Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The land of life and prosperity

Psalm 5
Journal entry dated February 23, 2005

"Lead me into the land of life and prosperity"

This is a prayer that people might be permitted to experience life in its fullness. Human enmity and the machinations of the wicked have created an environment that threatens life and prosperity; life and prosperity are threatened by people of "blood and deceit." We pray, then, that God may lead us forth from this death-dealing realm, where human dignity is compromised, where justice is disregarded, where life is threatened, into the land of life and prosperity, that place where life is cherished and safeguarded, where we are given the opportunity to realize our full potential, where people live in fidelity to their truest selves, rather than serving the interests of those who exploit them, existing as adjuncts to the prosperity of others.

"Lead me into the land of life and prosperity" is a prayer that we may live without exploitation, without taking advantage of others or using them for our own ends.

We are deprived of life and prosperity by people of blood and deceit. Deprived of life by unsafe working conditions, unhealthy living conditions, stress, overwork. And deprived of prosperity by being forced to live in relationships of exploitation. This deprivation of prosperity is not merely a loss of economic opportunity; it is "deceit," being forced to live in a way that is false to our true identity. At its basis, every relationship of exploitation is a lie, a falsification of our being. The lie is, "You were made for me, you belong to me, you are mine."

To be on the path to the land of life and prosperity, then, means we must renounce the lie and embrace the truth about ourselves: that we are endowed with dignity and created for freedom. "Give me space and freedom" (Psalm 4:1).

2 comments:

weorwe said...

Hi Sampson, me again.

I've usually thought of the Promised Land as analogous to the kingdom of God -- a foretaste here, the thing in its fullness in heaven. And that true life and prosperity comes from a reconciled relationship with God, even in the midst of nasty earthly circumstances. I'm not saying that we should ignore earthly justice and focus only on heaven, I'm just curious if you include heaven and relationship with God in your conception of the land of life and prosperity.

Sampson said...

Hi Marcy. I've enjoyed your comments.

As I tried to say in my most recent post, "How long?", the Psalms invite us to place ourselves in the heart of the tension between this world and the Kingdom of God. Whatever "heaven" means, it should never become a disincentive to seeking to establish just relationships among human beings. To say otherwise would be absolutely unfaithful to the teachings of Jesus. In Jesus' preaching, the idea of "heaven" does not detract from the urgent need to solve earthly problems of injustice and exploitation; if anything, it sharpens this requirement by asserting that the consequences of our actions are eternal.