Proceding with resolute ambiguity

The Lord will make good his purpose for me;
O Lord, your love endures for ever;
do not abandon the works of your hands

This is the last verse in Psalm 138, the Psalm for this Sunday that we read at Grace Episcopal Church here in Huron, SD. It was a very nice service. It has been refreshing to go to Grace the last two weeks. Prior to that, I had not been to a liturgical service since last May. I really love liturgical services, and going to Grace has now pushed the Episcopals up to the #1 slot in my own personal Denomination Sweepstakes (the process of me figuring out which denomination to join). Grace does not have a priest, so there will probably be opportunity to get involved with services, similar to my involvement at Saint James the Fisherman in Kodiak, AK. (I really miss the folks there.)

I find this Psalm interesting for its resolute ambiguity. The poet writes in the first two lines of his faith in the Lord: The Lord will make good his purpose, his love endures for ever. These are not only expressions of faith, they are also very personal–the poet is putting all of his eggs in one basket. Perhaps after writing those lines, the poet reflects on this situation a bit.

After nine verses of praise to the Lord, the poem ends with a line that is funny to me: “do not abandon the works of your hands.” Following nine verses of lofty exaltation, the last verse strikes me as a reminder for God something to the effect of “Uhm. Try not to, uh, well, ya know, leave us in a bind here….cause….well, we’re all counting on you down here. So, yeah. Uhm. Don’t abandon us.”

Faith is quirky in its ordinary humanness, in its inability to maintain its steadfastness. Amid our most resounding resolutions contain the seeds of doubt. Nothing in life is a sure bet. Still, we commit and proceed by faith, putting our trust in what we think is noble and true. What else can we do? Hopefully God will be listening, and God won’t abandon us.

Isn’t that right, Lord? You won’t abandon the work of your hands….will you?

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Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

2 thoughts on “Proceding with resolute ambiguity”

Consider this post an invitation, an invitation to comment and collaborate ~ In Solidarity, JE

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