Daily Lectio: Sunday Evening, Pentecost, 2014

I have a new favorite Psalm.  Why have I never really delved into Psalm 49?  I’ve spent time with it this evening, drinking tea and resting with my cold…  This psalm, to me, epitomizes the way “lectio” works…read something slowly and notice when one gets hooked, when a word or image resonates with one’s life…and one realizes deeper significance.  Such is the case with 49.

Here is a chunk of it:

“Why should I fear in times of

trouble,

when the iniquity of my

persecutors surrounds me,

those who trust in their wealth

and boast of the abundance of

their riches?

Truly, no ransom avails for one’s

life,

there is no price one can give to

God for it.”

In other words, life is impermanence.  Nothing lasts forever…

“When we look at the wise, they

die;

fool and dolt perish together

and leave their wealth to others…..

Mortals cannot abide in their

pomp;

they are like animals that

perish.”

Impermanence is really real…life is contingent, dependent….limited…

These are not the hallmarks of Western (Americanized) Christianity as I have seen them.  Our culture teaches us that there are no limits to what we can do, as long as we have enough power and/or money.

But, we don’t lose hope.  Even though life is contingent, we recognize on whom we depend.  Keep reading…

“But God will ransom my soul

from the power of Sheol,

for he will receive me.”

“Do not be afraid when some

become rich,

when the wealth of their houses

increases.

For when they die they will carry

nothing away;

their wealth will not go down

after them.”

I think the Buddhists can offer us a great deal of perspective when it comes to how we understand life.  One of the greatest of Buddhist teachings is also one of the most paradoxically reassuring:  Impermanence.  Nothing lasts forever.  And, rather than being the source of some nihilistic perspective that causes one to slide into hopelessness, recognizing one’s contingency actually frees us up.  We are released from the burden to life a life co-opted by consumerism, greed, and fear.  We no longer need to hold on to anxiety.  We can breathe….

Fischer’s words are so meaningful:

“My fate is otherwise–

For you

Will guide my soul

Even in the land of the dead

It won’t hurtle there blind–

You will take me.”

Like I said, 49 is my new favorite…

S+

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