Old Testament Lesson
1 Thess. 2:13-20
When we enter a season such as Advent, and I hear admonitions to be more holy, I sometimes get frozen with the sense that this is just above my power. There are those people who we have met who embody holiness, who seem to listen to the "better angels of their natures" at all times, and who seem to walk in the ways of the Lord without any stumbling at all. If you are one of those people, blessings! I, for one, am not. I strive to do good, but fail as often as not, and the entering of Advent can remind me just how much work is still to be done.
The Psalmist reflects on the "blameless" ones in psalm 119, saying:
|1||Happy are they whose way is blameless, *|
who walk in the law of the LORD!
|2||Happy are they who observe his decrees *|
and seek him with all their hearts!
|3||Who never do any wrong, *|
but always walk in his ways.
|4||You laid down your commandments, *|
that we should fully keep them.
This vision of the ones whose way is blameless is a vision that the Psalmist is also praying to one day live out in his own life. You see, God is with us, even if we stumble. Actually, God is with us especially when we stumble and strive to do the good, to live a blameless way. Look to the scripture, King David is by no means a blameless figure, yet continues to return to the Lord. And what of these figures such as Zacchaeus, hated tax collector, and then there is Jesus staying at his house, and enacting Zacchaeus's tranformation and conversion. So too for us, we strive to be good, to walk in the law of the Lord, but God is with us even when we stumble, and is there to help us along the way.
|5||Oh, that my ways were made so direct *|
that I might keep your statutes!
|6||Then I should not be put to shame, *|
when I regard all your commandments.
|7||I will thank you with an unfeigned heart, *|
when I have learned your righteous judgments.
|8||I will keep your statutes; *|
do not utterly forsake me.
And the Lord does not forsake us, but is carrying us all along, and loves us though we stumble and trip along the journey of Christ.
May your ways be blameless today, and, if not, know that God will deal bountifully with us!
|17||Deal bountifully with your servant, *|
that I may live and keep your word.
|18||Open my eyes, that I may see *|
the wonders of your law.
Blessings and Peace,
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey