March 18th 2020: Psalm 1

You can read the text of today’s reading here:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+1&version=NLT

The text of this reading is pretty straightforward: if you want to be blessed, for life to be as it should be and to receive all that life has for you, all that God has for you, even, delight in the law of the Lord. It goes well for people who do, and it doesn’t go well for people who don’t. They are ‘the wicked’ (in the traditional, rather than modern sense). Most of us don’t want to be ‘the wicked’. We’d rather be the ‘good’. So, there’s a pretty big question: if we’re to delight in the law of the Lord and think, meditate on it day and night, what is that law?

People have been confused about this forever. Even the disciples of Jesus, the people who were closest to him and learned from him and did their utmost to follow what he asked them to do needed help working it all out, as we find it Matthew’s gospel,

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.””

So, isn’t this timely? In a moment in world history where we could choose to be only about ourselves and seek safety and security for us and our families, avoiding the consequences of Covid-19, we are told that every single one of the many (and if you don’t know how many there are, there really are many, many) laws and details of how people that want to delight in the law of God and know what it is to be truly free have to follow is this one: Love. Love for God, recognising that we need God, that we can’t do life on our own. Love for self, casting aside the words that have hurt us and put us down over the years, the actions of others and the actions and thoughts of ourselves which make us think that everyone else is great but we’re not worth love; that kind of love. And love for our neighbour. I often ask kids in school, ‘who is your neighbour’? And they sometimes say, ‘Mr Smith’ or ‘Mrs Jones lives across the road’. More often than not, though, they’ve got it much better than most of us adults. They say ‘everyone is my neighbour’. The whole community is our neighbours. Obviously love means different things in different relationships, but we have to show love to everyone, we have to value everyone as if they were the most precious person on the whole of the planet, and we have to let them do the same to us. If we do that, and if we have God at the centre of it all, then we’ll be going some way towards delighting in the law of the Lord, being like a tree planted in streams of living water, one which bears the best kind of fruit. Don’t you want to be like that? I do.

Something to Pray About

Pray for those who are working hard in hospitals caring for the sick, for those in isolation at home with sick relatives, worried about who might catch the virus next. Pray for those in laboratories working hard and unseen on behalf of all, that God would guide their hard work and give them wisdom.

Something To Do

Check in with your neighbours. Say hi. Ask about their day and how they are. If they say ‘fine’, ask again until they tell you the real story. Get to know their story. Be brave enough to listen and brave enough to share your story.

Haydon