In 2016, we are not people who are used to being summoned. But in this psalm we hear God, the mighty one, summoning all the peoples of the earth, all who have numbered themselves among God’s faithful. The scene is not a modern courtroom but a cosmic one, with the heavens above and the earth beneath, filled with devouring fire and a mighty wind. The ruler’s subjects stand and listen, waiting for a decision. But the ruler tires of the ceremony. It is not about the proper sacrifice, we hear God rage, not about animals given to God; God owns them all! God has something different in mind.
So God continues, “I demand not obedience in sacrifice, but mercy, kindness to your kin, faithfulness to those you call friends.” And also thanksgiving. Praise. Acknowledgment, not in ceremony, but in justice.
Our fiery God rages and burns away all of our pretense and settles instead on gentleness and relationship; with fire and wind moving us towards mercy and kindness. How our world needs such a ruler!
God of fire and wind, settle in our hearts and our world. Purge away violence, slander and unkindness. Breathe again your spirit of thanksgiving, gentleness and love within and between all of the peoples of earth. Amen. — VF