Monday, December 24, 2007

Who am I most interested in? Who is the Lord most interested in?

hurmpf; turns out I had already written an essay for 12/27 -- a few weeks ago -- and stuck it here (dated last year). But I didn't update my other page so I thought I still had a 12/27 gap. Getting older... anyway, here's what I wrote this morning

spare essay for 12/27—also from Psalm 146

At this time of year we remember the story of a pregnant teenager and her fiancé—not the father of her baby by the way. An oppressive government decreed that they must travel a long ways, and when they arrive in Bethlehem -- talk about rotten timing -- she has the baby and lays him down in a feeding trough (a manger). Nearby shepherds are told of this event; they find Mary and Joseph and the baby, and they are the first humans to spread the good news of Jesus.

In this story, angels appear to a teenage girl and to shepherds. I read somewhere that in those days, neither women nor shepherds were considered credible witnesses in a court of law. Do you get the impression that God is especially fond of low-status people? Hundreds of years earlier, this psalmist certainly had that impression:
He [the Lord] upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free
the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the alien
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
Psalm 146:7-9
Who does the Lord seem to favor in this passage?
  • the oppressed
  • the hungry
  • prisoners
  • the blind
  • the oppressed
  • the righteous
  • the alien
  • the fatherless
  • the widow
And who today do we favor? Who do we celebrate? The headlines talk about the rich and famous; we don't read much about people at the lower end of the status scale. That's almost tautological.

More personally, who would I like to be seen with or noticed by? Who do I seek out?

Something nice about this time of year is that many of us do think about the poor and oppressed, and serve them in some way or another. This is a good thing. It would be even better if I thought about them and served them more all year long, but what I've got today is today.

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