Fourth Sunday After Epiphany, Yr A, 2023 – Psalm Passage: The Wisdom & Wise Living Principle: Preacher & Seeker talk

Preacher: “O LORD, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?”

Seeker: It does not take special skills or attributes to dwell with the Lord God. In fact some of the people in the bible did not seem to be worthy of dwelling in the Holy Presence. And yet the Lord God invited them to journey with the Divine while they lived on earth. And when their time came, they went to dwell with their Creator in the world beyond this. But, the psalmist is asking the question as pertains to this world and not the next.

Preacher: “Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart; . . . “

Seeker: Those among humanity who are literalists might ask how one can dwell in the Lord’s tent while on earth. I think what the psalmist is asking is who is worthy enough to have communion with the Divine, who is worthy to be in relationship with the Creator.

Or perhaps asking who is worthy to know about the existence of the Divine, and to comprehend the requirements of true faith. But as you said, Seeker, it is not a matter of qualification, It is a matter of being willing to believe; wanting to believe. And the result are believers “who do not slander with their tongue, and do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbors; . . .”

Seeker: “ . . . . in whose eyes the wicked are despised, but who honor those who fear the LORD; who stand by their oath even to their hurt; . . “
These are assets of the true heart – a heart and mindset that Yahweh desired and Jesus came to model. And really, Preacher, such a mind set exists in people who would not profess Christian faith – as it was once understood – but live it out just the same.

You are correct, Seeker. Those “who do not lend money at interest, and do not take a bribe against the innocent. Those who do these things shall never be moved.” (Psalm 15) I am from a time and age that such attributes would be find most readily in believers professing faith. In this age we know that traditional faith beliefs and the caring & compassionate we hear do not necessarily coincide. Our world is a different one than the psalmist’s was. We can mourn that; or we can find “spiritual” attributes where they may be within humanity. Wisdom and wise living are not the sole province of faith communities; so let us not dismiss it where we find it. Let us instead nurture it, and tell the story of where and how it came into existence. Shalom & Selah!


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