"With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord; I will praise him in the midst of the throng."
Everyone is talking about it today.
The US Supreme Court has ruled that all people are free to marry whomever they love, regardless of the gender. The debate about same sex marriage has been raging for a long, long time. But now, at least in the eyes of the US courts system, the issue is settled. Of course, people are still free to believe whatever they want about same sex marriage & homosexuality. That's part of what makes our country great (free speech & freedom of religion). No one is being forced to believe or adopt anything that goes contrary to their own beliefs. But the ruling today is a legal mandate.
In my devotions this morning, I read Psalm 109. The subtitle is "A Psalm for Vindication & Vengeance" (terrible title, if you ask me). I have to admit it, I read it in a whole new light today. Not just in response to the Supreme Court's ruling, but also in response to the tragic shooting last week in South Carolina at an AME church bible study, by an angry young white man. Psalm 109 is full of hate language. At first glance, it looks like the author is voicing his contempt. But when I reread it, I got a different impression...
The psalmist speaks about those who have attacked him & been his enemies: "They beset me with words of hate, and attack me without cause. In return for my love they accuse me even while I make prayer for them" (v.3-4). Then verses 6-19 recount all of the hate speech & oppression the psalmist has had to face. Wow. I almost couldn't read it. Terrible things.
It seems that the Christian Church has become quite splintered. Maybe we always have been and I'm just seeing it more prominently now because of the LBGT debates in our society. But when we, as followers of Jesus, stoop to spewing hate, condemnation, and graceless judgment in our speech, we dishonor God. We don't all have to agree on every issue theologically or politically, of course. But please people, let's be civil and loving in our words & deeds (and relationships)!
I think it's telling that years before Jesus walked this earth, the pslamist was doing what Jesus would call people to do - love their enemies & pray for those who persecute them. At the end of Psalm 109, the author looks to God alone for strength & support. God has a history of siding with the downtrodden, the abused, and the oppressed. Our response throughout all that befalls us in life should be praise & thanksgiving to God (no matter what's happening), not ugliness, hatred & words of vengeance.
And on a historic day like today, that call rings loud & clear. At least to me.