Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Pentecost 17 B - Psalm 54

Psalm 54
The lectionary often skips over verses that call for the destruction of enemies even if there are good reasons for enemies to be destroyed. Repaying evil with evil doesn’t fit the pattern of following the Christ who instructs his disciples to turn the other cheek and pray for those who persecute them.Truth to be told we are sorely tempted to ignore Christ's pacifist teaching in a world where people believe inhuman acts of violence are justified to defend their religious world view. But the psalmist does not advocate for actively striking his enemies and even though his prayer is not for their welfare he leaves vindication in the hands of the Lord. (Romans 12:19) That is because “vindicate me” assumes that the psalmist is in relationship with the Lord and that in their rising against the righteous the ruthless are rising against God as well and God can take care of God's honor, thank you very much. We can and should pray for the ruthless to experience just consequences for what they have done to others. But in the spirit of the Christ we might also pray that the ruthless be freed from the ways of deceit and violence for their own sake because a merciless life hell bent on the destruction of others already reaps what it sows. 

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