Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Usually when we think of a position of servitude we expect, well, servility. The master or mistress we assume to be oppressive. The servant can expect ill treatment. Psalm 123 gives us a very different picture of the Lord God. When we are servants of the very God enthroned in heaven, it is a position of relief. We’ve had enough contempt and scorn from those lesser masters, like the ones we work for on earth. It is the servants of the Lord who are pleased with the favor we receive. We watch the Lord attentively because we know He is the one who will give favor and relief, not contempt and scorn.
I think this may be something our postmodern society, so heavily influenced by Marxist and liberation theology biases, has trouble understanding. The voices in society, really all around us, look at everything through the lens of power and oppression. This struck me not long ago, when I was having a conversation with a member of the history faculty of a Christian University. He has long operated in a setting where there are some fairly strong remnants of historic Christian worldview in effect. All of a sudden, during our conversation, he laughed. He asked me if I had noticed that I referred to our meeting area as a safe space for free expression. He wondered if I had noticed that I was rather automatically rephrasing my point of view in terms which would be readily understood by a Marxist. I really had not thought about it. Maybe I was playing softball with him. I’m not sure. I know we were thoroughly enjoying our pizza.
When we are used to understanding life as a struggle against oppression and violence, when we understand our role as that of resisting authority, when we see ourselves as those who would overthrow those in power because they are, by definition, dangerous, we may fail to see that there is one master, the God of all, who is above all soverign, wise, and good. Let us never mistake that. Otherwise, we condemn ourselves and all who are around us to more contempt and scorn. We overthrow the powers of this world only to become powers which must be overthrown. This is not the position we want. In Christ, there’s something better. I’d rather be a servant of the Lord God than a master of those who would overthrow me. It’s in God’s Kingdom that we find favor and security.
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