Tuesday, November 06, 2007

by them is your servant warned

I’ve been going back and back and back again to Psalm 19 lately. It’s always been one of my favorites, particularly since being in boarding school and hearing some of my school mates when their parents came to visit—a CRWM family from Mali—sing the second part (verse 7 on) of it all together beautifully. But also because it’s a perfect summation of the Christian Life and what produces real happiness and joy. The psalm articulates the liveliness of the Law, the dynamism that it produces in daily life when one tries not only to walk in it, but to integrate it into one’s interior essential being.

But I hadn’t paid particular careful attention to the first half—the declaring speech of the cosmos and earth concerning the greatness of God. There is actually interesting movement—the heavens, the sky, the sun declare the perfection of the Law, after which and out of which flows man’s response.

There is all kinds of richness here, besides the dripping of honey.

First of all, we’ve been teaching our kiddos the 10 Commandments with the use of the old 70s ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing’. I don’t know the words to the real thing (heh) but we hit upon it because it used to be one of the tunes I, along with everyone else, had to sing ‘Amazing Grace’ to in Boarding School (along with Ghost Riders in the Sky, In the Jungle, and Gilligan’s Island). With a little tweaking, we managed to make all the commandments fit in plain language, and now we sing it almost every morning (their choice, not ours) and sometimes again in the evening. Their learning of the content of the law concurrently with a love of Jesus was my aim and its delightful to see it happening.

Second of all, psalm 19 has, over time, very much informed my emotional sense of obedience to God, and my overall desire to know God through the Scriptures. Because, let’s face it, the easy way is not obedience or even knowledge of God. The easy way is strict slavish adherence to one’s own passions and desires. To first of all know the Law and then to find it sure, right, pure, clean, true and golden, that takes a life time of work.

As I write this, I am most painfully aware that this sets me entirely outside the worldview of most of the west, actually. I frequently delude myself into thinking myself in the majority by reading people I agree with and avoiding everything else. But this is not the case. The west has become obsessively self centered. The Law of the Lord, perfect or not, is not known nor sought. Even the church has bought into the boring madness of self gratification. Only its called ‘self actualization’ or ‘becoming one’s best self’ or even, ‘living into the baptismal covenant’. And its why the Anglican World is breaking apart.

I will probably come back to this later. At the moment I’ve just made myself mad and I have to feed the baby.


Anonymous said...

What you say sounds surprisingly familiar, since I just a few days ago read C.S. Lewis's own take on Psalm 19, which actually sounds (though more English-professory!) a lot like yours. One of the most interesting parts:

"In so far as this idea of the Law's beauty, sweetness, or preciousness arose from the contrast of the surrounding Paganisms [which sometimes, he notes, involved a lot of physical cruelty], we may soon find occasion to recover it. Christians increasingly live on a spiritual island; new and rival ways of life surround it in all directions...some give morality a wholly new meaning which we cannot accept, some deny its possibility. Perhaps we shall all learn, sharply enough, to value the clean air and 'sweet reasonableness' of the Christian ethics which in a more Christian age we might have taken for granted."


R said...

Hey hey, I miss you. Thanks for writing this!


At A Hen's Pace said...

I'd love the "lyrics" to your Ten Commandments version of the Pepsi song!

I keep forgetting, to add you to my Bloglines, so I lost track of you there for awhile. Congratulations on the safe delivery of your little girl!!!