Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Psalms of David -- Psalm 32

My sincere apologies for staying away for so long...though perhaps I should qualify that: lenten obligations (the kind that, in streamlining one's life, one finds one should feel more acutely both in periods penitential and festal) have been pressing lately. Just as I am taken aback on this day by the fact that we have but five days remaining in our lenten journey as Orthodox (Lazarus Saturday is the first post-lenten day), so I have been surprised at the fast-approaching end of the school year. Thus, these obligations that have taken priority over this blog are, in fact, ones for which I should not apologize. Nevertheless, it is good to sit and type after so long an absence.

Who is so great a God as our God?

Depends: what would one answering this question see as "greatness"? There are many things that men are proud of in this life, things they attach to themselves as a badge of honor, as a badge of identity. Whether it be political, geographical, racial, philosophical, socioeconomical or other, we humans have a hard time remembering that we have no lasting city, that we wait for our hidden life to be revealed with a shout from Zion.

We see that "by the Word of the Lord"--the Son, doing the Father's will, respectively--"the heavens were established. And all the host of them by the breath [Spirit, or πνευματον, is also "breath"] of His mouth." Our Kingdom, which shall be one where all things are created by that "new song," is not and never has been of this world. We cannot look to kings, mighty men, or horses -- nor to "the multitude of an host" that will save neither said kings nor fledgling parishes -- but "our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield." And that God, that shield that makes fire as cool dew of the evening, that Lord whose Kingdom, He tells us, is not of this world, is a scarlet-robed, thorn-crowned, poured-out, crushed, vulnerable, and rejected God.

Theresa of Calcutta said that we are not called to be successful; we are merely called to be faithful. I can think of no more scandalous -- and no more Christian -- a picture than one who, having descended to the lowest degree of failure in the eyes of those who, like dogs, devour their neighbor, nevertheless refuses to devour and, being thus devoured by those in this world who seek their own good, descends (dead and supposedly conquered) into the earth, only now having become a seed fitting to bear the fruit of the Kingdom of another world: that of the Lord, His Word, and His Breath.

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