More enervated than inspired by this year’s campaign season, I thought of writing a parody of Jesus’ Beatitudes (you know, “Blessed are the job creators…”) or maybe collect Jesus’ sayings about the way things are and the way things should be and place them in contemporary U.S. contexts (such as the parable of the laborers in the vineyard whose time cards differed but whose pay was the same).
But the problem with parody is it’s likely simply to antagonize, and contemporizing Jesus’ sayings might bring heated debates why I chose this example rather than that example. And rage and contentiousness bring, as they say, more heat than light—in other words, more of what we have now.
Then, intending to open my Bible to the gospels, it accidentally fell open to Psalm 37. Reading it really helped me, and I had a strong desire to simply use it as my post today. I encourage you to read it all, but here are tantalizing excerpts that might offer much-needed equanimity for the weeks ahead:
Do not fret because of the wicked;
do not be envious of wrongdoers,
for they will soon fade like the grass,
and wither like the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
God will make your vindication shine like the light,
and the justice of your cause like the noonday.
Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for God…
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy,
to kill those who walk uprightly;
their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.
Better is a little that the righteous person has
than the abundance of many wicked.
I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
They are ever giving liberally and lending,
and their children become a blessing.
I do wish Christians—progressive and otherwise—would read the Bible more. I wish prejudiced Christians would read beyond the few verses by which they exclude others to the many texts that welcome the most vulnerable. And I wish they believed more of the Bible than the part that saves only them.
If you read the sayings and parables of Jesus, you will know who and what I am voting for.