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.
Our Psalm for this week is based on the idea of God showing his people the way they should go. What are the paths of righteousness? What will we do to guide our lives rightly? Falling away leads to a life of rejection and failure.
Our Western culture surrounds us with claims of a sort of moral superiority. We’re told to develop mindfulness. We are urged to pursue a healthy lifestyle, one which includes eating right, exercising with the right attitude, and becoming involved in just the right social causes. Where I sit writing this post, I am surrounded by those messages. We’re to “eat mindfully.” A person near me has a big equals sign sticker on a computer, signifying endorsement of same-sex marriage. People are ready to call for all manner of social causes, some of which do advance justice in the world. How do we stand up against hatred and abuse? We do it together.
The Bible doesn’t discount the idea of taking a stand for righteousness together as a group, as a society. However, the Scripture boldly addresses something our culture is afraid to touch. Where do you develop an idea of what is right? Where do we form opinions about what is wrong? Most of us will say that some things are definitively right or wrong. But how are we going to identify them?
The Psalmist says that we will know right and wrong, that we will understand justice and righteousness, as we dwell on God’s Word. It is as we consider His claims and His character that we will rightly see how to understand our world.
This may seem kind of premodern and suspicious. After all, our world has told us of all sorts of crimes perpetrated in history in the name of religious purity. This is absolutely true. However, a central claim of Christianity is that we all sin, we all fail, none of us consistently does what is right. Do we blame God for that? Not at all, rather, we dwell on the Word of God and seek to be changed into His image for the good of our world. There we will find truth and grace.
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