Nov. 25: Walk the walk of covenant
Advent bursts in upon the autumnal rhythms of ordinary time. Fallen leaves, the last hurrah of overripe bounties, are rustled about by breezes and blowers. The nose of every sentient creature tingles with the scent of things to come. I invite you now to pause, and peer towards time’s first wrinkle.
Bent low beneath a seeker’s burden, a poet puts her pen to parchment. Life is pregnant with perplexity – who can but compose? A lament is poured into the acrostic mold, letter by letter, line by line. We crawl onto the backs of her inky words and are borne across sloughs of shame. Chased by shadows of doubt and other monsters of our own making. Can honor be retained, and dignity once lost regained? Can guilt be cleaned, and sins of youth redeemed?
Contrite. Seeking guidance. Humble to a fault when forced upon our knees. Complaint alone is not enough to lift us up. But interspersed with praise the hymnist’s cries resound and take effect. We mount her winged words and soar into the sanctuary, clinging to whatever confidence the sense of flight bestows upon an earthy race. Too drunk with vindication to perceive that all success is grace.
Dumbfounded, now we wait. And every hour’s infused with not-quite-yet. For those who walk the walk of covenant, all paths are hesed (faithfulness) and emet (truth). Teach on, lead forth, O LORD, make mindful of your ways. Break out in season, Ancient One of Days.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 25:1-10 (NRSV)
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.
Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.