Saturday, March 8, 2014

Letting Trust Die: 1st Sunday of Lent

Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of repentance after the Bathsheba and Uriah incident. It’s probably the best-known prayer of repentance in the Bible, the words of a man who realizes that his life has not turned out the way he hoped it would, that he isn’t the man he thought he was, he isn’t the “pretty alright guy more or less” that he’d told himself he was. It’s the prayer of a man who has blown through any possibility of denial and is face to face with every bit of the horror and ugliness of sin.

This moment of sorrow and tears is a great one for David, the moment when things stop spiraling downward and begin to turn, the moment of repentance. He realizes that what he wants most of all is the opposite of what he’s been pursuing. What he wants most of all is a pure heart, a faithful spirit, and the innocent joy of the presence of God.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

On the Highest Hill: 8th Sunday OT

I took a brief but thrilling architecture class, and I remember the professor on the very first day posing us a question: What do our buildings say about us? If you walked into an ancient Greek city, what would you know about the people who lived there? You’d see a great amphitheater and know that community and the life of the mind and the arts were very important to them. You’d see a well-organized market square and know that commerce was well-developed and important to them. You’d see athletic fields and gymnasia; their presence would tell you that physical health and sport were important to them, and their relative location and beauty would tell you that they were somewhat less important perhaps than the life of the mind. What about religion? Where are the temple or temples? Look up there... way up there at the highest point of the city. You know from miles away what matters most to these people. Growing up here, it would have been reinforced a hundred or a thousand times a day, subtly and subconsciously, that religion is what’s most important.

Acropolis of Athens by Leo von Klenze