March 16

“Do away with wickedness for good…”

Scripture: Psalm 139: 19-22

And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!  
   And you murderers—out of here!—  
      all the men and women who belittle you, God,  
      infatuated with cheap god-imitations.  
   See how I hate those who hate you, God,  
      see how I loathe all this godless arrogance;  
   I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred.  
      Your enemies are my enemies!

Reader: This is the word of the Lord.   Response: Thanks be to God.

Some thoughts:
Do you ever get tired of the endless scandals, cheating, arrogance, and power struggles of our leaders and “famous people”? (. . . and that’s just in kindergarten! Apparently it continues in the rest of life!) I find David echoing my voice in the words of today’s reading. In the past few weeks the State of New York in the USA has passed a law making it legal to abort a full-term baby and even kill it after it is born if the mother and doctor decide to if it’s in the best interest of “the mother’s health.” The state senators cheered at the passing of the law. How can human beings be this godless? Such is the action of barbarian civilizations. When the heart is cold toward God, anything is possible. Like David, I get angry when people are defiant of God, mocking faith and integrity. Insulting God is no small thing. I also realize this dismissing of God has been in evidence since the beginning of creation, after all, Cain killed is own brother. These self-righteous immoral “wind machines” of today do not ultimately get away with their ways. They will answer to the One they have mocked. In contrast to my anger and frustration, God is patient, not willing that any should perish. But unwilling people do perish. I frankly do not have God’s attitude, I want them to perish! They have defied God! God’s desire that they repent of their deeds, however, is a convicting measure of my lack of grace and failure to see the grossness of my own sin.  In the meantime, God in Christ Jesus did something about the situation. Our Savior left the glory of a perfect heaven, of a perfect holy environment, of perfect communion with the Father and Holy Spirit, and came to a world filled with sin and arrogance, to a place of estranged people with severed relationships, a place of profane disregard for the sacred, the truth, and the holy, in order to make possible the restoration of God’s entire created order. We journey with Jesus through the slough of human brokenness to the victory on the cross. Look for someone today to whom you can give a word of hope and encouragement. Everyone around you needs God’s grace, including you. Be a vehicle of his grace to others. Maybe some calloused hearts will soften.

Music: “Sinner, Please Don’t This Harvest Pass”

Hymn   Lavish Love, Abundant Beauty                      ―Peter Ellis, 1986

I am yours, Eternal Father, all my body, mind and heart.                                                            Take and use me to your glory, form yourself in every part. Lord, your love brings joy and gladness flowing forth within my soul.                                        May my very breath and being rise to you, their source and goal.

Prayer: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love, where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, it is in dying, that we awake to eternal life.
–St. Francis of Assisi,  1181-1226