May 19

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

“Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord!” vs. 35

Psalm 104 is a beautiful song of praise to the creation. Verse 24 describes its intent well, “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” The psalmist knows that God has created all things and that the spirit of God sustains and nourishes every living creature. And then come these words, “Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more.” It’s an almost jarring sentiment, and we’re hard-pressed to know what to do with it. In fact, those who chose passages for each Sunday’s lectionary readings exclude it. They recommend that verse 34a not be read or sung in worship. The advice is understandable, yet we wonder. Isn’t this how many of us actually feel? The creation really is spectacular and wonderful. Every day we’re overwhelmed by its beauty and intricacy. But at the same time we’re so aware of the evil–there are so many people doing absolutely despicable things–and we’d love it if God would just do something about it. Indeed, as it is for the psalmist, that’s sometimes our daily prayer! The problem is that sin and wickedness cannot be excised by getting rid of people–that’s been tried and it doesn’t work. The good news is that one day the Son’s love radiation will destroy every vestige of evil–both in ourselves and in the world!

Thought for the Day: How does awareness of evil affect me?

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