Why do you boast, O mighty one, of mischief done against the godly?
All day long you are plotting destruction.
Your tongue is like a sharp razor, you worker of treachery. (Ps. 52:1, NRSV)
I am troubled by the on-going conflict in the Holy Land, as I’m sure everyone is. Two groups of the children of Abraham, unwilling to see the justice of their opponent’s position, unwilling to acknowledge that the other has a legitimate narrative, plot destruction and boast of “mischief done against the godly,” both sides being (I think) among the godly.
In yesterday’s gospel lesson (RCL Proper 11, Year A), Jesus tells a parable and ends it, as he often does, with the admonition, “Let anyone with ears listen!” (Mt 13:43) In this psalm, Jesus’ ancestor David (the psalm in its prelude is specifically attributed to David) calls attention to the deceitful tongue. Tongues and ears, the transmitters and receivers of communication, neither seem to be working in the modern land of David and Jesus.
What can we do? We can bear witness that each side has something to say, that each side has a holy obligation to speak not boasts of mischief but narratives of justice, and that each side has a commensurate holy obligation to listen. We can encourage both sides to live up to these obligations. But mostly, we can pray. Pray for peace and reconciliation.
The Rev. Dr. C. Eric Funston is rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Medina, Ohio, an EfM mentor, and a writer of Daily Office meditations offered on his blog, That Which We Have Heard & Known.