Drafting a Messiah Job

Summer with the Psalms: July 25, 2021

Psalm 2, Psalm 144                                        

Growing up, we each had assigned seats at the dinner table.  Dad was at one end and mom was at the other.  As the oldest, I sat at my dad’s right hand.  My dad frequently traveled to Latin America for his work, and before he left, he would pass authority to my next youngest brother (the oldest of the 4), saying, “You are the oldest, most responsible son at home”.  (I was always the oldest, most responsible daughter, so there was no need to bestow more power on my shoulders for a short time!) By bestowing that kind of title on my brother, my dad was saying– you are responsible, so act accordingly, take over some of my roles while I am away, help your mom, be an example to your younger brothers. One of the most visible demonstrations of this shift in power was that he was allowed to sit in dad’s seat at the table.  Dad was selecting a proxy and giving my brother extra powers (which, by the way, he usually did not hesitate to use).  Over the years, as brothers grew up and left home, the “oldest, most responsible son at home” title changed from one to another, and different brothers were given the seat of authority.

To my knowledge, we never had a written job description for the oldest, most responsible son at home, but it was understood by all of us what responsibilities that title carried for the bearer.  Neither do we have a clearly written job description in our scriptures for a Messiah, but we begin to learn about his authority, his responsibilities, and the wide reach of his impact on the world right here in Psalm 2.  The Hebrew word messiah is translated as the “anointed one”, the one designated by God to rule, who is set apart and anointed with oil by a representative of God, usually a prophet.  The word is found about 40 times in the Old Testament, mostly in 1-2 Samuel and the Psalms, and normally used as a synonym for “king”.   The Greek translation of messiah is the very familiar title, Christ.

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Caring for God’s Creation

Psalm 65    (have a recycling bin outside, cloth bag, water bottle)

As you have already heard, this weekend the children of our two congregations have been focusing on our role as caretakers of God’s creation.  First and foremost, we have been reminded that it is GOD’S creation.  Take a few moments to look around you.  The green of growing plants, the cool breeze on your face, the movement of the trees, the voices of the birds.  God’s creation is given to us as a gift—we are entrusted with its care, and we depend upon it for life.  Without the clean water to drink and air to breathe, without healthy soil to enrich our food and the sun which gives us light, we would be unable to survive. When we don’t care for creation well, we endanger our fellow creatures and ourselves. 

It is God’s creation, and God has placed the earth in our hands. The psalmist has shaped the beauty of this world we inhabit into poetry, creating a communal hymn of praise.  It is a hymn anyone can sing—anyone who sees God’s hand in the mountains and the valleys, in the rain showers, or in the smell of freshly plowed fields.  Just as the hymn we sang earlier, “How Great Thou Art”, describes God as the creator of stars, rolling thunder, woods, birds, mountains, streams and gentle breezes, the psalmist praises God for the creation he can see all around him.  Whether in the words of ancient Hebrew poetry or a beloved 70 year old hymn or a simple prayer song, the natural response to all this beauty and wonder created by God is PRAISE. wonderment and gratitude to God for this gift. 

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