no remembrance of You;
In the grave who will give You thanks?
There's a song whose lyrics include the following:
And the smell of our sacrifices
still fills up my head
There’s just a few left at the altar, Lord
all the rest of them fled
And we’ve cried and we’ve tried
We’ve sweat and we’ve bled
But we don’t just need atonement
We need to be raised from the dead
The psalmist senses the need for a purification, a cleansing not only of a record of wrongs done, but of a death that cascades down to our very bones. This death will be the universal end of us all, David knows, unless the LORD intervenes. No one gives the LORD thanks from the grave; our own courting of death cuts us off from life as Eucharist even now, thus making us less than human. Were we to turn, however, from our thankless deeds and walk towards Him apart from His Way of the Cross and Resurrection, even then it would not be enough, for it is our very nature, now finite and mortal, that would still be drawn to the dust from whence it came. Obedience is not enough; there must be a salvation from the fruit of sin, still present and eating away at this world. We must succumb for a while to our race's chosen fate in order to bear that other, glorious fruit of immortality.
6 I am weary with my groaning;
All night I make my bed swim;
I drench my couch with my tears.
7 My eye wastes away because of grief;
It grows old because of all my enemies.
Would that I saw my sin as being this serious.
8 Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity;
For the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping.
9 The LORD has heard my supplication;
The LORD will receive my prayer.
10 Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled;
Let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly.
And the saint knows he grieves not as one without hope. The battle that he wages, though long and without an end in sight, is one of victory if fought through.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

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