Thursday, June 3, 2010

Righteousness and Peace Kissing

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other. Psalm 85: 10 NRSV

One of my seminary professors, Dr. Thomas Thangaraj, wrote a song for this Psalm. I remember learning it when I was on a summer seminary trip with him to his native India. All of us students learned this song and often sang it as a blessing before meals -- a sort of blessing/entertainment combo I suppose. We also sang it in chapel in seminary and on a few other occasions. In addition, we helped record it for one of his albums (I had to go to India to be recorded!).

The reason I digressed here is because whenever I read Psalm 85 I remember all the times I have sung the words: righteousness and peace will kiss each other. There is something so wonderful about that imagery. Peace and justice coming together, greeting each other with a holy kiss, makes a wonderful picture in my mind. I can almost imagine two people sitting down together to share a meal with handshake, a hug or a holy kiss. Righteousness and peace together at last would make a good caption!

But seldom do we think of righteousness or justice as being linked with peace. Too often we want things made right, even at the cost of war and violence. Peace is far from our minds at these times.

Yet, some of the most powerful peace-makers have been those who have fought without violence for justice and righteousness: Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., come to my mind. Not that these individuals were perfect but they did know how to get righteousness and peace together in the same room if not kissing.

Jesus Christ is the best example. He brought about a peace that wasn't about an absence of war but a peace that went beyond anyone's understanding. He brought about a right relationship with God that didn't have to do with sacrifice and obedience to the law as much as it did having a pure heart and belief. He make sure that righteousness and peace would indeed meet and kiss.

God, thank you that you bring about righteousness and peace through Jesus Christ. Help us to constantly hold these in our own hearts. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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