Dispatch One Hundred Twenty

Posted: April 5, 2015 in Thirty-First Bundle
Tags: , , , , ,

PSALM 118:1-2, 14-24

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever!

Let Israel say,
    “His steadfast love endures forever.”

14 The Lord is my strength and my might;
    he has become my salvation.

15 There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
16     the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
    the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”
17 I shall not die, but I shall live,
    and recount the deeds of the Lord.
18 The Lord has punished me severely,
    but he did not give me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
    that I may enter through them
    and give thanks to the Lord.

20 This is the gate of the Lord;
    the righteous shall enter through it.

21 I thank you that you have answered me
    and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
    it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.

The evolutionary ascent of consciousness to the level of human self-awareness opened two new frontiers simultaneously: the aspiration for God and anxiety over death. We have an exceptional ability to observe ourselves, to sustain a subjective stream of impressions, feelings, judgments, and expectations as “commentary” on our experience. A capacity for seeing ourselves within the larger context of space and time – to imagine a universe and entertain theories about its origins, limits, laws and mysteries – moves the mind inevitably in the direction of anticipating our extinction, when we will come to an end. Such mortal awareness is not a pleasant place in which to dwell, surely, but it can be argued that our sense of time’s arrow is what has given urgency, intensity, and beauty to the best of what we have achieved as a species.

As a matter of faith, the psalmist found assurance in the belief that something eternal and deeply stable stands beneath and graciously upholds the fleeting drama of his individual life on the earth stage. God is our name for the provident mystery and present help at the heart of reality, available and freely given to the one who can love life without wanting to possess it, who can let go of life in order to enjoy it to the full.

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