Psalm 139 is one of my favorites. It has particular poignancy as I read it today, knowing that there is a strong possibility that the United States will be more actively involved in Syria’s civil war by this time next week. Here is my take on the the psalm for this week.
O Lord, you have searched me and known me and those I would label as my enemies. You know when I sit down and when I get up; you know what I’m thinking even when I don’t. You know the people in Syria just as well as you know me.
You know how I spend my days and when I sleep even when I am anxious and restless. How anxious the people of Syria must be! I can sleep well at night and they await the next round of bombs and gun fire.
You, O Lord, know the words that will tumble out of my mouth. You would know them even if I lived in Syria.
Your love surrounds me and embraces is me. Your love surrounds Syrians, too. You hold them with the very same hands.
Even as I say these words, the greatness of your love is beyond my grasp and always will be.
Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
No where. If all is well, you are there. If this country enters into more war, you are there.
In every corner of the universe, you are there, offering guidance and strength.
If war and violence blot out the light of hope, you are still there. There is no place, no situation, that can darken your love for me, for the people of Syria, for all people…
For it was you that created me just as you created all other people.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made as is the whole of humanity. The works of your hands are wonderful; I should pay more attention to your wonders, especially when I encounter them in another human being.
Nothing is hidden from you. You created me, shape me, and know the days of my life. This is true for all people, including those on whom this country may wage war. You behold everyone’s unformed substance and have hopes for all of us.
Your thoughts of love and peace are more than I can count. No matter where I am, you are still with me. No matter where any one person in Syria is, there you are also.
I really wish you would get rid of those who seek violence and spread hatred in your name, whichever name they know. It would be so much easier if you would just wipe out those who do evil things for their own gain. However, I suspect that you would prefer that we work these things out without more and more death.
I do not like those who act against your ways and I don’t like myself when I find merit in their actions. Anger and sadness stir within me when I think of what is happening in Syria, Afghanistan, and all the places where people are murdered for ethnic or religious reasons, or any reason, really.
Search me, O God, and know my heart. And search those who have the power to make decisions about war; reveal to them your heart.
RCL – Year C – Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost – September 8, 2013
Jeremiah 18:1-11 with Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 or
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 with Psalm 1 and
Philemon 1:1-21 and