Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Lord's triumph

Psalm 21
Journal entry dated March 14, 2005 (Clean Monday)

"Rejoice, Lord, in your triumph!"

What does the Lord's triumph look like? This psalm begins and ends with a reference to the triumph of the Lord. The psalmist envisions this triumph as a great slaughter of the enemies of the king, to the point of ethnic cleansing: "their race you wipe from the face of the earth." For centuries, millenia actually, the Lord's triumph has been regarded as a victory for "our" side, as if God were merely some provincial deity, as the psalmist consider God to be. Can we re-envision the triumph of God as a universal human triumph? As a triumph of justice over injustice, compassion over cruelty, goodness over evil? Can we cease to understand the triumph of God in narrow, national terms, and regard it instead as a victory for the human community?

Easier said than done. Owning up to this psalm means admitting that there is something within me that would gladly point bows in the faces of those who endanger my way of life or standard of living. The first step towards the triumph of God is acknowledging this capacity.

If the Lord's triumph were to occur today, if the values of God's kingdom were to universally prevail, would I be among those who rejoice, or those who mourn and weep?

Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep (Luke 6:21).

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