One of this Sunday’s scripture readings is Psalm 133. This short psalm lauds the goodness of living in harmony. It compares it to the fineness of oil running down the head … saying where God confers His blessings of everlasting life it (harmony) will be as copious as dew on the mountaintop heights.
I consider this wonderful imagery in light of a theory I recently heard on a TED talk[i] that contrasted modern humanity’s concept of “reality” to the reality of ancient peoples. The modern world view, it was stated, recognizes as “real” only things of a material nature, and claims that humanness can best be described as “competitive individuality.” This modern view of reality supposes that nature has made us this way, giving every one of us the reason, right, freedom, and self-interest to thrive and compete for all of life’s important resources. Non-material things are considered “not real” … beliefs that exist only in the realm of the mind. This includes gods, demons, heaven, and hell.
By contrast, the “reality” of the ancients was alive with things we would consider unreal. People were inseparable from their families, born to serve and preserve the social body that had given them life. Humans were expected to serve their communities, not themselves. And humans and non-humans existed in a collaborative, symbiotic existence.
The modern view of reality has resulted in such vast consumerism, that it has threatened our ecological sustainability in just the last 300 years. Modern humans[ii] put all their confidence into human solutions. We have lost sight of our dependency upon and responsibility to care for the non-human parts of our world. And a growing majority doubt that God is real because His existence cannot be scientifically proven; therefore, we no longer believe in God’s providence. No wonder we find the world is an increasingly fear-filled, agitated, self-serving, and untrustworthy place. We are stuck in a “reality” paradigm that God assures us His truth will someday shatter.
God’s world, as described in the Bible, is not as this modern theory suggests. God assures us that although we cannot see Him, that He is real! He tells us that He is the One that provides and that His provisions are more than just sufficient for all … they’re bountiful! He tells us not to worry. He tells us not to be anxious. He tells us to share. He tells us to love and care for the things He made and called “good.” He tells us to BELIEVE!
In today’s polarized world, God’s charge seems harder than ever to do! It includes some people that are difficult to care for. Yet, this is where Christians should be lighting the way! I find good guidance in the words that Paul spoke to Timothy:
“fight the good fight of faith…” —1 Timothy 6:12.
- In “word” or speech
- In “conduct” or righteous living
- In “love” or self-sacrificial service
- In “faith” or commitment
- In “purity”
If we focus on these things, pray for the world, and trust in God’s providence rather than in human achievement … we will find peace and purpose! Let us travel this life in harmony, as companions in Christ; to aid and edify one another … and by our love – others.
“Love ought to show itself more by deeds than by words.” St. Ignatius
“When you pray, move your feet.” John Lewis
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. — John 5:19
Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. —Romans 12:1-2
Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known. —1 Corinthians 13:12
Dear Heavenly Father,
We acknowledge You and believe in the goodness of Your plans. We admit that we see dimly now and need Your guidance every day. Protect our hearts, keep them softened with love and concern for Your world, and protected from the arrows of the evil one that would harden them with anger, fear, and discontent. Calm our anxieties and give us faith in Your providence and courage to follow You.
[i] “What ancient civilizations teach us about reality” Greg Anderson, PhD TEDxOhioStateUniversity May 11, 2020
Offered by Judy Lester
Our devotionals are sent by email on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, with an occasional lagniappe issue. Please look for these congregation devotionals in your email box at about 6:45 a.m. If you’d like to sign up to receive our mailings, please click here.