Yesterday during Liturgy, we sang a David Haas version of the great Psalm of justice, 146. [you can listen to his version here.] It has stayed with me through today for it speaks so clearly to me of the events of this past week.
We wonder who is great and who is dispensable; who is worthy of life and love and who is less than human. We stand aghast at the destruction of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” We shudder as atrocities around the world seem to belittle the dignity of anyone and everyone.
And thus, these words of hope, hearkening back to another time of oppression, sing to our spirits and lift the pall—if only momentarily—that chokes us like smog:
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
on that very day their plans perish.
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God, who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!*
These are words of hope. It is a song of justice. This is an invitation into right relationship.
May these words in some manner both challenge and console you, inspire and motivate you to “do justice, love goodness and walk humbly with your God.” [Micah 6:8]
*[New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]