A Simple Text that Changes Our World!

I am sitting here looking out on a gorgeous spring landscape festooned with pink and white dogwoods and flowering crabapple trees. It is also primary election day in Pennsylvania, the immediate benefit of which is that the annoying political campaign commercials will disappear from TV after today, only to return with a vengeance in the autumn. With the backdrop of all of this, I approached the various biblical texts from which I will craft next Sunday's homily. I became discouraged as I read through the Gospel of John, the Acts of the Apostles and the Book of Revelation.

Now, before you sit down to write me a letter, I was discouraged, not because those texts have nothing to say worthy of proclamation, but because they had great news, but the same news, that the scriptures have been proclaiming since Easter. One writer says that, at this point in the Easter season, it feels a bit like the twelfth day of Christmas: the gifts have been put away and a few scraps of wrapping paper still can be found here and there. But overall, people are ready to move on.

So, I was quite happy to take a look at Psalm 67, which is assigned for the Sixth Sunday of Easter. That Psalm begins with a benediction, and then proceeds to proclaim that "God is due praise, because God is equitable and just towards humanity, God's guidance is universal, not particular to any one nation or people.

All the nations of the earth may take comfort in the impartiality of God, in the favor of God toward all of God's people" (The African American Lectionary). What a breath of fresh air on a beautiful spring day, when politics is living out its less-than-civic-minded ritual all around us. Politicians, pastors, professors along with cooks, constables and chemists may appear to be different in all of the obvious ways of appearance, economic status and philosophy. But they, and everyone else on earth, have something else in common too often forgotten in today's supercharged political and religious culture wars: they are loved, everyone of them, by a compassionate and fair Creator.

According to the Psalmist, God is impartial, which should make us happy. But, instead, we like to keep score of right and wrong, credit and debit, equal and unequal. Thankfully, God's ways are not our ways. Now that is an Easter message that we can get excited about again, because it is another way of expressing the message of that first Easter: nothing, including death, can separate us from a loving God! We are all children of a benevolent Creator, and if we refuse to spread that good news because we are more concerned about creed than we are about the people who all credos serve, then the message of Psalm 67 will pass us by. And that would be a tragedy of immeasurable proportions.