Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
Psalm for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Year C)
Psalm 139 has always been a source of great comfort for me. I have written a few times before (maybe many times) about feeling out of place through during various seasons of life. To read that God knit me in my mother's womb, to affirm that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made presses a healing hand to the wounds that life inflicts on occasion.
As I listened to this psalm this morning, I reflected on the fact that its words a salve to many people. My wife, the elderly man eight pews back, the baby being dedicated, and the parishioner halfway around the world heard that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. Each hearer can place themselves in the psalmist's shoes and they hear that God created them, knows them, and is near to them.
That reality needs to be lodged in my brain. Just as much as I need to be reminded that I am made and loved by God, I need to constantly hold in front of me the truth that each person who crosses my path is wonderfully made. We are bound together: beings lovingly created and sustained. How would my interactions with others transform if I kept that in mind? What would the world look like if every she, he, and they we encountered were seen in light of this psalm?
Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. This is what Jesus told us and he said that they were connected. The God who lovingly creates us deserves love with our entire being. You, me, and every person that walks the earth is the loving creation of God. Thus love should be what we exhale into this world.
That all looks nice and happy on the page, but the practice of is difficult. Stupid difficult, I should add. It's easy for some. My wife, my boys, my family? East to love. Those that love me? East to love. The little girl that just walked by wearing a Chewbacca backpack? Easy to love. Those who are belligerent, angry, indifferent, threatening, and downright hateful? Well...it would be easy to veer down to the rest of the psalm that is not included in the Lectionary text: O that you would kill the wicked, O God. I think even the psalmist lost the plot even as he rhapsodized about God in Utero knitting. It helps remind me that this is not just Pollyanna niceties. Love is tough mountain to climb.
That is why it is all the more important to put others in the shoes of the psalmist. O Lord, you have searched Kayla and have known her. You know when Brandon sits down and when he gets up. You discern Krishna's thoughts from far away. You search out Amir's path and lying down. You are acquainted with all of Halima's ways. Even before a word is on Lucia's tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. You hem each of your children in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon us.
As screwed up as we can become, we are all fearfully and wonderfully made. That's where we started. And that's something we cannot forget.