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Hope is Now: Robed in majesty

Reflections from Our Pastors

   Psalm 93 begins “The Lord reigns!” A cynic might make a snarky remark like “Not very well.” That’s the historic criticism of belief in God: if God is so great, so omnipotent, then why is the world in such a mess? As I put it in my Will of God book, when God was young – that is, when God was younger, before anything was made, billions of years ago – God made the biggest decision ever: to create, to make a universe, and with people on planet Earth.

At that turning point, God could have fashioned a world with no storms or cliffs or locusts. And God could have designed marionettes instead of people, so God could pull their strings and they would also do his bidding. But God valued something more than control and everything running smoothly. God is love. God wanted love. And love by definition isn’t control. God gave us space to foul things up, but also to love one another, and God, and to face daunting challenges, and even grievous losses, so we would love ever more, and yearn always for God.

God reigns? Yes, in love over it all, and for us all, and God will ultimately bring everything to God’s holy, loving purpose. Such a God, as Psalm 93 sings, “is robed with majesty.” The Israelites pictured God as a magnanimous ruler with lush, long robes, flowing down, brushing the tops of the heads of the worshippers in the temple. This image reminds me of the chronically ill woman who pushed through the crowd, reached out, and touched the hem of Jesus’ robe (Mark 5) – and was healed. I think of Jesus’ robe, stripped from him and gambled for at the foot of the cross – and then that fabric shroud in which he was buried on Good Friday. The Lord reigns. That’s what this reign looks like.

Water left this Psalmist, like all of us, in awe. “The floods have lifted up,” testimony to God’s power, the immensity of water stretching beyond the horizon. Was the Psalmist standing on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea?

Sir Isaac Newton, genius, maybe the smartest and most knowledgeable person on earth, wrote “I feel like a boy playing on the seashore, diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” So it is with this God, who reigns and is robed in majesty. We gaze, we study, we look more deeply, we know a little, we are awed – but oh, all we don’t yet know! Good cause to exult in praise.

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