Sunday, March 17

The Tables Will Soon Be Turned

Sing praises to God who dwells in Zion, And declare among the peoples what he has done. For he who avenges blood remembers them. He doesn't forget the cry of the afflicted.
Have mercy on me, Lord. See how I am afflicted by those who hate me, and lift me up from the gates of death, that I may show forth all your praise. At the gates of the daughter of Zion I will rejoice in your salvation.
The wicked shall be turned back to Sheol, even all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be ignored, nor the hope of the poor perish forever.
Arise, Lord! Don't let humans prevail. Let the nations be judged in your sight. Put them in fear, Lord. Let the nations know that they are mere mortals.
—Psalm 9:11-20

Rich secularists have always paid little heed to the poor. And when they do, it seems to be in order to use them for their own purposes. But when people calling themselves Christians lose sight of who they are and Whose they are, when they forget that Jesus' ministry was with, among, and for the poor—that Jesus himself was poor!—then how can we not get discouraged? Where is the hope of the poor, if those who are called to identify with them instead ignore them—or even scoff at them?

But the promise of the 9th Psalm is the promise of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection: Though it may seem that the hope of the downtrodden has finally surrendered to despair, that the life of the suffering has ended in death, and that the light of justice has in the end been snuffed out, Look! a new morning dawns: Hope is alive! God has not forgotten!

The promise of Easter is not a new suit and a glorious worship service. It is the promise that the coming Kingdom is at hand, that the tables will soon be turned, and that the collusion between religious leaders and the rich who laugh at the poor will soon fall apart like a house of cards in a hurricane.

Of course I pray that I never forget the poor, O God. But dare I pray for poverty itself—that I actually live like the One whose Name I have taken on myself? In his Name, help me to pray aright. Amen.

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