Deborah Beach Giordano
© September 10, 2018
Psalm 146 ~ as told by Deborah
Praise God, our gracious God; praise God, O my soul!
I will praise God as long as I live; I will put my faith in the Holy One — and no other.
Do not put your trust in princes, politicians, pundits, products, or parties, they won’t help you. When they have no further need of you they depart; on that very day their promises perish.
Happy are those who rely on the Lord. Look to the Eternal, the Beloved, who sets the people free; at whose word creation arose, in whose compassion all abide.
Those who follow the way of holy Wisdom will see a world of healing and hope; they will build up and not tear down; they will bless and not curse; they will act justly, love kindness, and walk humbly with their God.
The Lord watches over the lost and the lonely, the weak and the weary, but those who pursue the path of wickedness will be led to ruin.
The Lord reigns from everlasting to everlasting; our God, the Lover of our souls. Praise God, our gracious God. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
What Happens Next?
Somewhere, within in my eclectic theological explorations, I came across a conjecture regarding our afterlife that has challenged my thinking ever since: “Perhaps we get the God we believe in.”
It certainly gives one pause.
Would that be the best possible heaven? I guess that rather depends on the God we’ve been worshipping.
How many of those who pay homage to a fierce and demanding Judge will have an unerringly neat and tidy life history to offer at its conclusion? And what if they don’t? What if they generally meant to do what was right, but failed, on more than one occasion — perhaps failed spectacularly? (We all make mistakes, after all, we’re only human.) If the God they believe in is scrupulously just, rather than merciful, what would happen then?
Those who believe that the God who made dogs must have a similarly loving, forgiving, and effusively accepting nature would slip through the heavenly Gates to be greeted by a chorus of joyful barking. Meanwhile, others who may have done much greater good and strived to follow Christ much more earnestly would be facing a Divine Adversary — if that’s who they worshipped.
The mind boggles and the heart is troubled. It certainly wouldn’t be fair — which is a divine attribute most of us do believe in.
The God We Worship
Perhaps a wiser statement would be, not that we get the God we believe in, but that others do. Every day, whether knowingly or blithely unaware, we proclaim our faith and belief to those we meet — through our attitude, our outlook, our behavior, our words and deeds, cares and concerns.
Perhaps that is another way of interpreting the saying “Bidden or unbidden, God is present.” And the one we daily summon may not be the One we say it is.
We proclaim ourselves to be Christians, and yet … whose teachings do we actually follow? Do we abide in the law of “love of God and love of neighbor,” or “every man for himself”? Do we preach peace, while waging war against our enemies? Do we show forth compassion or plot vengeance? Do we build up or tear down?
Do we bless and not curse?
What god do we summon into our life, whose gospel do we proclaim to those with whom we come in contact? What spirit do we unleash? Do we preach Christ — or His enemy — as we make our way in the world?
Bidden or unbidden — mindfully or thoughtlessly — God is present. It’s up to us what god we represent (re-present) in the proclamation of our lives.
Back to the Future
And so … to eternity.
As the Lord Christ said: “I go before you”; we know the Path to follow, we simply (!) have to live accordingly. We are to be a mindful, hope-fueling, love-driven people; thankful, joyful, gentle, and at peace.
And if our hearts are Gospel-shaped, so I believe, we’re well on our way to a loving, cheerful welcome Home.
Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,
Suggested Spiritual Exercise
What God do you proclaim in the living of your life?
A friend once related, in gently amused tones, that as her father lay dying, he told her that his beloved childhood pet was sitting by his bedside. She believed it to be an hallucination. I believe it was Something Else entirely.