Loving the Law of God
Preparing for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Two Days before Sunday (Year C)
Psalter: Psalm 119:97-104
Old Testament: Jeremiah 26:16-24
Epistle: 2 Timothy 2:14-26
Psalter: Psalm 121
Old Testament: Genesis 31:43—32:2
Epistle: 2 Timothy 2:14-26
We praise your abiding guidance, O God, for you sent us Jesus, our Teacher and Messiah, to model for us the way of love for the whole universe. We offer these prayers of love on behalf of ourselves and our neighbors, on behalf of your creation and our fellow creatures.
Oh, how I love your law!
It is my meditation all day long (Psalm 119:97).
by Joan Stott
The Torah is not only the first five books of the Bible, to the people of God, it was their foundational record of who they were, what they were, and who they were to become. The Torah was also their calling by God into nationhood and into a trusting relationship with Yahweh – the One True God, who had expressed a deep love and acceptance of them in a unique way. That gracious outreaching to them by God was confirmed for them by their sacred covenant relationship, and also through the gift to them of rules and obligations for loving and worshipping God, for their communal living in harmonious relationships that they knew as “Shalom”. There is a house not far from me named “Shalom”, and I often wonder if the people who live there, live any differently to my way of living and loving.
The structure of these eight verses fascinates me, as the author makes a series of statements, and after each one there is a clear rationale for the statement. “... I have refused to walk on any path of evil, that I may remain obedient to your word....” He used words such as “for I...”,... “No wonder I... “...that I...” If only I could be as clear in my mind why it is that I try to follow in God’s ways and truths; why it is that some things puzzle me about my walk in faith, trust and hope; and why it is that doubts keep coming along!
This acrostic Psalm, which uses successive letters of their alphabet to demonstrate the diversity and breadth of life under God, provides us with an opportunity to become more obedient to God. Brueggemann1 writes that just as Psalm 145 “...enables full praise to be rendered ..” to God, so Psalm 119 enables us to offer “....full obedience to be offered...” to God. “... ....A Torah-ordered life is as safe, predictable, and complete as the movement of the psalm..... it is a psalm of utter trust and submission.... A life of full obedience is not a conclusion of faith. It is a beginning point and as access to a life filled with many-sided communion with God......” As you may have noticed, I have become rather addicted to the videos and writings of Walter Brueggemann with all his scholarship, wisdom and insights, and I make no apologies for that, instead, I give sincere thanks to God for discovering this man’s work, and to have access to his wisdom. I also seem to be addicted to the Psalms and their insights into life and the worship of God. I also know that they are but the beginning of the journey.
1. Walter Brueggemann Based on text by Professor Walter Brueggemann from “The Message of the Psalms” [chapter 2/ page39-41] ©1984 Augsburg Publishing House
PRAYER: Life-giving God, heal our lives, that we may acknowledge your wonderful deeds and offer you thanks from generation to generation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
More of Joan Stott’s meditations can be found, here.