Revolutionary LOVE – Psalm 139

Following a short video clip of Bishop Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church in the U.S., is a reflection addressing the discomfort of loving the MYSTERY. Below the video you will find my notes for the reflection.

  • Who do you see when you look into the mirror?
  • Loving others
  • Loving our enemies or opponents
  • Loving the Earth
  • And thereby LOVING the MYSTERY that we call God
  • That we should dare to LOVE is a miracle in and of itself
  • That we should dare to rise above self-interest or the will to survive in order to LOVE is a miracle
  • But that we should dare to LOVE the MYSTERY that we call God, well the word “miracle” simply cannot capture the reality of our audacity
  • The Creator, the Source of all that IS, WAS, and EVER SHALL BE, this is the ULTIMATE REALITY that we seek to LOVE and be LOVED by
  • I must confess that I am tickled by Bishop Curry’s delightful, playful, joyous approach to the audacious endeavour of LOVE
  • For if this MYSTERY that we call God, is LOVE itself, or as Augustine puts it, God is our LOVER, BELOVED and LOVE HERSELF, then as creatures created in the image of LOVE then being human, actually living into our humanity is all about learning to be LOVE
  • Surely Being LOVE is our most sacred destiny
  • Throughout LENT we have been talking about this sacred purpose this destiny of ours as Revolutionary LOVE
  • Loving Others, Loving Enemies, Loving the Earth, LOVING ourselves, and thereby LOVING the MYSTERY that we call God
  • Earlier this week, someone, I promised this someone, that I wouldn’t name them, but I can tell you that we don’t really need to name them, because I suspect that this someone’s observation has occurred to most of us who have struggled to see the MYSTERY that we call God as something other than a faraway sky-god,
  • You see this someone bemoaned the fact that it is so much more difficult to wrap our arms around the MYSTERY that is LOVE, than it is to relate to the faraway-sky-god, the all-powerful, all-knowing, wish-granting, string-pulling, Father-god who lives, safely up in the heavens.
  • I would have to agree with this someone
  • I confess that there are days when I miss the great-far-away-sky-god
  • So, with the image of the great-far-away-sky-god firmly planted in our minds,
  • I want to ask to listen to a Psalm that has been handed down to us by our ancestors

Psalm 139

YHWH, you’ve searched me,

and you know me.

You know if I am standing or sitting,

you read my thoughts from far away.

Whether I walk or lie down, you are watching;

you are intimate with all of my ways.

A word is not even on my tongue, YHWH,

before you know what it is:

you hem me in, before and behind,

shielding me with your hand.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

a height my mind cannot reach!  

Where Could I run from your Spirit?

Where could I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you’re there;

if I make my bed in Death, you’re already there.

I could fly away with wings made of dawn,

or my home on the far side of the sea,

but even there your hand will guide me,

your mighty hand holding me fast.

If I say, “The darkness will hide me,

and night will be my only light,”

even the darkness won’t be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day—

darkness and light are the same to you.

 

You created my inmost being

and stitched me together in my mother’s womb.

For all these mysteries I thank you—

for the wonder of myself,

for the wonder of your works—

my soul knows it well.

My frame was not hidden from you

while I was being made in that secret place,

knitted together in the depths of the earth;

your eyes saw my body even there.

All of my days

were written in your book,

all of them planned

before even the first of them came to be.

How precious your thoughts are to me, O God!

How impossible to number them!

I could no more count them

Than I could count the sand.

But suppose I could?

You would still be with me!

            Examine me, O God, and know my heart;

            test me and know my thoughts—

            see if there is misdeed within me,

            and guide me in the way that is eternal.

 

King David – What do you know about King David

…  ??? what does this mean

 “something purposefully left out”

Let me read to you the section that is all too often left out when this Psalm is read on a Sunday morning:

O God, if only you would destroy those degenerates!

If only these reprobates would leave me alone!

They talk blasphemously about you;

Your enemies treat you as if you were nothing.

Don’t I hate those who hate you, YHWH?

Don’t I loathe those who defy you?

I hate them with a total hatred,

And regard them as my own enemies!

 

  • Why would we leave that section out?
  • Human beings are evolving beings; incomplete beings, struggling to live into our full humanity
  • Created by LOVE to be LOVE, and yet capable of such hatred
  • I have a suspicion that a good deal of the hatred that we humans inflict upon the world around us, has something to do with the bits of ourselves that we purposefully leave out
  • The pieces of ourselves that we deliberately hide …
  • So, what happens when we allow ourselves to move beyond the great-far-away-wish-granting-sky-god?
  • Our ancestors had an inkling of the intimacy of the MYSTERY that is the LOVE we call God
  • According to this Psalm, there is nowhere this MYSTERY isn’t
  • YHWH, the ONE whose very name is the verb “to be” simply IS
  • Here, there, and everywhere
  • We can intentionally hide the ugly bits of who we are, but the LOVE that IS, IS here, there, everywhere

Where I wander—You!
Where I ponder—You!
Only You everywhere, You, always, You.
You, You, You.
When I am gladdened—You!
And when I am saddened—You!
Only You, everywhere You!
You, You, You.
Sky is You!
Earth is You!
You above! You below!
In every trend, at every end,
Only You, everywhere You!

— Levi Yitzchak of Berditchov

 

LOVER, BELOVED, and LOVE ITSELF,

If this MYSTERY is the object of our desire, then we have no need to hide our ugly bits, for we are intimately seen, known, and loved – all our bits exposed.

… there is a second meaning to the three dots

… does indeed stand for something intentionally hidden, but three dots are also used as a way of saying, “therefore”

  • Look at your bulletins again.

How precious your thoughts are to me, O God!

How impossible to number them!

I could no more count them

than I could the sand.

But suppose I could?

You would still be with me!

…   therefore,

Examine me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my thoughts—

see if there is misdeed within me,

and guide me in the way that is eternal.

 

The MYSTERY that IS, IS here, there, everywhere, if the life and death of Jesus teach us anything, surely it teaches us to see the MYSTERY that IS everywhere.

            This is the CHRIST, the ONE who lives in, with, through, and beyond us – the LOVE that IS.

            Now there are days when I’d rather love the god of my own design, the far-away-wish-granting-sky-god, the one I can summon up when I decide I have need of a god, the kind of god, that I can hide my ugly bits from, the god.

Dot. Dot. Dot.

            I am human after all; an incomplete, evolving being.

            I am human after all; created by LOVE to be LOVE.

            Dot. Dot. Dot.  THEREFORE…

            Where I wander YOU

            Where I ponder YOU

            Only You, You again, always YOU

            YOU YOU YOU

My LOVER, BELOVED, and LOVE HERSELF.

            YOU YOU YOU who created my inmost being and stitched me together in my mother’s womb.

For all these mysteries I tank YOU—

For the wonder of myself, for the wonder of your works—my soul know it well.

            There is nowhere I can hide my ugly bits, and yet there YOU are…still here, there, and everywhere.

            Dot. Dot. Dot….therefore…

How shall I LOVE you?

HERE, THERE, and EVERWHERE –

YOU are in all the OTHERS

YOU are in all my ENEMIES

YOU are in all the EARTH

YOU are in all of ME

DOT. DOT. DOT…THEREFORE..

I LOVE YOU, by loving others, loving my enemies, loving the earth, and loving myself; ugly bits and all.

DOT. DOT. DOT.  Therefore…

This is our sacred destiny, to be LOVE in the world, for we are Created by LOVE to be LOVE.

Can I get an Amen?

 

 

 

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