God as the constant...
As we continue to work our way through the "long psalm," I confess a number of feelings working in me that range from awe to frustration, from wonder to anxiety. God is revealed to us as the great constant, the creator and giver of both life and the law. The one thing required of us is fidelity to that set of commandments, and that works out to be the single greatest challenge of existence. Opponents, foes, strangers and even our own inner selves make the path to obedience full of steep climbs and drops, treacherous switchbacks and precarious pathways...much like a mountain road. We have to make our way on it, and yet with each moment the risk persists. The one thing we have to offer is submission to God's will, and that winds up being the hardest thing in our lives to surrender to our creator, becoming a hallmark of community with God in Hebrew scriptures and the very sign of the community we share in the Body of the Christ.
Throughout our peregrinations in life, then, God is the constant. God reminds David, when David inquires permission to build a temple for God, that a tent is just fine--because even that most temporary of structures becomes a symbol of perpetual abiding when God is manifest. It is not David's role to build a temple. Instead, David's task is to bear witness to God's promise that from David will come the dynasty that will rule Israel. God is the constant.
As the psalmist struggles to articulate both a longing for God and a frustration that life doesn't quite work out for him/her, even when the commandments are kept...there is still room to confess that God is the constant source of hope, of consolation and of deliverance. It isn't in this part of the psalm, but throughout this section I keep hearing in my heart, "You got me this far, God, and I am really trying to keep faith. Please give me strength to follow you some more." Simple enough, and yet again God is the constant.
Even sin, as Paul articulates it in Romans, though it is persistent it cannot supersede God as the constant in life. We don't know sin unless we know the Law, but even under the Law and suppressed by the allure of sin, God's constant and abiding desire for us cannot be ignored. Again, God is the constant. This time, we find that constancy in the overcoming of death itself. Christ, resurrected, puts away even the most looming of constants in human life: death itself is undone. Sin has its teeth pulled and its claws trimmed. We are cleansed and lifted up. All of this is accomplished by God's constant and abiding love.
God is the constant...of that we can give witness, even as the testimony of scripture supports our experience.
God is the constant.