Out of the Mud and Filth
January 19, 2020
The CEB translation of the Psalms does not mince words. In fact, the words read in worship this morning, words from Psalm 40, were quite shocking in the way they spoke into today’s acrimony and incivility of American politics. For all the angst and uneasiness of my own heart, the disappointments and fears of what I am seeing and reading, the ugliness on all sides, the undermining of institutions, the disregard of truth, Psalm 40 was an affirmation that God is listening to our cry for help. And above all the bickering, God is still God.
“I put all my hope in the Lord. God leaned down to me and listened to my cry for help.” God may be the only one listening. My senators don’t listen; my president doesn’t listen. I write my concerns to them. I am honestly probably more politically active than a lot of people are. I see what I think is wrongdoing and I express my concern as a constituent and a citizen. Since my days at Girl’s State in the 1960s, and my marriage into a family that is politically astute, I have worked to keep up my knowledge and understanding of issues of the day. But in the political arena, I am a bit player. One voice; one vote. Now, here in this Psalm is the God of the Universe responding to me with assurance beyond what any politician on the planet can give; God is listening to this one puny, insignificant voice. Imagine that.
“God lifted me out of the pit of death, out of the mud and filth and set my feet on solid rock. God steadied my legs.” So much of the political landscape is unstable. Facts are negotiable and truth is malleable. I remember the first time I heard Rush Limbaugh talk about “you democrats," as if the Democrats are the enemy. The blame one side slams the other side with has not only stopped the wheels of good government, it feels like being in a pit, covered with mud and filth. “That’s the way of the world” some say. Take it with a grain of salt. I don’t like salt much, so that’s hard for me to do.
“Those who put their trust in the Lord, who pay no attention to the proud or to those who follow lies, they are truly happy.” There are a lot of people just like me whose concerns are dismissed too easily. No one person is above the law; no one voice is less important than another. It seems like human ego is on steroids in this time. This is a time to be small, but persistent, in our one voice. Speak our truth even if it simply echoes through the cyber sphere un-encumbered, bumping into the bellicose voices of vitriol and hate. If enough of us speak truth, a tsunami of goodness will swell the tide of change. “You, Lord my God! You’ve done so many things – your wonderful deeds and your plans for us – no one can compare with you. If I were to proclaim and talk about all of them, they would be too numerous to count.” And now, “I have told the good news of your righteousness in the great assembly. I didn’t hold anything back (I almost never do)– as you well know Lord.” Amen.